Shock Waves

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 43–54 | Cite as

Numerical prediction of rock mass damage due to accidental explosions in an underground ammunition storage chamber

Original Article


Accidental detonations in an underground ammunition storage chamber inside a rock mass may cause severe damage to the rock mass around the chamber, adjacent tunnels and chambers, ground surface, and in the worst case cause sympathetic detonation of explosives in adjacent storage chambers. To prevent such damage, underground ammunition storage chambers are often situated at minimum depth below the ground surface, and spaced at minimum distance from each other, so that damage, should it occur, is limited to the accidental chamber. Different codes and regulations for ammunition storage chambers specify minimum embedment depth and separation distance for underground ammunition storage chambers. They are usually given in terms of the rock mass properties and the weight of explosive stored in chambers. Some empirical formulae, usually based on the peak particle velocity of the stress wave or the maximum strain of the rock mass, are also available to estimate the damage zones in the rock mass from an explosion. All these empirical methods do not include the effects of explosion details, such as the loading density, chamber geometry and explosive distribution. In this paper, a previously calibrated numerical model is used to estimate the damage zones in a granite mass resulting from an accidental explosion in an underground ammunition storage chamber. Effects of various explosion conditions on rock mass damage are investigated. On the basis of the numerical results, some empirical formulae are derived to predict damage zones around the explosion chamber, as well as safe embedment depth of the storage chamber and safe separation distance between adjacent chambers. The numerical results are also compared with available empirical formulae and code specifications. It should be noted that the characteristics of stress wave propagation around an ammunition storage chamber has been published in a preceding paper (Int. J. Blast. Fragm. 5:57–90, 2001.


Numerical prediction Rock damage Charge chamber Accidental detonations 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil and Environmental EngineeringThe University of AdelaideNorth TerranceAustralia
  2. 2.School of Civil and Resource EngineeringThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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