You don’t get a second chance to choose the right blast damper.

In this 3-part series, you will learn the 3 keys to deciphering blast pressure loads, how a blast damper functions, and how to properly select & size blast dampers.

1st Key: Deciphering Blast Pressure Loads

A blast wave is a type of shock wave that is created by a sudden and intense release of energy, such as an explosion.

When an explosion occurs, a large amount of energy in the form of a rapidly expanding sphere of hot gases is released. As the sphere expands, it creates a high-pressure shock wave that travels through the surrounding air, creating a blast wave.

Blast pressure loads can cause significant damage to buildings. The blast pressure load generated by an explosion is composed of two main components: the positive pressure wave, which is generated by the initial blast and pushes outward, and the negative pressure wave, which is generated by the subsequent vacuum created by the blast which pulls inward. Both of these pressure waves can cause damage by inducing shear forces, bending moments, and other stresses.

A blast wave can cause damage in several ways.

  • It creates a sudden and powerful change in air pressure (overpressure/underpressure)
    The positive pressure wave (overpressure) can push objects away from the source of the explosion causing them to collide with other objects. The negative pressure wave (under pressure) can cause objects to be pulled toward the explosion and then thrown back.
  • It can create a rapid change in temperature
    This can cause thermal damage to objects in its path. The blast wave can heat objects to high temperatures, causing them to melt or vaporize, and can also create rapid temperature changes that can cause objects to fracture or shatter.
  • It can generate strong winds
    The wind generated by the blast wave can create shear forces, bending moments, and other types of stresses that can cause structural damage to buildings and other objects.

What types of explosions create blast waves?

There are several types of explosions that can create blast waves including:

  • Chemical explosions caused by improper storage or handling of chemicals.
  • Gas explosions that occur when a buildup of flammable gas or vapor is ignited.
  • Dust explosions from a cloud of combustible dust that is ignited, causing a rapid and intense combustion reaction.
  • Munitions explosions

The difference between incident or side-on overpressure and reflected pressure.

Overpresssure is the gas pressure above ambient pressure that results from an explosion. How a blast wave (overpressure) interacts with a structure defines the pressure exerted. If the surface of a structure is parallel to the direction of blast wave propagation, the pressure exerted on the target is the incident pressure, or side-on pressure. When a blast wave impacts the surface of a building that is not parallel to the blast wave propagation, the wave reflects and creates a higher pressure, called reflected pressure. Reflected pressure is highest when the reflecting surface is perpendicular to the direction of the blast wave.

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Maximize Safety and Minimize Damage: The Case for Blast Dampers

  • Protect a Buildings Structure
    Blast pressure loads can cause significant damage to the wall structure, inducing shear forces, bending moments, and other stresses. Blast dampers can help mitigate these effects and protect the structure.
  • Protect Equipment & Occupants
    Blast dampers can minimize damage to equipment and other objects within a building, reducing the risk of injury to occupants. They can also reduce the amount of debris and pollutants released into the air, which protects occupants and the surrounding community from exposure to hazardous materials.

Why You Should Choose MAT’s Blast Dampers

Our quality products and outstanding application engineering support make us the right choice. We also offer:

  • Integrated Quality Assurance
  • Reliable Product and Sales Support
  • Short Production Lead Times
  • Competitive Fabrication Costs
Learn more about MAT blast dampers >