Oran, Elaine S
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The increased use of explosives in military conflicts has been linked to an increase in the number of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Assessing the effectiveness of personal protective equipment to mitigate TBIs requires both the ability to replicate the pressure signatures caused by blast waves and an understanding of the interaction between blast waves and human bodies. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) was used to understand the effect of varying different shock tube design parameters and to propose guidelines for selecting shock tube designs to accurately replicate blast wave pressure signatures representative of free-field explosive events. Additionally, a CFD model was developed to represent a shock tube built to mimic the primary overpressure magnitude and impulse loading on the human head surface as a result of free-field explosive events. This model was used to aid in the understanding of flow within the shock tube, characterize the applied pressure loading to a bare head form, augment experimental findings to fully understand the influence of headborne systems on pressure applied to the human head, and support the design of optimized laboratory test methodologies to represent a broad range of free-field blast events.