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Proof Testing of an Explosion Containment Vessel

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A steel containment vessel was fabricated and proof tested for the Los Alamos National Laboratory for use at its M-9 facility. The HY-100 steel vessel was designed to provide total containment for high explosives tests up to 22 lb 10 kg of TNT equivalent. The vessel was fabricated from an 11.5-foot diameter cylindrical shell, 1.5 inches thick, and 21 elliptical ends, 2 inches thick. Prior to delivery and acceptance, three types of tests were required for proof testing the vessel a hydrostatic pressure test, air leak tests, and two full design charge explosion tests. The hydrostatic pressure test provided an initial static check on the capacity of the vessel and functioning of the strain instrumentation. The pneumatic air leak tests were performed before, in between, and after the explosion tests. After three smaller preliminary charge tests, the full design charge weight explosion tests demonstrated that no yielding occurred in the vessel at its rated capacity. The blast pressures generated by the explosions and the dynamic response of the vessel were measured and recorded with thirty-three strain channels, four blast pressure channels, two gas pressure channels, and three displacement channels. This paper will present an overview of the test program, a short summary of the methodology used to predict the design blast loads, a brief description of the transducer locations and measurement systems, some of the hydrostatic test strain and stress results, examples of the explosion pressure and dynamic strain data, and some comparisons of the measured data with the design loads and stresses on the vessel.

Subject Categories:

  • Test Facilities, Equipment and Methods
  • Explosions
  • Structural Engineering and Building Technology

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