Experimental and numerical investigation of the mechanism of blast wave transmission through a surrogate head

Yi Hua, Praveen Kumar Akula, Linxia Gu, Jeff Berg, Carl A. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This work is to develop an experiment-validated numerical model to elucidate the wave transmission mechanisms through a surrogate head under blast loading. Repeated shock tube tests were conducted on a surrogate head, i.e., water-filled polycarbonate shell. Surface strain on the skull simulant and pressure inside the brain simulant were recorded at multiple locations. A numerical model was developed to capture the shock wave propagation within the shock tube and the fluid-structure interaction between the shock wave and the surrogate head. The obtained numerical results were compared with the experimental measurements. The experiment-validated numerical model was then used to further understand the wave transmission mechanisms from the blast to the surrogate head, including the flow field around the head, structural response of the skull simulant, and pressure distributions inside the brain simulant. Results demonstrated that intracranial pressure in the anterior part of the brain simulant was dominated by the direct blast wave propagation, while in the posterior part it was attributed to both direct blast wave propagation and skull flexure, which took effect at a later time. This study served as an exploration of the physics of blast-surrogate interaction and a precursor to a realistic head model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number031010
JournalJournal of Computational and Nonlinear Dynamics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • blast wave
  • fluid-structure interactions
  • skull flexure
  • stress wave
  • surrogate head

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Experimental and numerical investigation of the mechanism of blast wave transmission through a surrogate head'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this