White Sands Missile Range Museum Exibits
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Model of Large Blast-Thermal Simulator


Large Blast/Thermal Simulator (LB/TS)
built by Defense Nuclear Agency
to simulate a nuclear detonation
and its effects on military equipment


The LB/TS is a large shock-tube test facility designed to simulate the blast and thermal effects associated with a nuclear weapon detonation. Compressed gas and thermal energy are released at one end, exposing a test object to conditions similar to a bomb of up to 600 kilotons. Military equipment such as armored vehicles, communication shelters and aircraft have been evaluated for survivability and vulnerability on a simulated nuclear battlefield.

Located on a 50-acre site in the northern portion of WSMR, the LB/TS is two football-fields long, with a test chamber in a 66-foot diameter tube.

This model shows the nine gas driver tubes at the far right, a diaphragm change area, a concrete and steel expansion tunnel and a Rarefaction Wave Eliminator. A gas supply system consisting of liquid nitrogen, cryogenic pumps and pebble bed heaters is used to pressurize the gas driver tubes. When this pressurized gas is released by rupturing diaphragms on each tube, the result creates a blast wave that travels down the expansion tunnel and impacts the test article.

The RWE at the end of the tunnel prevents the wave's negative pressures from re-entering the tunnel and voiding the results of the experiment.

Inside the steel test section, an 8-nozzle Thermal Radiation Simulator burns a mixture of liquid oxygen and aluminum powder and radiates test articles with various thermal outputs.