The European Physical Journal H

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 85–152

Shock wave physics and detonation physics — a stimulus for the emergence of numerous new branches in science and engineering


DOI: 10.1140/epjh/e2011-10037-x

Cite this article as:
Krehl, P.O.K. EPJ H (2011) 36: 85. doi:10.1140/epjh/e2011-10037-x


In the period of the Cold War (1945−1991), Shock Wave Physics and Detonation Physics (SWP&DP) — until the beginning of WWII mostly confined to gas dynamics, high-speed aerodynamics, and military technology (such as aero- and terminal ballistics, armor construction, chemical explosions, supersonic gun, and other firearms developments) — quickly developed into a large interdisciplinary field by its own. This rapid expansion was driven by an enormous financial support and two efficient feedbacks: the Terminal Ballistic Cycleand the Research& Development Cycle. Basic knowledge in SWP&DP, initially gained in the Classic Period(from 1808) and further extended in the Post-Classic Period(from the 1930s to present), is now increasingly used also in other branches of Science and Engineering (S&E). However, also independent S&E branches developed, based upon the fundamentals of SWP&DP, many of those developments will be addressed (see Tab. 2). Thus, shock wave and detonation phenomena are now studied within an enormous range of dimensions, covering microscopic, macroscopic, and cosmic dimensions as well as enormous time spans ranging from nano-/picosecond shock durations (such as produced by ultra-short laser pulses) to shock durations that continue for centuries (such as blast waves emitted from ancient supernova explosions). This paper reviews these developments from a historical perspective.

Copyright information

© EDP Sciences and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NimburgGermany