Booms in Blacksburg put Virginia Tech engineering to the test
Jacques, a Virginia Tech engineering professor, is doing explosive experimentation in the name of science inside a giant shock tube off Inventive Lane in Blacksburg. The tests, which started in early September, will be used by Tech engineers to research how building components and infrastructure can withstand humongous explosions.
The shock tube is a multi-part, long metal chamber. Tech researchers ignite gases — a combination of oxygen and acetylene, a commonly used torch fuel — to make a powerful explosion and the blast travels through the tube to strike the end, where materials are put to the test.
It takes researchers hours to set up the gas lines, prep the tube and put materials in place for a test that lasts a fraction of a second.
The tests, which take place outside the Thomas M. Murray Structures Lab in Blacksburg, are so loud that researchers are sending out alerts to the community so people will know the source of the horn blasts and booms.
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