Exposure to a shock wave from an explosive blast can result in injury to the human body even if external signs of trauma are not present. Gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms contributing to those injuries can result in the design of better personal protective equipment (PPE). Compressed gas blast experiments can be conveniently used to explore the mechanical response of PPE systems and instrumented surrogate head forms to blast loading scenarios in a laboratory environment. Likewise, numerical simulations can be used to study relevant field variables related to the compressed gas blast and its effects on the target. In this regard, experimental data is needed to validate simulation results.

This paper presents an experiment that uses a small scale compressed gas blast generator to explore the pressure distribution around a surrogate head form due to blast loading. The compressed gas blast generator is an open-end shock tube which creates a shock wave when the diaphragm that separates the high pressure and low pressure (ambient air) regions ruptures. The overpressures on selected locations of the surrogate head form were measured with piezoelectric pressure sensors and the data was processed to obtain positive phase durations and positive phase impulses. The surrogate head form was positioned off-axis from the exit of the compressed gas blast generator to preclude the discharge flow from affecting the overpressure measurements. A three-dimensional Coupled Eulerian-Lagrangian (CEL) model of the experiment described above was prepared in Abaqus/Explicit. Selected numerical and experimental results were compared and there was good agreement between them.

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