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Post-Blast Investigative Tools for Structural Forensics by 3D Scene Reconstruction and Advanced Simulation

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2019
19 pages
The purpose of this research was to develop an approach for using structural and non-structural building components as "witness" to blast events that can reveal the charge weight, composition, and epicenter of an explosion.

The primary objective of the research was to assess the use of low-cost scanning technologies for 3D scene reconstruction, as well as other non-destructive inspection technologies that could improve the collection of post-blast investigative field evidence. A second objective was to develop the basis of a scientific, physics-based methodology for objective and quantitative determination of charge weight, composition, and epicenter from on-site measurements of the condition of structural and non-structural components damaged by the blast overpressure. In addition, the development and validation of a physics-based methodology could enable automated estimation of charge weight, composition, and epicenter when paired with the high-resolution and accurate 3D scene reconstructions produced by modern 3D scanning tools. The project also pursued the development, verification, and validation of a Blast Dynamics Simulator, based on an implementation of the Applied Element Method to enable prediction of component behavior through fracture, fragmentation, and development of a debris field. The project succeeded in providing a foundation for introducing 3D scanning and reconstruction tools for documentation of post-blast forensic scenes, specifically the reconstruction and profiling of blast-induced damage to structural and non-structural building components. Over the long term, the improved scene documentation tools assessed in this project could facilitate the development of a database of scientific data from post-blast investigations that may produce data-driven heuristics for forensic benchmarking and advanced empirical study of explosive effects on conventional building structures. The initial development of a Blast Dynamics Simulator in this project can assist in promoting post-blast forensic investigations. 7 references, 1 table, and 14 references

Date Published: May 1, 2019