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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L011441/1
Title: Understanding the Role of Soil in Subsurface Explosive Events
Principal Investigator: Clarke, Professor SD
Other Investigators:
Tyas, Professor A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Blastech Ltd Defence Science & Tech Lab DSTL
Department: Civil and Structural Engineering
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 16 January 2014 Ends: 15 January 2016 Value (£): 100,145
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Ground Engineering Structural Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
13 Aug 2013 Engineering Prioritisation Meeting 13 August 2013 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Deaths and injuries from the effects of land-mines are common results of both active war-zones and post-conflict legacies. Aside from the regular headline-making news when UK armed forces are attacked by IEDs, it has been calculated that some 110 million land-mines are left in post-conflict zones, leading to the death of around 800 people per month and the maiming of many others.

Development of protective clothing and footwear, vehicle design and retrofitting systems and efficient mine clearance systems for both active defence and civilian mine-clearance operatives, depends on the accurate assessment of the blast loading produced by the detonation of a shallow-buried explosive. This is a highly complex detonation event, involving the interaction of extremely high-energy shock waves with multiple materials in different phases (soil, air and water).

This project aims to develop a deep understanding of how the soil surrounding buried explosives affects the resulting detonation and to develop advanced soil models which describe this behaviour. With a newly applied methodology this project aims to test clays with a high degree of accuracy to develop a dataset that will complement an existing equivalent data for sands and gravels. This will allow a direct comparison between the two soil types to assess the main contributing factors to the blast created during the tests.

It has been postulated by other researchers that the resulting impulse given out by a shallow buried explosive is inversely proportional to the shear strength of the soil in which the explosive is buried. This hypothesis is to be tested by developing a new high pressure, high strain rate testing apparatus to shear soils in similar conditions to those experienced in explosive events. This novel apparatus will for the first time be able to investigate the fundamental shear properties of compressible materials.

The understanding gained from this project will provide a revolutionary dataset for the modelling of soil-explosive interaction events and lead to developments in protective solutions for both civilian and defence applications.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk