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Shielding a building

Computer generated simulation of a bomb exploding on top of a building covered by a protective material shield
A CGI simulation of an aerial bomb exploding on an 'Overhead Coverage System'. The protective shield dissipates most of the blast's energy before going through the roof of the building. Click on the image to watch the film. Image courtesy US Army ERDC Supercomputer Research Center.

Advanced computer simulations and high-performance computers are helping to save the lives of military personnel by enabling researchers to model the blast effects on overhead 'shields' fitted around their buildings.

The simulation was created by the US Department of Defense High Performance Computer Modernization Program at the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Supercomputing Research Center in Vicksburg, USA.

To watch the simulation, click here.

A protective structure

The computer generated video depicts a simulation of a bomb blast on an easy-to-install, two-layer protective roof called an 'Overhead Coverage System'. The visualization shows how the energy from such an explosion would propagate through the roof structure, leaving the underlying structure intact.

The structure absorbs and dissipates most of the force of the explosion, and is built using commercially available materials by US engineering company Tetra tech. It completely envelops a building and provides a protective shield, much like a tank's armor, to absorb the initial impact of a mortar or rocket attack. Since 2005, more than 100 Overhead Coverage Systems have been built and implemented.

The simulation was one of 10 winners of the 'visualization night' at the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing Program (SciDAC) event held in Denver, Colorado, US, in July 2011. The event is an annual gathering of computer scientists and mathematicians from across the scientific spectrum of laboratories and universities in the US. Academics convened to present their scientific results, discuss new technologies and discover new ways to collaborate. The conference was supported by the US Department of Energy Office of Science.

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