Partial Validation of CFD Blast Simulation in a Cityscape Environment Featuring Structural Failure

Partial Validation of CFD Blast Simulation in a Cityscape Environment Featuring Structural Failure

Stephanie Jeanne Burrows Shaun Anthony Forth Robert Philip Sheldon

Cranfield University, Centre for Simulation and Analytics, UK

Cranfield University, Centre for Defence Engineering, UK

Available online: 
| Citation



We demonstrate the capabilities of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and a pressure-impulse failure model to predict blast loading and structural damage in a geometrically complex cityscape. The simulated loading is compared against experimental results for 69 g PE4 in a 1/50th scale model with wood-framed and plywood-faced buildings; data were collected from 11 pressure gauges throughout. In the initial simulation, geometric features were modeled as perfectly rigid, whereas buildings in the experiment failed: the resulting differences between the model and experiment allowed us to evaluate CFD when failure occurs. Simulated peak pressures during the first positive phase were still within 20% of experiment at most pressure gauges. However, errors in first phase impulses were around 40%, suggesting that building-failure effects are greater toward the phase end. Then, to model building-failure effects, we attempted to fit pressure-impulse failure curves to the plywood-faces: this proved too simplistic to produce realistic blast wave behavior due to the various, complex failure modes. This work illustrates key limitations of available CFD software and the pressure-impulse fail- ure model – both industry-standard tools to determine structural response to blast. We conclude that stronger coupling between blast loading and structural response is needed where significant failure occurs.


CFD, finite-volume method, severe blast problems, structural failure, validation


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