An Experimental and Simulated Investigation into the Validity of Unrestricted Blast Wave Scaling Models When Applied to Transonic Flow in Complex Tunnel Environments


Since the inception of high explosives as an industrial tool, significant efforts have been made to understand the flow of energy from an explosive into its surroundings to maximize work produced while minimizing damaging effects. Many tools have been developed over the past century, such as the Hopkinson-Cranz (H-C) Scaling Formula, to define blast wave behavior in open air. Despite these efforts, the complexity of wave dynamics has rendered blast wave prediction difficult under confinement, where the wave interacts with reflective surfaces producing complex time-pressure waveforms. This paper implements two methods to better understand blast overpressure propagation in a confined tunnel environment and establish whether scaled tests can be performed comparatively to costly full-scale experiments. Time-pressure waveforms were predicted using both a 1:10 scaled model and three-dimensional air blast simulations conducted in Ansys Autodyn. A comparison of the reduced scale model simulation with a full-scale blast simulation resulted in self-similar overpressure waveforms when employing the H-C scaling model. Experimental overpressure waveforms showed a high level of correlation between the reduced scale model and simulations. Additionally, peak overpressure, duration, and impulse values were found to match within tolerances that are highly promising for applying this methodology in future applications. Using this validated relationship, the simulated model and reduced scale tests were used to predict an overpressure waveform in a full-scale underground mine opening to within 2.12%, 2.91%, and 7.84% for peak overpressure, time of arrival, and impulse, respectively. This paper demonstrates the effectiveness of scaled, blast models when predicting blast wave parameters in a confined environment.


Mining Engineering


This work was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Grant 2017-N-18045.

Keywords and Phrases

Analytical Blast Modeling; Complex Waveform Scaling; Hopkinson-Cranz; Scaled Distance

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

2041-420X; 2041-4196

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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Publication Date

01 Jan 2022