CIB-VTTI Shock Tube Facility

There is 1,500 sq. ft. of fully equipped laboratory space in the Corporate Research Center, which is located approximately one mile from the main Virginia Tech Campus.


Conventional shock tubes are quite limited in their ability to simulate blast waveforms. The ABS facility has two state-of-the-arts Advanced Blast Simulators (ABS) designed to intrinsically replicate all the key features of blast wave flow conditions, including the negative phase and secondary shock.

The smaller ABS system (VT1) is 10ft long and has a 1 x 1 ft square testing section. VT1 is appropriate for testing specimens, such as small animals and material samples.

The large ABS system (VT4) is 45ft long and has a 4 x 4 ft testing section.  VT4 is capable of accommodating large samples and it is available for cadaver, animal, materials, and physical surrogate testing.


Both systems can operate with either compressed air or helium in the driver section, while the testing section has ambient air. The diaphragm of choice is an acetate membrane available at different thicknesses, but other options are available. The peak static pressure of the shock front in the VT1 system can reach 30 psi (210 kPa). Because of the great energy involved in the VT4 system, its maximum peak static pressure at the testing section is still under study.


Both VT ABS systems come equipped with multiple monitoring stations to track the development of the shock wave. In addition, observation windows provide quick access to specimens. Two separate data acquisition systems capable of sampling at 1MHz per channel are available (8 channels per system). High-speed video cameras with lights are also available for use during testing.  Hearing protection devices are also provided.


Shock Tube Facility at VTTI

Center for Injury Biomechanics
Shock Tube Facility
3500 Transportation Research Plaza
Blacksburg, VA  24060