APL Colloquium

January 13, 2006

Colloquium Topic: R&D Needs for Effective Blast, Shock, and Impact Mitigation

In 1989, the world viewed a watershed event with the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Nations across the globe began reducing their defense R&D spending in response to the anticipated world stability. The euphoria did not last for long. The use of terrorism as a global tactic escalated after the end of the Cold War. Industrialized countries viewed the annoyance of terrorism as a third world phenomenon and, with perhaps the exception of the United Kingdom, paid such events little notice. World opinion quickly condemned the more spectacular prior events like Munich, 1972 and Beirut, 1981 but then just as quickly dismissed them as aberrant behavior. Truck bombs and car bombs became the preferred mechanism followed by the unthinkable (to Western standards) use of homicide bombers. Events of September 11, 2001 raised the terrorist standard to attacks not seen since the waning days of World War II. Defending society against this form of warfare will remain a challenge through the first half of the 21st Century. The response requires a multilayered approach that strikes a fine balance between the safety of our citizens and the freedoms we enjoy as a nation. Technology can and will play a major role in this defense. Besides the serious needs for innovative intelligence, law enforcement, and military capabilities to counter such threats, society must invest in the development of effective protective technologies. Such technologies are the last layers of defense between society and the threats, and they are vital for insuring the safety of people and the preservation of valuable national assets. The future of R&D in protective technology must be reshaped accordingly. The study of heavily fortified military facilities may no longer be the main area of concern (although the technology in this area must be kept relevant). Careful attention must be devoted to typical civilian facilities whose failure could severely disrupt the social and economic infrastructure of nations. We lack essential knowledge on how such facilities either behave under terrorist threats, or how much protection they can provide. Many materials and components that are typically used in civilian construction were never studied for these applications. Furthermore, one must not employ only empirical approaches to address these issues (e.g., using high explosive tests to observe consequences). One must employ innovative approaches that combine theoretical, numerical and experimental approaches, and to conduct these activities in a well-coordinated collaborative activity between government, academic, and private organizations. This presentation will focus on current challenges in protective technology, and provide brief descriptions of several R&D activities aimed at addressing them.

Colloquium Speaker: Theodor Krauthammer

Dr. Theodor Krauthammer is currently Professor of Civil Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University and Director of the Protective Technology Center. He obtained his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His main research and technical activities are directed at structural behavior under severe dynamic loads, including considerations of both survivability and fragility aspects of facilities subjected to blast, shock impact, and vibrations. He has specialized in the nonlinear behavior of structures (including medium-structure interaction) under impulsive loads, and the development of numerical simulations and testing techniques for structural assessment. His work has included the development of design recommendations for enhancing structural performance, physical security and safety of buildings, facilities and systems. Additionally, he has been involved in the response, safety, and physical security assessment of buildings and facilities before and after abnormal loading events. He conducted both numerical simulation, and experimental studies of structures subjected to a broad range of loading conditions. His research has been supported by the Department of Defense Explosive Safety Board, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Federal Highway Administration, Minnesota Department of Transportation, National Science Foundation, NATO, Norwegian Defence Construction Service, US Air Force, US Army, US Marine Corps, US Navy, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. In 2002, he received the ERDC Award for Outstanding Team Effort for valuable contribution to the Pentagon Rebuild Retrofit Program Study. Dr. Krauthammer is a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute (ACI), a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and a member of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). He is involved with other national and international professional organizations. He serves on ten technical committees of ASCE, ACI, and AISC. Dr. Krauthammer is chair of the ASCE Task Committee on Structural Design for Physical Security, and Chair of the Joint ACI-ASCE Committee 421 on Design of Reinforced Concrete Slabs. He was the founding Chair of ACI Committee 370 on Short Duration Dynamics and Vibratory Load Effects. Also, he was Chair of the ASCE Engineering Mechanics Committee on Experimental Analysis and Instrumentation and of the ACI Committee 444 Experimental Analysis of Concrete Structures. He was a member of the National Research Council Defensive Architecture Committee. Dr. Krauthammer has written more than 350 research publications, and has been invited to lecture in the USA and abroad. He has been a consultant to industry and governments in the USA and abroad. Dr. Krauthammer's teaching background includes courses on structural design and behavior, structural analysis, advanced dynamics, protective structures, and numerical methods. He is very active in organizing cooperative international scientific, technical, and engineering education activities.