Finite Element Modeling of Reinforced Concrete Columns Subjected to Air and Underwater Explosions


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Ever since the tragic events of the 9/11 attacks in New York, global infrastructures have suffered significant damage caused by acts of terrorism, military strikes, and accidental explosions. Coastal regions and critical infrastructure, including bridges, face a significant threat from maritime terrorism. Furthermore, intentional car bomb explosions in acts of terrorism and military assaults also pose substantial risks to the structural integrity of bridges. Among the various components comprising a bridge structure, bridge piers play a crucial role in providing vertical support. Hence, it is crucial to study the structural response of reinforced concrete (RC) columns under blast loading. This study involved the development of two comprehensive numerical models, using LS-DYNA software, to analyze the air blast and underwater explosion (UNDEX) responses of RC columns. The validation process entailed comparing the simulation results with experimental data obtained from previous studies by Yuan et al. (2017), Yang et al. (2019), and Zhuang et al. (2020). Both numerical models exhibited reasonably good agreement with the experimental findings, demonstrating their reliability in replicating real-world air blast and UNDEX scenarios. With the numerically calibrated and verified UNDEX model, a parametric study was conducted to examine the effects of blast loads from TNT explosive charges on RC columns. The study considered various parameters, including stand-off distance, charge weight, and water depth. Nonlinear finite element analysis using LS-DYNA was performed, investigating a total of 60 cases. The simulation results provided valuable insights and findings regarding the behavior of RC columns under different air blast and UNDEX loading scenarios. This study is particularly pioneering in its investigation of RC columns subjected to partially submerged explosions. Additionally, the response of RC columns for both contact and non-contact air and UNDEX explosions were investigated.