Advanced Computational Methods
blastFoam - A new solver for high-explosive detonation and protective design.
Modeling High-Explosive Detonation
Understanding the consequences of high-explosive detonation and blast wave propagation through complex environments is a challenging problem – and one with real-world implications for engineers designing safe buildings and infrastructure.
Simplified analytical or empirically-based methods provide quick and often convenient means of estimating loading from high-explosive detonation events, however, the applicability of such simplified methods is often limited in practice, as they are only valid under certain conditions and idealized scenarios. Such methods are often only valid when considering: a limited range of stand-off distances, simplified geometries, and no environmental interference (i.e. perfect line-of-sight to the target without obstructions that may affect the flow field)
Modeling the effects of contact/near-contact detonations and far-field events in the context of real-world environmental complexity (i.e. complex, real-world geometries, operational conditions, and geometrically complex environments with obstructions) necessitates the use of high-fidelity physics based (HFPB) methods. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)-based methods seek to provide generalized solutions to the equations of physics which govern the particular problem of interest, and discretize them in such a way that a computer (usually, many computers) can be utilized to solve them.
Although CFD-based methods are not new, and have been successfully employed for decades to provide solutions to otherwise intractable problems, the recent confluence of 1) advanced computational methods, 2) access to low-cost pay-as-you-go computing resources, and 3) powerful, extensible open-source numerical simulation platforms have essentially democratized modeling and simulation.
blastFoam the first truly high-performance, parallel, and validated open-source computational fluid dynamics (CFD)-based tool capable of modeling high-explosive detonation using the Jones-Wilkens-Lee (JWL) equation of state in a variety of media, including air, water, soils, and metals. The solver, developed by Synthetik Applied Technologies, was first presented at the OpenFOAM Users Conference in Cologne, Germany in 2016.
And because the blastFoam solver is built using the OpenFOAM C++ library, it can efficiently scale to thousands of cores, and includes advanced mesh generation and post-processing tools out-of-the-box.
Multiple verification and validation studies have been performed, and demonstrate the accuracy and practical applicability of the developed solver, and include both external and internal detonation.
The experiments were simulated with blastFOAM, and was found to well represent the experimental measurements at multiple gage locations. Further validation has been performed in with test data provided by Sheffield University and the U.S. Department of Defense, and is currently used by the premier protective engineering company in the world - Protection Engineering Consultants - on high-profile projects in the United States and internationally.