The dynamic collapse of submerged cylindrical shells subjected to lateral impulsive pressure loads caused by underwater explosions is studied via coupled experimental and numerical work. Two sets of experiments were performed. Initially, 50.8 mm outside diameter aluminum tubes with diameter-to-thickness ratio of 32.3 were tested inside a pressure vessel. Hydrostatic pressure was applied quasi-statically up to the onset of collapse in order to obtain the collapse pressure of the tubes tested. Subsequently, similar tubes were tested in a 5 m × 5 m × 1.6 m deep water tank under various explosive charges placed at different distances. Explosive charges and standoff distances were combined so as to eventually cause collapse of the specimens. Dynamic pressures were recorded using a fit-for-purpose data acquisition system with sampling rates of up to 1 mega samples/s/channel. In parallel, finite element models were developed using commercially available software to simulate underwater explosion, pressure wave propagation, its interaction with a cylindrical shell, and the subsequent onset of dynamic collapse. The surrounding fluid was modeled as an acoustic medium, the shells as J2 flow theory based materials with isotropic hardening, and proper fluid–structure interaction elements accounting for relatively small displacements of the boundary between fluid and structure were used. Subsequently, the physical explosion experiments were numerically reproduced with good correlation between results. Finally, a parametric study was carried out to examine the effect on the pipe under different impulsive pressure loads.

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