Investigating the scaling of masonry structures in a blast environment

2019-10-03T10:49:03Z (GMT) by Robert Johns Simon Clubley
Full-scale experimental testing of masonry response to blast can be challenging with the requisite need for significant measurement area in conjunction with high construction and material costs. This paper investigates the use of dynamic similitude to produce reduced-scale masonry structures which model the damage state and debris distribution of a full-scale counterpart due to blast loading. An investigation into the fundamental physical components of masonry response to blast loading facilitated the development of a new scaling methodology which maintains the ratio of lateral and vertical force components as prescribed by dynamic similitude. It is shown that this can be accomplished by using a reciprocal scale factor for the reduced-scale structure’s density. Computational models of full and reduced-scale masonry response to blast loading were produced with the Applied Element Method (AEM) to verify the underlying theory of the proposed scaling methodology. These utilised single-storey cuboid structures with non-responding roofs and half-thickness stretcher bond construction. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models of blast wave interaction with the masonry structures were defined at a range of peak overpressures, enabling a remap procedure into AEM. Importantly, AEM models utilised a constant 1:2 scale factor with masonry material parameters for commercially available units, demonstrating the practical applications of this scaling methodology for blast trials. Analysis of the AEM models demonstrated close qualitative agreement in damage state for full and reduced-scale structures at 55kPa and 110kPa peak free-field overpressure. These results also indicated agreement for a range of failure modes with the 110kPa model showing front-panel collapse versus the 55kPa model which indicated partial front-panel deflection. Chi-square analysis of the resultant debris distribution at 110kPa indicated quantitative agreement for the relative quantities of bricks found within the rubble pile as a function of their original panel wall location.