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RE: Blast Resistant Building Design for Blast Containment

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Just completed several test cell designs with similar design criteria and
construction approaches.

Suggest you order/use "Structures to Resist the Effects of Accidental
Explosions" [Army TM 5-1300; Navy NAVFAC P-397; Air Force AFR 88-22] Nov.
1990, from the US Dept of Commerce, National Technical Information Service
and "Design of Blast Resistant Buildings in Petrochemical Facilities" by
ASCE dated 1997.   Both references are very helpful.  Blast, especially
detonation, is complex.

We looked at tilt-up for several of the cells.  Corner connections are very
demanding and very critical.  Wall thicknesses are larger than "normal"
tilt-up to resist fragments, etc.

As far as doors and viewing windows communicating between occupied areas and
the test cells, I try to talk the clients out of them for safety reasons.
Not usually successful.  Need to be careful about the pressure leaking into
the occupied space and either cutting personnel close to the opening or
overpressurizing the space.  Maintain as much frangible space area as
possible, it makes the job easier and safer.  You also need to address the
frequency of the detonation.  Is it a one shot deal, raze the structure
after the event, or is it twice a day as a routing test?

Good luck.

Paul F. Blomberg
Jacobs Engineering Group
Phoenix, AZ

From: Polhemus, Bill
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'; 'structx(--nospam--at)'
Subject: RE: Blast Resistant Building Design for Blast Containment
Date: Tuesday, December 28, 1999 8:05AM

Wanted to make sure someone was listening before I drug out the story.

We've got a "test cell" building to design. Four test cells, three small
(0.7 kg TNT equivalent) and one large (1.4 kg TNT equivalent). They are
adjacent to a lab space that is expected to be occupied.

The outward facing walls we will make "blast vented" so that the impulse
from a blast will be limited (at least that's my understanding of how this
works). There will be a wall stood off from this wall to shield property and
living organisms from any debris that might be blown outward.

The common wall with the occupied lab space is my concern, however.

An additional complication, at least the way I see it, is that there is a
"blast lock" in one corner of each cell, such that someone can go through a
door from the lab to the lock, then turn 90 degrees to go through a blast
door into a cell. Each cell is thus an irregular "ell" shape, to accomodate
the lock.

The client wants to use all "tilt-up" construction (which I don't see as
viable for the test cell portion of the building). Is this possible, in your

Also, how much help is the "blast vent" wall panel array? How much can it be
expected to mitigate the blast impulse overpressure acting on the other

How about the wall joints? The only other deal like this that I've ever done
we used non-reentrant corners. This has 'em all over the place.

I wonder if some sort of "composite" R/C wall, maybe with a sandwiched layer
of something like styrofoam (deformational) or lead shot (mass) would help
to cushion the blow?

Finally, how would you approach this analytically? Is there a simplified
analysis that you could use? We have the Army TM 5-1300 manual(s), but I
haven't perused them enough to tell if they give guidance in this regard.

Any thoughts you'd have along these lines would be much appreciated.

Thanks and regards.

 -----Original Message-----
From: JCohen [mailto:jccpc(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, December 28, 1999 9:59 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Blast Resistant Building Design for Blast Containment