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Advances in Finite Element Analysis: Structural Response Subject to Explosions

October 7, 2020

Structural response to explosions is commonly analyzed using single-degree-of-freedom (SDOF) analysis or direct stiffness analysis. While appropriate, these kinds of analyses can return overly conservative predictions regarding the capacity of structures to resist a blast. In other words, the structure can be stronger than the simplified analyses allow. By including more variables, finite element analysis (FEA) can provide a more accurate prediction of structural response and reduce the conservatism inherent in simplified analysis. In appropriate cases, this increased accuracy can be used to show that a structure predicted to be noncompliant using simplified techniques is actually compliant based on the FEA.

In this webinar, licensed professional engineers with expertise in analyzing structural response to extreme loading and blast-resistant design testing will discuss advances in FEA.

What We Cover:

  • Overview of finite element method and potential applications in process industries
  • Review historic barriers to performing FEA and define rational approaches using latest technologies
  • Understand behavior of structure/equipment response to thermal/explosion loads to maximize utility


John Puryear,  Project Manager, ABS Group

John Puryear is a licensed professional engineer in Texas with 13 years' experience in analyzing structural response to extreme loading. He has expertise in blast-resistant structural design of buildings, infrastructure, blast-containment chambers and lot/prototype test cells. He has conducted research in blast, aircraft impact and progressive collapse. John's professional experience includes vulnerability assessment of nuclear power facilities, impact analysis for industrial hazards, industrial drop analysis, industrial accident evidence gathering and structural modeling for root cause analysis (RCA). He has presented over 20 papers relating to finite element analysis, with a particular focus on dynamic nonlinear problems. John holds an M.S. in Civil-Structural Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin (2007) and a B.S. in Mathematics and Philosophy from Wheaton College (2002).

Chris LeBoeuf, Director, ABS Group

William (Chris) LeBoeuf is a licensed professional engineer in multiple states with over 18 years' professional experience as a structural engineering consultant in the Extreme Loads and Structural Risk division at ABS Group. His specialty expertise includes dynamic analysis and design of structures and equipment to mitigate hazards from extreme loading events, to include vapor cloud explosions, jet fires and bursting pressure vessels. Chris works extensively with industry explosion safety criteria documents such as NFPA 68; ASCE Design of Blast Resistant Buildings in Petro-Chemical Facilities; CCPS and AIChE Guidelines for Evaluating the Characteristics of Vapor Cloud Explosions, Flash Fires, and BLEVEs; and similar criteria documents. He has performed more than 50 site surveys to collect data on over 500 buildings. He has worked closely with facility owners, architects and contractors to implement upgrades from conceptual design through building commissioning. In addition, Chris has performed dynamic FEAs for a variety of related issues for petrochemical clients. He has used state-of-the-art finite element codes to analyze structures, structural components, facilities and equipment (e.g. storage tanks, blast chamber, pipe failure) for nonlinear response when subjected to adverse loading conditions and for assessment of conditional performance. Chris is a principal instructor for multiple short courses dedicated to understanding explosion effects and dynamic structural analysis, including "Facility Siting and Consequence Modeling - API 752/753."

About ABS Group

ABS Group of Companies, Inc. (, through its operating subsidiaries, provides data-driven risk and reliability solutions and technical services that help clients confirm the safety, integrity, quality and efficiency of critical assets and operations. Headquartered in Spring, Texas, ABS Group operates with more than 1,000 professionals in over 20 countries serving the marine and offshore, oil, gas and chemical, government and industrial sectors. ABS Group is a subsidiary of ABS, one of the world's leading marine and offshore classification societies.

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