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Blast tube tests at Sandia simulate shock wave conditions nuclear weapons could face

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David Reilly
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You can learn more when you couple blast experiments with computer modeling.

Sandia National Laboratories researchers are using a blast tube configurable to 120 feet to demonstrate how well nuclear weapons could survive the shock wave of a blast from an enemy weapon and to help validate the modeling.

Sandia recently completed a two-year series of blast tube tests for one nuclear weapon program and started tests for another.

Each series requires instrumentation, explosives, high-speed cameras and computer modeling.

Tests simulate part of the environment a weapon re-entering the Earth's atmosphere would face if another nuclear weapon went off nearby, said test director Nathan Glenn.

Transducers sense the strength of the blast pressure moving through the tube -- higher pressure closer to the charge, falling off farther away.

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