Confined explosions: The effect of compartment geometry

Francisco Salvado, Arikson Tavares, Filipe Teixeira-Dias, João B. Cardoso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The detonation of explosives inside closed spaces, such as industrial facilities or naval vessels, is a very complex phenomenon mainly characterised by an enhancement of internal overpressures and wave reflexions. However, the phenomenon is relevant to the analysis of the effect of accidental or intentional explosions. Examples include, for example, oil and gas industrial facilities, where pressure waves may be generated from accidental explosions. The resulting damage will be affected by the shape and dimension of the compartment and its degree of venting plus the position and weight of the charge. The vulnerability of small buildings, vessels, trains or airplanes remain to be better understood particularly where the safety of passengers and operators is involved. Since the published experimental data on confined explosions is scarce, a numerical model is created to perform a parametric analysis that can provide engineers with guidance for the analysis of the destructive effects of detonations in small compartments in transportation systems or explosions in confined industrial spaces. A thorough validation process of the numerical model, based on published experimental data is described. Known empirical relations are compared with the results obtained and new methods to estimate the peak pressure in the compartment are proposed. Qualitative guidance has also been derived as a starting point to assist designers to think of solutions that enhance safety inside vehicles or buildings in the event of intentional or accidental detonations and explosions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-144
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Blast mitigation
  • Blast wave
  • Blast wave reflexions
  • Confined explosions
  • Finite element analysis
  • Industrial accidents


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