Specialized Testing and R&D

Structural Component Blast Testing using Shock Tube

BakerRisk’s gas-driven shock tube located at the WEBTF allows blast testing of various structural components, such as walls, doors, windows, etc., without using high explosives to produce the blast wave.  In this way, such testing can be done conveniently in the facility building and in a very cost effective manner.

BakerRisk’s shock tube apparatus consists of two major sections, a drive section, and an expansion section.  Blast pressures are generated when a rupture diaphragm, placed between the two sections, fails due to pressure in the driver section.  A shock wave then travels down the expansion section and loads the test specimen at the end of the expansion section.  The shock tube and test equipment have been refurbished and relocated into the high-bay, which is equipped with a 10-ton travelling crane beam for safe installation of test specimens and to support one-off indoor testing and accident reconstruction efforts.  Large roll-up doors located in the high-bay will vent blast pressure during shock tube tests and allow truck entry into the building for direct offloading of prefabricated test specimens and equipment.

Shock tube testing can now be conducted year round and is less dependent on weather conditions, since test equipment is housed inside the high-bay. BakerRisk’s shock tube testing capabilities include window and other building component blast testing programs that provide performance validation for test specimens and verification of analytical models.

The gas-driven shock tube is capable of testing structural components to a variety of pressure and impulse combinations.  The pressure and impulse applied to a test specimen can be varied independently, with an applied peak pressure range from 1 psi to 45 psi, and an applied impulse range from less than 10 psi-msec to over 1000 psi-msec for some test pressures.  The shock tube consists of a 3-foot diameter variable length driver and a geometrically expanding expansion section that has an 8-foot square (2.4-meter square) target area for the installation of test specimens, comprising a total length of approximately 40 feet (12 meters).  The shock tube can be fitted with an additional expansion section for testing larger items.  The additional expansion section has a target loaded area of 10-foot square (3-meters square) and can accommodate the installation of specimens of up to 14 feet (4.25 meters) in any dimension.  Use of the additional expansion section reduces the pressure capacity of the shock tube by approximately one third.