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Impact, Blast and Shock Load Analysis

Impacts, blasts and shock loads are physical phenomena relevant to a wide range of engineering applications (transport, defense, construction and power generation) and are often related to industrial safety aspects that need particular consideration as a result of in-service life events. The biggest challenge is that materials and structures behave very differently from their quasi-static behaviour when inertia and strain-rate effects start to play a significant role. This needs to be considered during the design stage for integrity assessment of structures that are potentially exposed to impact, blast loads and shock events.

Numerical Modelling and Optimisation at TWI

The Numerical Modelling and Optimisation section at TWI is made up of a number of Chartered Engineers, Chartered Mathematicians and NAFEMS-certified Professional Simulation Engineers and are actively involved in the development of standards. The section offers a variety of computational engineering capabilities including finite element analysis (FEA), computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and data analysis as well as bespoke mathematical modelling opportunities.    

Multi-scale damage of a composite panel under ballistic impact
Multi-scale damage of a composite panel under ballistic impact

Impact, Blast and Shock Physics Simulations

TWI identifies and applies the most appropriate modelling approach for impact, blast and shock physics analyses that allows for:

  • Calibration of material constitutive models and identification of relevant parameters
  • Assessment of damage initiation and propagation, including fragmentation
  • Probabilistic structural integrity assessments taking into account uncertainty
  • Design optimisation of structures to improve resilience
  • Material selection for energy absorption applications


TWI has a high level of expertise in the implementation of numerical modelling methodologies applied to dynamic analyses. TWI experience in this field is the result of extensive involvement in public-funded R&D projects requiring highly non-linear, dynamic, damage simulation of ballistic impact and calibration of material models. TWI’s support of a member company recently resulting in a blast protection patent [1]. TWI’s work on the simulation of petroleum road fuel tankers (carried out on behalf of the UK Department for Transport) was presented to Parliament and used to help update and amend current design guidance [2]. The multi-disciplinary nature of previous projects in this field has also enabled TWI to develop significant experience in understanding the processes involved to design and implement a comprehensive combined numerical-experimental programme. The overall services offer the client the possibility to exploit virtual testing during the design phase of their products and minimise time-consuming and expensive trial-and-error experimentation.



Foreign object damage of nickel-based 
superalloy fan blades
Foreign object damage of nickel-based superalloy fan blades