Structural behaviour due to explosions

Gas or dust deflagrations

Structural response analysis due to typical industrial explosions (gas or dust deflagrations) is still in an initial stage. In order to predict structural response against such explosion pressures, the design pressure of the item involved is often applied as a ‘safe’ approach for the explosion resistance:

•    Sometimes it is argued that, because an explosion is an ‘exceptional’ loading, it is not necessary to apply common safety margins 
•    Sometimes it is suggested that, due to the very fast loading by a gas or dust explosion, equipment tends to be (much) stronger.

Although standards on gas or dust explosion venting provide relations to calculate pressure around an explosion vent, it is still exceptional that, when explosion venting is applied, it is verified if this external pressure will not damage neighbouring equipment or buildings. Usually it is stated: venting must be in a safe direction and, as long as venting is in open air, it is assumed to be safe.

If a safety engineer is asked to estimate the strength of existing structures when exposed to explosion pressure waves, the estimate is usually far too high: often even the order of magnitude is completely wrong.

How to deal with the effect of gas and dust explosions on structures

The following topics are treated:

  • Dynamics of structures focussed on explosion response. It also describes material behaviour at very high loading rates and the consequences for explosion response.
  • Strength calculations beyond the elastic limit, hence taking into account plastic deformations. The calculation methods are presented. It is also indicated how the failure limit of structures can be estimated.
  • Cylindrical vessels, with cones and domed heads or with a flat top. The general design formula are presented, including buckling (due to external overpressure). Explosion effects on buildings. In order to be able to predict the effect of a (for example vented) explosion on a neighbouring building, a summary of available reliable empirical data is presented, in combination with a method to estimate the strength of industrial buildings.
  • Where to install an explosion vent and what does this mean for environmental safety
  • Practical solutions of the theory

Intended for

The objective of this course is to inform engineers, that have a basic knowledge on structural engineering, on how to deal with the effect of gas and dust explosions on structures. The course is intended for:
•    Mechanical engineers, involved in the structural design of process equipment
•    Civil engineers who construct in explosion hazardous areas 
•    Explosion safety experts

Course leader
The teacher is a civil engineer, specialised in structural engineering, engaged with the design of an earthquake simulator, and was involved in research (both experimental and theoretical) on structural response to explosions for several years.

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  • Information
    Trainer: Dhr. Ir. A. Harmanny (ISMA NV)
    Course data: December 7 and 8 - 2021
    Price: € 995.00 ex. vat
    The program will be taught in English.
  • Program
    1. A brief introduction into the training course
      Ake Harmanny (ISMA NV)
    2. Introduction into the phenomenon dust- and gas explosion. This includes a life demonstration of a dust explosion. 
      Michel Vandeweyer 
    3. Based on the structure of steel, its behaviour during loading is explained (elastic realm, yielding, strengthening). How is this behaviour effected by fast loadings (explosions).
      Ake Harmanny (ISMA NV)
    4. Dynamics of structures, focused on structural response to an explosion loading.
      Ake Harmanny (ISMA NV)
    5. Force distribution in static determined- and static undetermined structures, effect of ductility. Plastic hinges.
      Ake Harmanny (ISMA NV)
    6. Case 1: determination of the force distribution in a frame, with the help of plastic hinges. Including discussion.
      Ake Harmanny (ISMA NV)
    7. Strength of buildings loaded by explosions: empirical data and pragmatic estimation methods.
      Ruben Vermeylen 
    8. Strength analysis of plates. Yield line method.
      Ake Harmanny (ISMA NV)
    9. Case 2: Strength analysis of a rectangular duct, including possible reinforcement.
      Ake Harmanny (ISMA NV)
    10. Introduction into standard EN14460:2018 “Explosion Resistant Equipment”.
      Tom Molkens
    11. Behaviour of cylindrical vessels, with flat or domed ends. Both during internal overpressure and vacuum.
      Ake Harmanny (ISMA NV)