1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Deformation of containers in the Tianjin explosion

  1. Aug 18, 2015 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2015 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    They look more melted from the heat of the fires than crushed by the explosions...
  4. Aug 18, 2015 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Very little burnt paint.
  5. Aug 18, 2015 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The shock wave from a large explosion applies an overpressure of hundreds of pounds per square inch as it passes by. That pressure makes for an enormous force when multiplied by the surface area of a shipping container - they'd be squashed flat as a penny on a railroad track if the force were applied for more than the few milliseconds it takes the shock wave to pass by.

    Calculating blast effects accurately is difficult, but Google will find some useful models that will give numbers in the right order of magnitude.
  6. Aug 18, 2015 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

  7. Aug 19, 2015 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I don't know about "hundreds of pounds per square inch" of blast over pressure from a shock wave, at least not after it has propagated some distance from the explosion.

    According to this:




    a much more modest over pressure of only 10 psi can blow off limbs and will severely damage, if not demolish, reinforced concrete structures.
  8. Aug 19, 2015 #7
    Maybe it would be possible to use the size of the crater to estimate it?

    The crater from:

    West Fertilizer Company explosion - Wikipedia, the free ...

    was around 30 meters in diameter. The one from Tianjin is around 100 - 110 meters in diameter.

    From what I understand the energy needed increases by r^5, so maybe that could be used ?
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook