You are on page 1of 6

Blast Phenomena:Blast is a pressure disturbance caused by the sudden release of energy.

Blast pressure is more properly overpressure,

because it is relative to ambient conditions, rather than an absolute pressure. Shock waves are high-pressure blast waves
that travel through air (or another medium) at a velocity faster than the speed of sound. Shock waves are characterized by an
instantaneous increase in pressure followed by a rapid decay. Pressure waves are lower amplitude and travel below the
speed of sound. Pressure waves are characterized by a more gradual increase in pressure than a shock wave, with a decay
of pressure much slower than a shock wave. In most cases, shock waves have a greater potential for damage and injury than
pressure waves.

Figure 1: Shock wave from Detonation

Figure 2: Pressure wave from Deflagration

The parameters shown in these figures are defined as:

Ambient pressure


Peak positive side-on overpressure


Peak negative side-on overpressure


Time varying positive overpressure

Ps (t)

Time varying negative overpressure


Peak reflected overpressure


Positive-phase-specific impulse, the integration of the positive phase pressure-time history


Negative-phase-specific impulse, the integration of the negative phase pressure-time history


Time of arrival


Positive phase duration


Negative phase duration

Figure 3: Pressure wave from free field and reflected blast loads
The term overpressure refers to a gauge pressure, or the blast pressure relative to ambient pressure. Free-field loads are
those produced by blast waves sweeping over surfaces unimpeded by any objects in their path. This load is also referred to
as side-on when the blast wave sweeps over a wall or other object parallel to its direction of travel.

Peak reflected pressure

When the free blast wavefrom the expolsion strikes on the surface it gets reflected. The effect of this blast wave
reflection is that surface will experience a pressure much more than incident side on value. The magnitude of the
reflected pressure is usally determined as an amplifying ratio of the incident pressure.
Pr = Cr PSo.

= Reflection coefficent.

The reflection coefficent depend upon the peak pressure , the angle of incidence of the wave front relative to the
reflecting surface, and on the type of blast waves.
For Peak over pressure up to 20 Psi (138Kpa) the expected range of vapor cloud explosion Newmark 1958
provides a simple formulae for the blast wave reflection coefficient at normal zero degree.


= (2+0.05 PSo )

( PSo in Psi)

= (2+0.0073 PSo )

( PSo in Kpa)

The duration of of the reflected pressure depend upon the dimensions of the reflecting surface upto to a
maximum time approximately equal to the postive phase duration of the incident blast wave. This upper limit
correspomds to the total reflection of the entire blast wave without any diffraction around the edges of the
reflecting surface.

Dynamic wind.
Dynamic wind is the movement of air particles resulting from a shock wave. The effect is additive to the blast
and is a function of the free-field blast overpressure and the obstructions shape. Open-frame structures and
small buildings where a blast wave will produce quick envelopment are most sensitive to dynamic wind. Values of
qocan be determined from Figure 7.1. Alternatively, in the low overpressure range, and at sea level atmospheric
pressure, the following equation from New mark can be used.


0.022 (Pso)2
0.0032 (Pso)

( PSo in Psi)

( PSo in Kpa)

The pressure exerted on a structural element is the dynamic wind pressuremultiplied by a drag coefficient. The
drag coefficient, Cd , is a function of theshape and orientation of the obstructing element. Newmark lists
approximatevalues of Cd for open-frame structural elements as 2 for structural shapes, 1.25for box shapes, and
0.8 for cylinders. Values of Cd for enclosed rectangular buildingsare provided in the following sections.

Shock front Velocity, U

It is the discontinuity between the blast wave and the surrounding atmosphere. It propagates away from the point
of explosion in all directions at a speed greater than the speed of sound in the undisturbed atmosphere. In the
low pressure range and for normal atmospheric conditions, the shock/Pressure front velocity in air can be
approximated using the following relationship from Newmark 1956.

1130 (1+0.058 Pso )0.5


345 (1+0.0083 Pso )


Blast wave length, Lw

The propagating blast wave at any instant in time extends over a period a limited radial distance as the
shock/pressure front travels outward from the explosion. The pressure is largest at front and trails off to ambient
over a distance Lw, the blast wave length. In the Low pressure range, the length of the blast wave can
approximate by

Sources of Blasts:-

U td

Blasts involving chemical reactions can be classified by their reaction rates into two primary groups: deflagrations and
detonations. A deflagration is an oxidation reaction that propagates at a rate less than the speed of sound in the unreached
material. The corresponding blast wave is often termed a pressure wave and has a finite rise time, as illustrated in Figure 1. A
fast deflagration can create a more sudden rise in pressure. By contrast, in a detonation, the reaction front propagates
supersonically, usually many times faster than the speed of sound. This blast wave is termed a shock wave and has an
instantaneous rise in pressure, as seen in Figure 2. Since pressure is closely related to reaction rate, Detonation pressures
are usually many times higher than deflagration pressures.
Scaling:Blast pressures, load duration, impulse, shock wave velocity, arrival times, and other blast parameters are frequently
presented in scaled form. The most commonly used approach to present blast wave relationships for high explosives is the
Hopkinson-Cranz, or cube root, scaling method. Figure 6.6 is a simplified version of TNT blast curves that provides the
parameters for charges located at ground level. The cube root term results from geometric scaling laws in which charge
diameter varies in proportion to all distances, and thus the charge weight is proportional to the cube of the charge diameter. To
use these empirical curves, one computes the scaled distance by dividing the standoff distance from the charge to the point of
interest by the cube root of the charge weight.
Z = R/W1/3
Z = scaled distance (ft/lb1/3)
R = standoff distance (ft)
W = explosives weight (lb)
The curves provide pressures, P, which are the same at a given scaled distance. The curves also provide scaled times,
t/W1/3, and scaled impulses, I/W1/3. The actual times and impulses are then found by multiplying the scaled values
by W1/3.

Front Wall loading

The wall facing the explosion source is subjected to a reflection effect as the blast wave impacts the facing wall
and reflects back towards the blast source. The reflection effect amplifies the blast pressure on the front or facing
side of the building. Because the overpressure at the top and side edges of the front wall isles than the reflected
overpressure (Figure 7.2), decay in the reflection effect takes place that starts at the edges and works inward.
The effect is completely removed after what is called the clearing time, tc. The clearing time is a function of the
height and width of the front wall. The peak reflected overpressure, Pr , can be determined from Figure 7.3 using
the free-field peak overpressure. Alternatively, for free-field peak overpressures less than 40 psi and for sea level
atmospheric pressures, the peak reflected overpressure can be determined using the following equation form


[2 + 0.05 (Pso)]Pso


The clearing time can be calculated using the following equation from UFC 3-340-02.

4S/[1 + S/G]Cr

In the preceding equation, S is the lesser of building height or building width.G is the greater of building height or
width, and Cr is the velocity of sound andcan be determined using Figure 7.4.For the calculation of front wall
dynamic wind pressure, a drag coefficient,Cd , equal to 1.0 is used with the qo value determined from Figure
7.1.To compute the remainder of the pressure-time curve, the following equationsare used for stagnation
pressure, Ps , impulse, Is , and the effective duration, te,
based on a simplified straight-line approximation. These values are illustrated inFigure 7.5.

Pso + Cd (qo)


0.5 (PrPs )tc + 0.5Ps to


2Is/Pr (7.6)

The blast wave angle of incidence affects the blast pressure load on the frontwall. This angle is taken as 0 for a
blast wave traveling perpendicular into theplane of the front wall where the full reflected overpressure is applied,
and takenas 90 for a blast wave traveling parallel to a surface, where the free-field, or side-onoverpressure is
applied. For intermediate values of the angle of incidence,Figure 7.6 provides coefficients to calculate the applied
pressure for use in thefollowing equation.