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Blast wave interaction with structures: an application of exploding wire experiments


The purpose of this research study is to build upon prior shock dynamics research to create an improved experimental setup that can be used to better understand the interaction of shock waves with structures. Large-scale blast wave experiments pose a risk to the individuals running the experiments, the surroundings, and the institution funding them. In contrast, small-scale blast experiments are able to decrease the danger and amount of funding needed associated with each experiment while producing valuable data. Simulations of blast wave–structure interaction may, on the other hand, result in extensive computational times and results that need verification. The exploding wire setup used in this research study has been optimized to consistently produce results at a run-time of less than 100 s per experiment. The adaptable exploding wire setup has a discharge voltage range of 10–40 kV. The configuration includes three main components: the driver, the experimental apparatus, and an ultrahigh-speed imaging system. The original makeup of the exploding wire apparatus allows for flexible adjustments of specifications such as initial detonation, shock wave origin, and magnitude in two and three dimensions. A recent advancement in algorithm tracking has allowed for automated detection of the individual shock fronts. In this instance, the exploding wire apparatus was adapted to simulate city-scale explosions in two dimensions, and the results were compared with numerical simulations.

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The authors would like to thank the US Air Force Research Laboratory under Grant No. FA8651-17-1-004 and the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CBET-1803592 for supporting this study. We would like to acknowledge the UC Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees program and the Undergraduate Research Scholarship program for their support. The Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate Machine Shop was integral in the production of experiment samples.

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Correspondence to Veronica Eliasson.

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This study was supported by the US Air Force Research Laboratory under Grant No. FA8651-17-1-004 and the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CBET-1803592.

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Dela Cueva, J.C.A., Zheng, L., Lawlor, B. et al. Blast wave interaction with structures: an application of exploding wire experiments. Multiscale and Multidiscip. Model. Exp. and Des. 3, 337–347 (2020).

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  • Shock dynamics
  • Shock–structure interaction
  • Schlieren photography
  • Exploding wire
  • Blast wave