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Extended Development, Verification, and Validation of a Blast Dynamics Simulator for Post-Blast Forensic Investigations

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $46,094)

The accurate and timely determination of the source of accidental or malicious explosions remains one of the fundamental challenges associated with post-blast structural investigations.

The introduction of 3D scanning and scene reconstruction technologies offers significant potential to enhance the accuracy, objectivity, and robustness of physical evidence collection in post-blast investigative environments, but the information obtained from these tools alone cannot directly inform the determination of charge weight, composition, and location. The proposed research seeks to address the need for computational modeling and simulation tools to provide a means for hypothesis testing, statistical uncertainty quantification, and possibly automated determination of these important forensic quantities.

The development, verification, and validation of a blast dynamics simulator implementing the Applied Element Method for prediction of damage to structural and non-structural building components in the post-blast investigative environment serves as the focus of this research fellowship proposal. This work will leverage the successful development of an extensive experimental database of full-scale open arena blast tests conducted on twelve sets of building facade test specimens within an ongoing grant funded by the National Institute of Justice Research and Development in Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes program.

In addition, the basis for a fast-running blast dynamics simulator for use in hypothesis testing by post-blast forensic investigators developed in this project will be extended. Over an anticipated two year duration for completion of dissertation research, the fellowship support will facilitate completion of three primary tasks associated with theoretical verification and experimental validation of the computational simulation framework.

The tasks scientifically address the development of calibrated constitute laws and modeling relationships as well as assess the predictive fidelity of the simulations across a series of analytical and experimental comparisons of increasing complexity. By leveraging the existing experimental database developed by the sponsored doctoral student, the research will culminate in the assessment of capabilities for hypothesis testing with statistical measures of certainty within post-blast forensic investigations using 3D scanning and scene reconstruction data.


Date Created: September 19, 2017