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ARA Fields Mobile Shock Tube

November 2012

ARA Mobile Shock Tube
A conceptual picture shows the 18-inch shock tube with
8-foot expansion cone and shock suppressor in the trailer. The shock suppressor will prevent reflected shocks from returning down the tube to the test subject. The trailer is fully enclosed and self-contained to allow safe blast testing anywhere with space to park.
Applied Research Associates, Inc. is pleased to announce that the world’s first mobile, large shock tube is nearing completion.

This facility represents a collaborative agreement between ARA, Inc. and the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) to support live tissue and cadaver-based research into the effects of blast overpressure. By using a large, 18-inch diameter shock tube and an 8-foot expansion tube, blast loads can be generated on large subjects while maintaining a loading environment that closely replicates free-field blasts.

Blast injuries continue to present a major threat to U.S. and allied combat forces, particularly with the ongoing use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Although there has been a great deal of historical blast testing on biological subjects, the mechanism, loading dynamics and dose-response relationship of blast overpressure to injury to the brain remain unknown. By fully characterizing these injuries in a controlled environment near the best diagnostic capabilities, the underlying biological responses and the effect of protective equipment can be analyzed to improve exposure standards and injury mitigation methods for our military men and women.

The mobile shock tube will travel to where diagnostic facilities and expertise are located to provide blast testing at a significantly reduced cost. The greatest expense in conducting blast testing on live and cadaveric subjects has been in transporting subjects and diagnostic facilities to the site for free-field blast testing. Alternatively, organizations undergo significant expense to set up and operate blast testing sites as close as possible. But in both cases, subject transportation is necessary, expensive and introduces additional variables in the biological responses uncovered after the blast exposure. By bringing the blast exposure to the diagnostic facility, these costs are significantly reduced, and the complications introduced through transportation of injured subjects are eliminated.

A conceptual picture shows the 18-inch shock tube with 8-foot expansion cone and shock suppressor in the trailer. The shock suppressor will prevent reflected shocks from returning down the tube to the test subject. The trailer is fully enclosed and self-contained to allow safe blast testing anywhere with space to park.

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