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Acoustic detection of annealed glass failure in structures subject to long-duration blast

journal contribution
posted on 19.04.2021, 10:32 by Sarah Monk, Simon Clubley
Glass windows are vulnerable components of a building and, in the event of a blast, produce a large damage radius. In the far-field of large explosions, long-duration blast environments can occur. Resulting impulses can cause window failure several kilometres away from the point of detonation. The air blast tunnel (ABT) at MOD Shoeburyness, UK is capable of simulating such blast environments and has been used in a number of experimental trials to quantify annealed glazing response. Current data capture methods rely heavily on high-speed photography to record glass failure time and location of cracking. Accuracy is limited by camera availability, frame rate and shock-induced camera vibration. In this paper, the use of sound via the triangulation of piezo transducers is proposed as a new method of capturing window response in a rapid and aggressive monitoring environment. An array of sensors in known locations allowed time and location of glass failure to be calculated. The method was tested and refined through multiple phases of blast environment experimentation. Triangulation of piezo transducers was found to be a highly accurate and cost-effective method of capturing window failure in a long-duration blast environment of direct relevance to practitioners and forensic examiners.


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) [Grant number 1636607].



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Published in

Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Construction Materials


Thomas Telford


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Construction Materials and the definitive published version is available at

Acceptance date









Dr Simon Clubley. Deposit date: 16 April 2021