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ARA Marks Advance in Blast Injury Research

May 2011
The 18-inch shock tube from the room entrance. The black paneling on the walls are acoustic tiles to control the sound.
The 18-inch shock tube from the room entrance. The black paneling on the walls are acoustic tiles to control the sound.

The driver section is opened to allow installation of the aluminum diaphragm prior to testing.
The driver section is opened to allow installation of the aluminum diaphragm prior to testing.

Applied Research Associates Inc. is pleased to announce the delivery of a new 18-inch shock tube at the Battlefield Health and Trauma Research Center. This new system provided the Institute of Surgical Research and the BHT Research Center with unprecedented capability in researching the biological effects of blast exposure.

Blast injuries are frequent in modern warfare. Fully characterizing these injuries, the underlying biological impacts, and improving protection to our military men and women is a critical mission of the institute and the research center. Among the many mechanisms of injury, primary blast waves remain the most poorly understood.

Explosive blasts, typically caused by IEDs (improvised explosive devices), generate a supersonic shock wave through the air. Shock tubes, such as this, are used to repeatedly generate these shock waves in a laboratory without the combustion gases and safety concerns of high explosives. However, historically, shock tubes have been often used as shock wave launching devices, with the test specimens located outside of the exit of smaller diameter shock tubes.

When these shock waves exit the tube, they are quickly relieved, making durations longer than 1 millisecond impossible. ARA has developed a concentric expansion cone that greatly reduces side-wall reflections and is large enough to fully enclose the test specimen, permitting durations exceeding 3 milliseconds.

For more information, contact Greg Rule at grule@ara.com or (210) 344-7644.