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Small Scale Models Subjected to Buried Blast Loading Part I: Floorboard Accelerations and Related Passenger Injury Metrics with Protective Hulls


Small scale models representing key vehicle structural elements, including both floorboards and bottom-mounted, downward V-shape hulls in various configurations, have been manufactured and subjected to a range of buried blast loading conditions. By varying surface stand-off distance and depth of burial for several hull and structure configurations, the input-scaled response of aluminum full-scale vehicle floorboards has been quantified using high speed stereo-vision. Specifically, the maximum vertical acceleration on the floorboard and the corresponding Head Injury Criterion (HIC15) are quantified as metrics to assess the severity of the blast event. Results show standard V-shaped hulls provide essential blast mitigation, with reductions in floorboard measurements up to 47X in maximum acceleration and HIC15. Though variations in protective hull geometry provide modest reductions in the severity of a floorboard blast event, results also show that personnel on typical floorboard structures during blast loading events will incur unacceptable shock loading conditions, resulting in either serious or fatal injury. A more appropriate design scenario would be to consider situations that employ frame-mounted passenger seating to reduce the potential for injury. A second set of experiments will be presented in Part II that focuses on frame motions and accelerations when steel frames and steel structures are employed with various frame connections and coatings for frame blast mitigation.

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    Review of video data indicates that each plate-frame structure moves upward rigidly, with minimal rotation, during the first 36 ms after initial detonation. This was true for all experiments performed in this study.


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The technical support of Dr. Bruce Lamattina and the financial assistance provided through the Army Research Office grant DAAD19-02-1-0343, ARO Contract # W911NF-06-1-0216 and ARO Contract # Z-849901 and the assistance provided by Dr. A. Rajendren and Dr. M. Zikry and the support provided through DURIP grant DAAD19-01-1-0391 are gratefully acknowledged. Finally, the financial support provided by the University of South Carolina College of Engineering and Computing in support of the DURIP award is acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Xing Zhao.

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Zhao, X., Shultis, G., Hurley, R. et al. Small Scale Models Subjected to Buried Blast Loading Part I: Floorboard Accelerations and Related Passenger Injury Metrics with Protective Hulls. Exp Mech 54, 539–555 (2014).

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  • Blast mitigation
  • Hull designs
  • Small scale model
  • Head injury criteria
  • Acceleration measurements
  • Stereo-vision