CIE500W: Blast Engineering

IITB Logo Manish Kumar
Assistant Professor

Department of Civil Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai


Blast Engineering

CIE500W: Blast Engineering

The course addresses response of structures to non-nuclear air-blast loadings. Topics studied include explosives chemistry, dynamical loadings, nonlinear response of single-degree-of-freedom (SDOF) systems, P-I diagrams, air-blast loadings, clearing effects, equivalent SDOF analysis for blast loadings, implicit and explicit finite element analysis, wave propagation in air and solids, analysis for blast loading using finite element and computational fluid dynamics tools, fragmentation and testing methods. Students are assigned a class project involving the blast analysis of structural components using LS DYNA or similar. LEC. Prerequisites: CIE 519 and CIE 526.


Assignment#1: Report

Assignment#2: Report

Assignment#3: Report

Assignment#4 Report

Assignment#5 Report


Books and References

Recommended textbook
  • Dusenberry, D. (ed.) (2010). Handbook for the Blast Protection of Buildings, Wiley, New York

Reference textbooks

  • Bangash, M. Y. H. and T. Bangash. (2006). Explosion-Resistant Buildings, Springer, New York
  • Bulson, P. S. (1997). Explosive Loading of Engineering Structures, Chapman & Hall, London
  • Krauthammer, T. (2008). Modern Protective Structures, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL
  • Mays, G. C. and P. D. Smith. (1995). Blast Effects on Buildings, Telford, London
  • Smith, P. D. and J. G. Hetherington. (1994). Blast and Ballistic Loading of Structures, Butterworth and Heinemann, Oxford.
  • Baker, W. E., P. A. Cox, P. S. Westine, J. J. Kulesz and R. A. Strehlow. (1983). Explosion Hazards and Evaluation, Elsevier, New York.

FEMA Documents

  • FEMA. (2003a). “Reference Manual to Mitigate Potential Terrorist Attacks Against Buildings,” Report No. FEMA 426, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, D.C.
  • FEMA. (2003b). “Primer for Design of Commercial Buildings to Mitigate Terrorist Attacks,” Report No. FEMA 427, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, D.C.
  • FEMA. (2005). “Risk Assessment: A How-To Guide to Mitigate Potential Terrorist Attacks Against Buildings,” Report No. FEMA 452, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, D.C.

Codes and guidelines

  • ASCE. (2010). Blast Protection of Buildings, American Society of Civil Engineers: Reston, VA.
  • DoA. (1993). “Security Engineering,” TM-5-853. Washington, D.C.: Headquarters, U.S. Department of the Army.
  • DoA. (1998). “Guide Specification for Construction; Section 02840; Vehicle Barriers,” CEGS-02840, Department of the Army, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C.
  • DoA. (1999). “Guide Specification for Construction; Section 02821; Fencing,” CEGS-02821, Department of the Army, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C.
  • DoD. (1993). “Design Guidelines for Physical Security of Facilities,” MIL-HDBK-1013/1A, Washington, D.C.: Department of Defense.
  • DoD. (1993). “Design Guidelines for Security Fences, Gates, Barriers and Guard Facilities” MIL-HDBK-1013-10, Washington, D.C.: Department of Defense.
  • DoD. (2002). “Minimum Antiterrorism Standoff Distances for Buildings, Report No. UFC 4-010-02, Department of Defense, Washington, D.C.
  • DoD. (2006a). “Minimum Antiterrorism Standards for Buildings,” Report No. UFC 4-010-01, Washington, D.C.: Department of Defense.
  • DoD. (2006b). “DoD Security Engineering Facilities Manual,” Report No. UFC 4-020-01, Washington, D.C.: Department of Defense.
  • DoD. (2008). “Structures to Resist the Effects of Accidental Explosions,” Report No. UFC 3-340-02, Washington, D.C.: Department of Defense.
  • DoE. (1992). “A Manual for the Prediction of Blast and Fragment Loadings on Structures,” DOE/TIC-11268, Washington, D.C.: Department of Energy.
  • DoN. (1985). “Operational Requirements for Secure Structures Ashore (Locks and Barriers),” DoN Operational Requirement No. 098-09-88, Department of the Navy. Washington, D.C.
  • DoS. (1999). “Compendium of Design Standards,” Department of State, Office of Foreign Buildings Operations, Washington, D.C.

Software programs

For blast analysis of structures, it is important to capture response due to higher modes of a structure. The implicit method of analysis that is famously used in earthquake engineering problems are not appopriate for blast load analysis. Explicit methods are used in the blast analysis of structures. The finite element analysis software program LSDyna is used for blast analysis because it has good explicit solvers. LSDyna is also famously used for other high strain rate load analysis like crash  test of vehicle.
One of the important steps in blast analysis is to determine the loading on a structure in terms of reflected pressure histories at a particular point. The blast analyses of structures using commercial finite element software programs, like LS-Dyna, model the blast loading as time-dependent point or distributed loads applied directly to the structure. These time-dependent loads can be determined using two methods: 1) Through the charts developed by Biggs and DoD, and 2) Through the computational fluid dynamics analysis. The first method was discussed in the previous assignment. Surface blast loading on the column is obtained here using the software program Air3D, which uses computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach. The time and space discretization used in Air3D provides a more realistic approach to simulate blast loading on structures.

LSDYNA: Software for finite element analysis. Popular for blast and impact loads in which high strain rates are observed. It provides a range of implicit solvers, that are otherwise not avaiable with other software packages. Pre-post is the pre-processing (model development) tool that comes with LSDYNA but its capability is limited and people often use MSC Patran or Oasys for preprocessing which can be used with LSDYNA solver.


Learning Materials: Online tutorials
                             Download link

ANSYS Autodyn:

Air3D and ProSAir: ProSAir is successor of Air3D with graphical user interface and provides more capability on modeling relatively irregular structures.

Software link:

Video tutorials on blast load calculation tool Air3D: Tutorial 1, Tutorial 2


ConWep: Available to only US Citizens

Software homepage:


Additional Resources

Below are the additional resources that I found on web and might be useful to people working in the area of blast analysis