Evaluating long-duration blast loads on steel columns using computational fluid dynamics

2019-02-19T13:44:19Z (GMT) by Jack Denny Simon Clubley
Long-duration blasts are typically defined by positive pressure durations exceeding 100ms (Denny & Clubley, 2019; Johns & Clubley, 2016). Such blasts can generate dynamic pressures (blast winds) capable of exerting damaging drag loads on comparatively slender structural components such as columns. With limited drag coefficient availability for specific structural geometries, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) can be the only satisfactory approach for analysing blast loading on user-specified, finite geometries. The ability to analyse long-duration blasts with commercially available CFD programs is still not confidently offered, with no prior studies examining the accuracy of modelling interaction with relatively much smaller, finite geometries. This paper presents a comparative investigation between numerical and experimental results to assess the predictive capacity of inviscid Eulerian CFD as a method for calculating long-duration blast drag loading on finite cross-section geometries. Full-scale long-duration blast experiments successfully measured surface pressure-time histories on a steel I-section column aligned at four orientations. Calculated pressure-time histories on exposed geometry surfaces demonstrated good agreement although reduced accuracy and under-prediction occurred on shielded surfaces manifesting as overestimated net loading. This study provides new understanding and awareness of the numerical capability and limitations of using CFD to calculate long-duration blast loads on intricate geometries.