EMBlast: Accurate prediction of blast loading for safety of the built environment


Determination of the risk to our built environment following an explosion is predicated on the ability to accurately predict blast loads. Explosion events are by their nature unpredictable, whether these occur accidentally, from the detonation of energetic materials in explosive storage and manufacturing facilities, or deliberately during terrorist attacks. To embrace this uncertainty, analysis tools typically consider many different configurations of input parameters (e.g., charge weight, location, explosive type). Examination of large numbers of accident scenarios requires tools that can return the results from hundreds to thousands of permutations in a reasonable time, emphasising the need for quick-running methods. Collaboration between the University of Sheffield and The Steel Construction Institute is focused on developing the next generation of quick-running approaches to predict complex blast loading. The outcome of this research is being implemented in EMBlast, a bespoke software for predicting accurately, fast and simplistically the blast loading on buildings. This talk will present the latest research advances in the development of quick-running models for predicting blast loads and introduce EMBlast. The event will conclude with a presentation of the legal basis and regulatory framework for the licensing of explosive storage and manufacturing facilities and the Regulator’s experience with structural justification both new and legacy buildings, giving context to the importance of reliable models

About the Speakers

Dr Samuel Rigby is a Senior Lecturer in Blast & Impact Engineering in the Department of Civil & Structural Engineering at the University of Sheffield. Dr Rigby has over a decade of experience in the development and use of novel experimental techniques for quantification of blast loading, and the use of analytical and numerical tools to derive fast-running, engineering-level approaches for blast parameter prediction. In particular, Dr Rigby’s work focusses on developing an understanding of the fundamental mechanisms governing blast loading in complex environments, from which more robust predictive approaches can be developed. Dr Rigby has been a named researcher on over £3M of research council funding in the past 5 years and has worked closely with UK MoD in developing best-practice for experimental testing of vehicles against buried explosives, and the design of curtain-wall glazing systems against blast loading.

Socrates Angelides is a Research Associate at the Energetic Materials Blast Information Group (EMBIG) of the Steel Construction Institute (SCI) in the UK. Socrates is currently involved in the development of EMBlast, a software for predicting blast loads on buildings from energetic materials. This project is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the Blast and Impact research group of the University of Sheffield, supported by Innovate UK. Socrates has a background in Civil Engineering (MEng at Imperial College) and Future Infrastructure and Built Environment (MRes at the University of Cambridge). He recently completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge, as part of the Future Infrastructure and Built Environment (FIBE) Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT). His PhD focused on developing analytical models for the post-fracture blast response of laminated glass. He has also worked in industry for 3 years at DNVGL in London, as a structural engineer assessing offshore steel structures for the oil & gas industry.

Qamar Khan manages one of the regulatory specialist teams in the Explosives Unit. The Unit is responsible for the enforcement of explosives legislation in GB & NI. The work ranges from serious accident and incident investigations, drafting and issuing explosives permissioning documents to seeking compliance from explosive dutyholders in manufacturing and storage environments. Qamar has extensively been involved in the drafting of complex explosive licences where the use of blast modelling tools has played a key part in forming conclusions on how the structure responds under blast loading. Qamar has over 30 years of experience within the explosives regulatory industry environment. Prior to this he completed a PhD in Cyto-chemistry. Qamar has played a key part in developing the CBI explosives industry guidance document on ‘Use of structural justifications in support of explosive licences’. This has become the standard for this sector.

Further information

This event is organised by SECED. The event will be chaired by Brian Young. Attendance at this meeting is free for members and non-members alike. 

In person attendance

The event will held in-person at the Institution of Civil Engineers (see map below). Prior registration is not required. Seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served from 5.30 - 6 pm. We encourage everyone to attend in person if they can. A networking event will be held in the ICE bar after the evening lecture. SECED will provide one free drink in the bar to all who attends the lecture.

Online attendance

This event will be broadcast online. Please register for the event prior to joining. The registration process will provide you with the link you need to join the main event.

Link here

Note: The Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team (EEFIT) &  Society for Earthquake and Civil Engineering Dynamics (SECED) AGM will take place at 18:00 and 18:15 respectively, followed by the lecture at 18:30.

Event Details

Event Date 26/04/2023 6:00 pm
Event End Date 26/04/2023 8:00 pm
Location Institution of Civil Engineers

Location Map