Graduate Studies


Development and Characterization of Shock Tubes for Laboratory Scale Blast Wave Simulation

Aaron D. Holmberg, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Engineering Mechanics, Under the Supervision of Professors Ruqiang Feng and Professor David H. Allen. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2010
Copyright 2010 Aaron D. Holmberg


The prevalence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in American soldiers exposed to a blast wave has created an urgent need to better understand the effects of blast wave insult to the head. Developing techniques that can experimentally simulate well controlled blast waves in a laboratory environment is a critical component of the research efforts towards this goal. For this work, a 4-in. cylindrical uniform shock tube and a non-uniform shock tube combining a 4-in. cylindrical gas driver with a 9-in. square driven section have been developed. The hosting laboratory, gas handling system, multichannel data acquisition systems, and the related network and software for computerized remote operation were also developed. These shock tubes were designed for generating shock waves with the overpressure and underpressure profiles mimicking those of the Friedlander wave. This wave form is a commonly used representation of the typical blast wave-form in an open-field. Tests have been performed to validate the designs and to characterize the shock waves generated by the two devices.