Seal Monitoring System for an Explosive Containment Vessel

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Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are developing high-performance explosive firing vessels to contain (one time) explosive detonations that contain toxic metals and hazardous gases. The filament-wound polymer composite vessels are designed to contain up to 80 lb (TNT equivalent) explosive in a 2-meter sphere without leakage. So far, two half-scale (1-meter diameter) vessels have been tested; one up to 150% of the design explosive limit. Peak dynamic pressures in excess of 280 MPa (40 Ksi) in the vessel were calculated and measured. Results indicated that there was a small amount of gas and particle leakage past the first two of the seven o-ring seals. However, the remaining five seals prevented any transient leakage of the toxic gases and particulates out of the vessel. These results were later confirmed by visual inspection and particulate analysis of swipes taken from the sealing surfaces.

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The internal structure of a blast containment container has been developed and examined by experiments involving the explosion of a high explosive. A steel pipe was selected as an effective structure for blast mitigation, because it dramatically reduces the blast wave in the radial direction near the explosion source. To also reduce the blast wave in the axial direction, two types of model structures consisting of a steel pipe as the main part were examined by both high-speed photography and pressure measurements of the blast waves. A 0.34-scale internal structure was constructed by combining these structures. To induce a powerful mitigation effect, the internal structure was filled with a shock-absorbing material. The peak pressures of C4 explosions in free air were obtained on the basis of the published blast wave data for TNT explosions in free air using an equivalent weight of 1.37. The peak pressures of the blast waves from the structures for all cases were compared with the blast wave data for C4 explosions in free air to estimate the blast mitigation effect. As a result it was estimated that the internal structure not only eliminates the blast pressure in the radial direction but also reduces the blast wave in the axial direction by 36 %. By combining the effects of the internal structure and the shock-absorbing material, the structure can reduce the peak pressure by 75 %.
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