BakerRisk’s Shock Tubes – Celebrating 25 Years of Industry Leading Research and Development!

Have you ever been in a building and wondered what would happen if an explosion happened nearby?   What would happen to the walls? The doors? The windows? For 25 years, our shock tube testing has enabled us to understand how structures respond to blast loads and, more importantly, how to mitigate vulnerability to exposed personnel.  While 2020 has been a unique and challenging year, our shock tube testing ramped up with projects for clients, industry research groups, and internal development. Our shock tube testing services are key to BakerRisk’s steadfast commitment to continuous advancement of research and development, which in 2020 has included multiple U.S. Government research programs as well as private sector testing.

In 1993, BakerRisk explored the industry’s need to test structural components in response to blast loads representative of those generated by vapor cloud explosions (VCE).  Due to the expense of conducting large-scale VCE tests, we designed a shock tube that could produce long duration blast loads using compressed air.  This resulted in an apparatus that was both cost effective and able to produce repeatable test loads and results.

The BakerRisk shock tubes provide us with the means to conduct research programs to understand various structural response phenomena and to proof test structural upgrades developed in-house.  The efficiency of shock tubes makes it possible to expediently evaluate the performance of various blast-rated products, such as glazing, doors, and blast dampers. As a result, we can design building components to entire buildings, structures with the ability to not just withstand the loads generated by a VCEs, but also protect building occupants.

Interesting fact: The BakerRisk large shock tube is the largest in the world, outside of U.S. government agencies!  It allows us to test full-size wall systems, which are representative of true fielded systems, to validate client building components as well as BakerRisk structural designs.  Stay tuned for more on our upcoming shock tube enhancements that will continue to show how BakerRisk is committed to characterizing blast hazards to ensure the safety of the public.

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