Blast simulator testing of structures: Methodology and validation

T. Rodriguez-Nikl, G. A. Hegemier, F. Seible

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9 Citations (Scopus)


The blast simulator at the University of California, San Diego is a unique tool for conducting full-scale testing of blast effects on structures without the use of explosive materials. This blast simulator uses high speed hydraulic actuators to launch specially designed modules toward the specimen, thereby imparting impulse in a blast-like manner. This method of testing offers numerous advantages over field tests with actual explosives, including cost, turn-around time, repeatability, and a clear view of the progression of damage in the specimen. The viability of this method is established by comparing results obtained in the blast simulator with results obtained with actual explosives. The process by which the impulse is imparted to the specimen is then described by a detailed model based on the equivalent single degree of freedom method. Impulse calculated by the model is found to be in good agreement with the experimentally recorded values. Calculated impulse is found to be relatively insensitive to assumptions made about the specimen's resistance function (often not well known before a test) implying that the model can be used with confidence in designing an experimental study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-592
Number of pages14
JournalShock and Vibration
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • blast hardening
  • blast mitigation
  • Blast simulator
  • infrastructure protection
  • single degree of freedom method

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