In 2018, in discussion with industry and government agencies, the need for a group to develop the knowledge required to ensure the safe processing, transportation and storage of explosives was identified. SCI was asked to establish and host the new group which has been named EMBIG, the Energetic Materials Blast Information Group. The Group was launched in August 2018 and today has 15 members that include government agencies, consultants, academic partners and the Health and Safety Executive. EMBIG aims to improve the knowledge available to those involved in assessing the safety of sites for the storage, manufacturing and handling of explosive materials by providing a forum for the development and exchange of best practise. The group has now expanded its scope to also consider the protection of structures and our built environment from terrorist attacks and accidental detonations of energetic materials in nearby chemical and explosive storage and manufacturing facilities.
Shortly after its formation, the group members identified a need for software to calculate blast effects on structures because methods that are available to civilian organisations are often limited to simple legacy software developed by the US Military in the 1960s and 70s. These codes are automated versions of empirical formulae found in US Military manuals. They provide rapid results but require an understanding of the underlying methods to be used effectively and within their limits of application. These software codes were written for what are now obsolete operating systems (e.g. MS-DOS), hence are difficult to run and not user friendly. The US Department of Defence considers many of them to be classified and only licenses them to US contractors so their use by civilian organisations in the UK could be without the necessary licences.
EMBlast performs blast calculations for all the high explosives covered in ISO/FDIS 16933:2007 using TNT equivalence as well as user-customisable explosives. The completed free-field and loads on structures modules cover hemispherical surface bursts on hard and soft ground, spherical free-air bursts and spherical above ground bursts. Both modules generate graphical and numerical reports of pressure and impulse time-history. The modules also calculate peak pressure, impulse and arrival time as a function of range for multiple target points.
The development of EMBlast is completed in collaboration with the Blast and Impact Group of the University of Sheffield through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) supported by Innovate UK. Work has already commenced on the development of the next module dealing with internal detonations.
Blast trials were recently completed at the University of Sheffield’s Blast and Impact Dynamics Group's research lab in Buxton. These tests involved the detonation of 100gr PE4 explosives, recording the pressure-time history with 12 pressure gauges in 2 reflecting surfaces. The aim of these tests was to extend the capability of EMBlast in predicting clearing effects in the near-field.
Past presentations in seminars, webinars and conferences
EMBIG Advisory Committee
Anyone interested in further information about EMBIG or EMBlast should contact Bassam Burgan:
Silwood Park, Unit D, Buckhurst Road
Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7QN