The UCSD blast simulator is a one of a kind blast mitigation and impact characterization device that emulates conventional and non-conventional explosive events without the use of explosive materials and without a fireball. The energy deposition on the target is adjustable to less than 1 m/s, which is accomplished with ultra-fast, computer controlled hydraulic actuators with a combined hydraulic/high pressure nitrogen energy source called blast generators. The actuators are used in conjunction with appropriate loading media (i.e., polyurethane pads), which are attached to the variable masses and assist in the appropriate loading conditions for various desired shock responses.
The blast simulator is used to generate high quality response and failure data for a variety of materials, structural components and systems ranging from concrete and steel building columns, concrete and concrete masonry unit building walls, steel tower elements, and blast panels, to composite ship sections and joints for the US Navy. Blast simulator test results have been validated against full-scale live explosive field tests and the data has enabled the development and validation of robust computation shock physics analysis tools and vulnerability assessment codes.