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Explosion and Thermal Hazards

Explosion and Thermal Hazards

Our Advanced Engineering division includes experienced engineers whose careers have focused on the evaluation of explosion and thermal hazards to personnel both for industrial and government clients. We use advanced simulation tools to model the dynamic response to blast overpressure, fragment impact and blast-generated debris. Our team performs explosion testing services to validate modeling methods or proof-test protective structures, including explosives range and shock tube testing.

We perform computational fire modeling to assess thermal hazards to personnel and facilities that are exposed to energetic events involving propellants (liquid and solid), flammable gases and flammable dusts. We also assess the performance of event mitigation measures to reduce the severity of the incident, design protective construction for personnel to survive the initial event and model the ability of personnel to evacuate hazardous environments.

Solutions that Prepare You for Explosive Events

Hazard Assessment

Hazard Assessment

The ability to realistically assess hazards from explosions and thermal energetic events is an important part of safety engineering. ABS Group uses advanced analysis and numerical modeling methods to identify and correctly quantify the consequences of energetic events to give our clients a correct understanding of the exposures to their personnel and property.

Our understanding of the consequences of such events is supported by a combination of research and development (R&D), detailed modeling, physical testing and investigations of severe incidents. Our work has been effectively demonstrated for a wide range of situations, including those faced by defense, nuclear utility, government and industrial clients. Because of this experience, our staff is able to develop solutions to complex problems and situations, including:

  • Blast Load Prediction
  • Explosive Safety and Quantity Distance (ESQD) Assessments
  • Critical Asset Vulnerability Modeling
  • Facility Siting Structural Remediation Design
  • Anti-Terrorism and Force Protection Assessments
  • Threat Vulnerability and Risk Modeling
  • Terrorism Risk Projections

Hazard Mitigation

Hazard Mitigation

Once explosion or thermal hazards have been identified, engineering solutions are needed to reduce risk to personnel and assets. Our engineering team has designed and implemented innovative solutions to problem-solve for our clients, including but not limited to, protective construction, shielding and hazard mitigation at the source. We develop concepts and carry those to final design, including development of construction documents and construction support.

Examples include:

  • Design of new control rooms and the structural upgrade of existing buildings at refineries, chemical plants and similar facilities where flammable vapor, dust or other explosion situations exist.
  • Planning for barricades and shields to defeat blast, fragmentation and debris exposures at high explosives operating facilities.
  • Design of test chambers to contain blast and missiles for uses such as high pressure oil and gas component testing.
  • Developing blast containment chambers for intentional detonation of high explosives.
  • Design of containment cells to protect personnel at facilities where explosives are handled or manufactured and a high risk of detonation is present.
  • Detailed fire modeling for the oil and gas industry to assess personnel evacuation routes, placement of radiation shielding to protect personnel and specification of fire proofing for key structural elements.
  • Detailed thermal modeling at enclosed facilities handling or processing propellants, hazardous dusts or other energetic materials.
  • Design and specification of window glass hazard mitigations, both for new and existing glazing systems, such as at refineries, commercial properties and government buildings with explosion risks.
  • Preparation of construction documents (drawings and specifications) for any of the above plus construction cost estimates.

Explosive Safety

Explosive Safety and Quantity-Distance Siting

Our staff evaluates explosives operations for compliance with the US Department of Defense (DoD) explosive safety standards and industry best practices. We quantify and develop measures to manage risks associated with ammunition and explosives by providing protection criteria and design solutions to minimize serious injury, loss of life, damage to property and loss of mission. ABS Group engineers are well versed in the methods prescribed by the DoD for Explosive Safety Quantity-Distance (ESQD) requirements using DoD 6055.9 and DoD 4145.26 standards. We are also very familiar with UK, Canadian and Australian explosives safety standards.

Examples of our work include:

  • Explosives operations siting within a facility for Q-D Compliance
  • Both consequence based and risk based assessment methods
  • Explosion and thermal modeling
  • Primary and secondary fragment hazard assessment
  • TP-13 and TP-16 analysis 
  • Thermal hazard assessment
  • Substantial dividing wall (SDW) applications
  • The Department of Defese Explosives Safety Board (DDESB) Siting Plan Submissions

Explosion Effects Testing

ABS Group provides explosion testing services to support a variety of programs for commercial and defense related clients. These services include structural testing, testing in support of product development and test programs in support of R&D activities. We have developed and operate one of the largest shock tube test facilities in the world.

Our capabilities include:

  • Shock tube testing
  • Live explosives range testing
  • Small and large scale testing 
  • R&D
  • Window/glazing performance testing (ASTM/GSA/EN)
  • Blast resistant doors (PIP)
  • Blast rated glazed curtain wall systems
  • Prototypes of wall upgrade systems 
  • Blast containment chamber proof testing (MIL-STD 398)
  • Blast resistant modular buildings
  • Instrumentation systems including high speed data recording systems, pressure recording, thermal recording and high speed video recording
  • Third party witness and test evaluation

Related Services 

Security Vulnerability Assessments

By combining engineering and security expertise with a comprehensive understanding of both regulatory requirements and the industries we serve, our team has helped clients control security risks while at the same time reducing operations and maintenance costs. Solutions include:

  • Engineering-based physical SVAs
  • Mitigation measures development
  • Force-on-force exercise support
  • Emergency response planning

Facility Siting

Over the years, as industries needed to evaluate the potential impact of explosion, fire and toxic hazards to occupied buildings, ABS Group developed and expanded facility siting services to such a degree they’ve had an impact on industry recommended practices, even affecting EPA and OSHA regulations. Our full service solution includes, among others:

  • Flammable dispersion modeling
  • Explosion modeling
  • Building damage assessment
  • Prediction of hazards to building occupants
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