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High-fidelity simulations of shock wave reflection inside a shock tube

Exposure to blast waves is the leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in military personnel. Many studies, both experimental and numerical, have investigated how primary blast overpressure creates TBI. Shock tubes are the main laboratory tools for generating blast-like shock waves and testing them on tissue-mimicking “phantoms” or live animals such as rats. The shock waves travel along long chambers containing specific phantoms or animals, and researchers monitor the overpressure reflected from and transmitted into those phantoms or animals.

Caliban is supporting one ongoing effort to investigate the reflection wave from objects placed inside the shock tubes. Plate-shaped objects of different sizes and materials (e.g. aluminum vs plastic) have been tested,and the pressure data on incident and reflection waves have been collected. To better understand and analyze the experimental data collected, researchers have been using computer modeling studies to reproduce some of the observed phenomena and reveal how sizes and materials affected wave reflection.

The findings will have profound impacts shock wave modeling. They will also help explain how objects of different sizes and materials —rat vs human, phantom tissue vs live tissue—could impact wave reflection and transmission. Ultimately, this study is expected to further TBI research by improving our understanding of the primary injury mechanism.

Role of Caliburn

The Caliburn cluster has cutting-edge hardware and software for high-performance computing. The staff provided the expertise and support that investigators needed to conduct their simulations. Caliburn also enables them to continue parametric simulations of shock wave reflection with different plate dimensions and materials and even totally different objects.

principal investigator
Principal Investigator:
Xianlian Alex Zhou, PhD – View his research related pages: BioDynamics Labs and Computational multiphysics.
Institution: New Jersey Institute of Technology, Department of Biomedical Engineering