Craters Produced by Large-Scale Explosions

Daniel Ambrosini, Bibiana Luccioni


In case of terrorist attacks or other intentional actions using explosives, the information that can be obtained from the crater generated by the blast waves is extremely important. For example, the focus of the explosion and the mass of the explosive used in the attack can be deduced examining the
location and dimensions of the crater. However, studies about craters produced by explosions on or above ground level, which would be the case when the explosive charge is situated in a vehicle, are rarely found in the open technical literature.
A numerical study related to crater produced by small to medium explosive loads located on the soil surface was presented in previous papers. In this paper, a study about the craters created by exploding charges ranging from 120 kg to 1900 kg of TNT. The charge consists of different ordnances stacked in different configurations.
The crater diameters and depths for all explosive loads tested at the Touwsrivier Training Area (South Africa) were obtained. Moreover, the effect of the boundary conditions is analyzed and discussed.
The arrangement of the explosive load has significantly importance in the final dimensions of the crater. The final crater dimension can be larger, similar or smaller than those obtained with an equivalent spherical charge.

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