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Energetic phenomena in an underwater environment

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This talk will examine the events that occur when condensed phase explosives are detonated underwater, in particular, covering the physics of underwater shock, bubble pulsation and boundary interactions. Also, the historical background and reasons for remaining interest in underwater explosions (undex) to both Government and industry will be discussed. Although research is unsurprisingly dominated by military interest in the subject there is also commercial/civilian interest in underwater explosions for use in metal forming, for development of improved rock blasting compositions and seismic work – notably, undex analysis was used in the forensic investigation to understand the Kursk submarine tragedy. A further niche application of undex is as a research tool for calibrating equations of state for energetic materials. These applications will be discussed and a potted account will be given of recent experiences with ‘undex trials’, covering the techniques employed for bubble and shockwave measurement and the difficulties encountered with this kind of experimental work.

This talk is part of the Surfaces, Microstructure and Fracture Group series.

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