Experimental and Analytical Studies of Blast Wave Effects on Major Organ Systems of the Body

  • J. H. Stuhmiller
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 111)


Evidence of acute nonauditory injury in animals from intense blast overpressure (BOP) exposure and the possibility of chronic injury from BOP in the crew area of conventional weapons has prompted the need for detailed biomechanical models to assist the U. S. Army in defining damage risk criteria (DRC) for humans. The methodology uses mathematical models and computer codes to construct a causal, verifiable connection between the external blast environment and the local tissue stresses. Direct, in vitro observation of the damage process and measurement of the tissue strength leads to the determination of critical stress thresholds for damage that define the mechanical conditions producing injury.

Load distribution on a torso model exposed to blast waves of 3–30 psi peak pressure were used to validate gas dynamics calculations of the blast-body interaction and to develop a preliminary blast load relationship. A finite element model (FEM) of the thorax cross section of the sheep has been constructed and parametric calculations varying the material properties has revealed that the only sensitive quantities are the density and compressibility of the lung parenchyma and the effective shear modulus of the thoracic cavity. All of the material properties of the lung required for the thorax model have been measured for a variety of species and the ability of the lung parenchyma to support a low speed compression wave has been directly observed. Comparison of the FEM predictions against the currently available animal data on intrathoracic pressure response have been satisfactory and the variation of ITP under iso-impulse conditions agrees well with data.

A perfusion technique has been developed that allows in vitro investigation of the mechanical origins of injury to the gastrointestinal tract. The results strongly point to the role of local gas bubbles in the gut sections that lead to large motions and stresses in the neighboring gut walls and eventually cause injury.


Finite Element Model Blast Wave Blast Loading Blast Injury Effective Shear Modulus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    D. R. Richmond, E. G. Damon, E. R. Fletcher, I. G. Bowen, and C. S. White, The relationship between selected blast wave parameters and the response of mammals exposed to airblast, Ann. NY Acad. Sci. 152:103 (1968).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    T. L. Chiffelle, R. K. Jones, D. R. Richmond, and E. G. Damon, The biologic and pathologic effects of blast injury, technical report on contract DA-49-146-XA-055 (1966).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    A. J. Jonsson, Experimental investigations on the mechanisms of lung injury in blast and impact exposure, Linkoping University Medical Dissertations No. 80 (1979).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    C. S. White, R. K. Jones, E. G. Damon, E. R. Fletcher, and D. R. Richmond, The biodynamics of airblast, Report DNA 2738T (1971).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    H. E. Von Gierke, Response of the body to mechanical forces — an overview, Ann. NY Acad. Sci. 152:172 (1968).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    I. G. Bowen, A. Holladay, E. R. Fletcher, D. R. Richmond, and C. S. White, A fluid-mechanical model of the thoraco-abdominal system with applications to blast biology, Report DASA-1675 (1965).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    J. T. Yelverton, D. R. Richmond, E. R. Fletcher, Y. Y. Phillips, J. J. Jaeger, and A. J. Young, Bioeffects of simulated muzzle blasts, “Proceedings of the Eighth International Symposium on Military Application of Blast Simulation,” Spiez, Switzerland, June 1983.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Y. Y. Phillips, J. J. Jaeger, and A. J. Young, Biophysics of injury from repeated blast, “Proceedings of Tripartite Technology Coordinating Program Panel W-2,” Muzzle Blast Overpressure Workshop, May 1982.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    J. H.-Y. Yu and E. J. Vasel, Experimental study of the correlation between gastrointestinal injury and blast Loading, Final Report under Contract DAMD17-83-C-3221 (1984).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    O. C. Zienkiewicz, The Finite Element Model, 3rd Ed., McGraw-Hill, New York (1977).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    R. L. Taylor, and J. L. Sackman, Contact-Impact problems, U. C. Berkeley Report No. SESM-78-4 (1978).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Y. C. Fung, M. R. Yen, and Y. J. Zeng, Characterization and modeling of thoraco-abdominal response to blast waves — Volume 3: Lung Dynamics and Mechanical Properties Determination, Final Report to WRAIR under Contract DAMD17-82-C-2062 (1985).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    C. J. Chuong, and J. H. Stuhmiller, Characterization and modeling of thoraco-abdominal response to blast waves — Volume 4: Biomechanical Model of Thorax Response to Blast Loading, Final Report to WRAIR under Contract DAMD17-82-C-2062 (1985).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. H. Stuhmiller
    • 1
  1. 1.Fluid Dynamics DivisionJAYCORSan DiegoUSA

Personalised recommendations