Brandt Seitz Mechanical Engineering MS Thesis Defense
- Monday, July 12, 2021 at 10:00am
- Roberts Hall, 209 and via WebEx Meeting number: 120 006 5988 Password: RACS - view map
Measuring Explosive Airblast of Remote Avalanche Control Systems
Avalanches are powerful forces of nature that have caused significant damage and loss of life in snowy regions throughout the world. Due to the growing development and recreation taking place in these regions, avalanches continue to pose a significant threat to life and infrastructure. Historically, this risk has been mitigated through a combination of education, forecasting, closures, and most directly through avalanche control with explosives. Today, avalanche control experts still use traditional explosive control methods such as military artillery, hand charges, and helicopter bombing, but newer technologies known as remote avalanche control systems (RACS) are seeing increased use. RACS are permanent installations that can be operated wirelessly to detonate an explosive from a safe distance. While these systems offer safety and operational benefits, and have been shown to trigger avalanches successfully, there is little information currently available to avalanche control experts to adequately evaluate and compare the in-situ performance of these systems. Accordingly, this research was established to conduct a detailed evaluation of the blast waves generated by several installed and operational RAC systems. To achieve this goal, a custom, wireless, and modular measurement system consisting of microcomputer-based data acquisition systems and high-pressure acoustic sensors was developed to enable the collection of high-speed air pressure data in challenging backcountry conditions. Additionally, an extensive testing plan involving testing at multiple locations was developed to guide the collection of air pressure data from a number of explosive systems. From this air pressure data, the explosives were then evaluated in a variety of manners including the peak pressures they generated, their effective blast wave energy, the rate at which pressure increased, and the decay of each of these parameters with radial distance from the blast. The present work collected a large amount of data on a variety of explosive systems showing distinct differences, and some similarities, between each of the explosives that both validated and expanded upon previous research efforts. These findings will provide avalanche control experts with much needed performance data on remote avalanche control systems and will also help to facilitate future work in this area.
- Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering