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.