Computational Modeling of Recoilless Weapons Combat Training-Associated Blast Exposure
Military personnel are routinely exposed to blast as part of routine combat training with shoulder-fired weapons. Scientific, medical, and military leaders are beginning to recognize that use of shoulder-fired weapons may result in acute and potentially long-term physiological effects. However, the back blast generated from shoulder-fired weapons on the weapon operator has not been well characterized. By quantifying and modeling the full-body blast exposure from these weapons, better injury correlations can be constructed.
Blast exposure data from the Carl Gustav and Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW) were used to reverse engineer source terms for computational simulations of blast exposure on operators of these shoulder-mounted weapon systems. A propellant burn model provided the source term for each weapon to capture blast effects. Blast data from personnel-mounted gauges during routine training was used to create initial, high-fidelity 3D computational fluid dynamic simulations using SHAMRC. These models were then improved upon using data collected from static gauges positioned around the individual weapons systems. The final simulation models for both the Carl Gustav and SMAW were in good agreement with the data collected from the personnel-mounted and static pressure gauges. Using the final simulation results, contour maps for peak overpressure and peak overpressure impulse on the gunner and assistant gunner for each weapon system were then created.
Reconstruction of the full-body blast loading enables a more accurate assessment of blast exposure which could be used to correlate with injury. By accurately understanding the blast exposure and its variations across an individual, more meaningful correlations with injuries including traumatic brain injury can be established. As blast injury thresholds become better defined, results from these reconstructions can provide important insights into approaches for reducing risk of injury to personnel operating shoulder-launched weapons.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency HU0001-14-1-0022, PI: J. Duckworth
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