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Blast Loading Capacity of a One – Way Spanning Carbon Fibre

Reinforced Plastic Beam

This report will investigate the blast loading capability of a simple supported one – way spanning carbon
fibre reinforced plastic panel. Units of KPa (kN / m2), kN, kg, meters, and seconds will be used thru the
The properties for this material are:

Yield Strength Shear Strength Density Elastic Modulus

205000 KPa 118000 KPa 1612 kg/m3 111 x 106 KPa

Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic is a high yield stress, relatively high stiff material, which exhibits little or
no ductility. Therefore, for the analysis, the material will be assumed to behave fully elastically, and will
assumed to fail in a brittle way.
The investigation will be made on beam of a section of depth of 0.42 meters, and width of 0.27 meters,
spanning 8.97 meters which is simply supported at both ends.

Fundamentals of Blast Waves

An explosion can be defined as a large – scale, rapid and sudden release of energy. The detonation of a
high explosive generates a large amount of energy. The energy expands forcing out the volume it
occupies, and as a result of this a layer of compressed air (blast waves) forms.
When these blast waves reach to a surface, they apply pressure for a period of time. As these blast
waves expand, they lose their density, i.e. their pressure value; however, they tend to act on the
structure for a longer time.
Because the blast waves expand
in a circle way in 3 dimensions,
they act on surfaces in different
ways depending on distance
between the explosion point and
the structures surface. When the
surface is too close to the explosion point, the radius is very low, so the blast waves in the middle reach
the surface first, and in time the surrounding waves hit the surface. When the distance is too long, the
radius gets bigger, so the perimeter, so it is assumed that the waves act at the same time on the surface.
This is called far – field blast loading and will be considered for this report as well for simplicity.
Blast Waves Pressure on Structures

Blast waves increase to a value of pressure above

the ambient pressure. This is referred to as the
side – on overpressure that decays as the shock
wave expands outward from the explosion
source. After a short time, the pressure behind
the front may drop below the ambient pressure.
During such a negative phase, a partial vacuum is
created and air is sucked in.
This can be shown like the figure at the left hand
side. The exponential decay is called the
freidlander decay. When dealing with far – field
blast loading, the exponential part can be
idealized as a reverse ramp load, with the same
overall impulse, which gives the total load acting on the structure = total area under the pressure –
time graph, and the negative part is neglected.

Static Failure Loading and the Failure Deflection

Now that the magnitude of the loading and the shape of the loading are assumed, the failure mode will
be derived for static loading case, and then will be used for help for analysis of dynamical loading case,
which is the blast type of loading.
The assumed loading, since far – field blast loading analysis is being made, is uniformly distributed on the
structure. If this loading was to act on the structure as a statically load; the maximum moment acting on
the beam would be given by well known formula = q × l2 / 8. The ultimate uniformly distributed that this
beam can resist can be found by equating the ultimate bending moment to the resistance of the
material and the section.
For the given material and the section, by applying simple knowledge from mechanics of structures, for
static loading conditions, the ultimate moment resistance is found to be 1627.3 kN.m. And assuming
perfectly elastic behavior, for the given geometric and loading conditions the deflection that this beam
makes at failure state is found to be 0.072 meters.
The shear resistance of the given material is 118000 KPa. The loading that causes the maximum moment
value is generated by a uniformly distributed 161.8 kN / m. This value causes a shear value of 725.7 kN
at the supports, and a shear stress of 6399.23 KPa in the cross section, which means the failure is
happens by flexure before shear in static load case.
However, as can be seen in the following pages, the shear check will be considered for dynamic analysis
as well.
Dynamic Loading Analysis
When static analysis is made, it is assumed that inertial force of the structure is not important. However,
in dynamic analysis, when a great load is applied to a structure in a very short duration, the inertial
force also becomes important.

In reality, structures have distributed mass, loading and resistance. But when doing blast analysis, a
simplified method is used. The properties that have been mentioned are transformed, or assumed to be
lumped at a single point. The factors for the given situation can be seen in the table below:

Method of Solution
The simplest way for blast wave solutions is free vibration solutions. Basically, the beam has been
reduced to a single degree of freedom structure with equivalent factors, and the (assumed) uniformly
distributed blast loading will be now assumed to be concatenated on this assumed lumped SDOF
freedom, that is assumed to deform (and fail) in the first mode of (which is given by the statically
deformed shape) deformed shape / vibration.
After the simplifications are made, dynamic analysis can be done depending on the properties of the
SDOF model, and the loading properties, namely the maximum loading value, and the duration of the
Depending on the maximum deflection and comparing with the static analysis deflection, a judgment
can be made if this beam will fail or not; in flexural failure. (Shear failure has not been discussed yet.)
The solution will be done by an iterative method. Dynamic SDOF analysis will be run for various
equivalent loads, on the equivalent system the assuming reverse ramp load situations, to find out for
how long that loading must be applied to make the beam fail. One example is shown below:
Using the factors given in the table in the previous page;
Equivalent stiffness = 12601.35 kN / m
Equivalent mass = 819.9 kg
Equivalent systems natural period: 0.05 seconds

By trying, it is found that when 3242.67 kPa of pressure is loaded on the structure for 0.00293
seconds, the first half cycle of the response of the structure is found to be: (maximum deflection is
equal to the maximum deflection that is calculated for static analysis – which stands for flexural fail.)

There are few comments that can be done at this moment.

This beam can resist a pressure of 3242.67 KPa, if the pressure is applied only for 0.00293 seconds,
which is only 5% of natural period of the structure. This loading also corresponds to an impulse value of
= 3242.67 × 0.00293 / 2 = 4.75 kPA.sec. (reminder: divided by 2 – reverse ramp loading assumption)

As can be seen, when the natural period of the beam is greater than the duration of the load, the
beam is able to resist a very high pressure. This type of loading is called: impulsive loading. ( td / tstructure
< 0.4). In this instance the load is applied so rapidly that the structure has not enough time to respond,
which means, the load has been released before the structure has time to do peak deflections. In this
instance, the load that can be resisted can be higher than if it was statically loaded.

Opposite to this, when the loading is applied for a long duration, ( td / tstructure > 4), this is called a quasi
– static loading. In this instance, when structure makes the peak deflection due to instant loading,
there is still loading acting on the structure. When this is the case, the structure can resist less loading
compared to static loading case.

In between two cases lies the dynamic realm.

Pressure – Impulse Diagram

As exampled in the previous page, by

trial and error method, for different
values of pressure, the loading
duration, meaning that the impulse
can be found that will cause the failure

This diagram can be seen above, called

the pressure – impulse diagram.
This line in this pressure – impulse
diagram shows failure deflection of the
beam. The vertical asymptote gives the
impulse failure limit and the horizontal line gives the pressure. The shaded area with gray shows the
“failure states” of the beam when the deflections, therefore the flexural failure are considered.

Dynamic Reactions - Failure Condition when the Shear Force Reaction is Considered

In addition to calculating structural deflections, the determination of reaction forces is required when
designing structures to resist dynamic loading.
The simplified formula for checking
the shear failure is 0.39 R + 0.11 F
where Rmaks = 8 × Mm / l = 1451.32 kN
F is given by the applied pressure
times the surface area of the beam.
The shear failure value of the beam is
given by = 118000 × cross area of the
beam = 13381.2 kN.
The loading conditions that are going
to give us shear failure values can be
found by taking the Rmin by zero and
thus finding the shear failure zones.
The shear failure values will be found to be between: 13381.2 = 2 × 0.11 F, thus F = 60822.73 which
gives a pressure value of: 23393.60 KPa. Where R is 1451.32 kN, the shear failure pressure will be
9450.40 KPa. These values are in a zone much more higher than the moment curvature zone. This only
concludes us that, the limiting impulse value by flexural failure mode is not usable anymore, meaning
that below the value of the impulse of 5, the pressure cannot be up to infinity as it is found by the
flexural fail mode, but will be limited to 23393.60 KPa by shear failure, but even convservatively
thinking, 9450.40 Kpa.
Minimum Safe Stand – Off Distance

In this part of the report, the minimum safe standoff distance for this beam will be investigated under
a blast incident of 1000 kg of TNT.
To find out the pressure and the impulse value from a detonation these two formulas are used,
depending on many experimental data:

log( prSCALED )  3.69  2.89Log ( z)  0.335Log ( z) 2  1.15Log ( z)3  0.036Log ( z) 4  0.214Log ( z)5
log( irSCALED )  2.75  1.31Log( z)  0.222Log( z)2  0.064Log( z)3  0.0003Log( z)4  0.00015Log ( z)5

Where z is given by = w / s, where s is the standoff and w is 10001/3 for this instance. For different values
it is found that the Pressure and Impulse values change as in this figure: (Only flexural failure mode is
investigated because the limiting shear failure is much higher)

The value that is in the circle is for a standoff value of 11 meters. The node on the Stand – Off line at top
is for 10 meters. All the nodes go in 1 meters each. As it can be seen, when the bomb is detonated at 11
meters, the beam is ok. However, as it gets closer, its damage ability gets much higher and the beams
fails in flexure.

In this report, the blast resistance of a particular beam has been tried to investigated, and tried to be
made clear for a person who knows nothing about blast loading, and the safe stand – off distance has
been derived for a detonation of 1000 kgs of TNT bomb.
Thru the report, all the assumptions have been written in italics, and for a very quick summary only the
parts in bold can be read.
Blast loading is a very complex area of loading.
There are many simplifications and assumptions.
Perhaps the biggest assumption that has been made is the far field loading assumption. This actually
varies with the distance of the detonation point and the surface of the object.
Also, when assuming reverse ramp loading, due to trying to get the same impulse value, the duration of
the loading is being modified.
Also, there is a very big simplification when the properties of the structure are lumped to a SDOF
system. In more complex scenarios, Finite Element Modeling of structures can be done, and the
behavior of the structure can be investigated in very small time steps, either in 2D or 3D.
Also in the last part, it is assumed that the bomb is detonated in free air, and there is no other surface
close to our structure. However in real life, waves can reflect from different surfaces causing much more
complex loading variations on the structure.
And also it is assumed that, when getting the flexural fail mode, the beam was deforming same where it
is loaded statically. However the beam clearly has more than one natural deforming shapes, and can be
triggered by different blast loading conditions, which makes this way of solving very questionable.
For a more detailed analysis, finite elements models should be investigated.

For blast loading, there is only one thing that is clear: as can be seen from the last diagram, as the
bomb gets away, the loading decreases.

So for blast safety: get away from the bomb. As the structure is unable to move clearly, do not let the
bomb explode close to you: design your structure with a perimeter where the bomb cannot pass thru.

This will also help making the far – field loading assumption correct, and so that being in the safe side
will be more likely.