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ERDC Researchers Garner 2011 Modeling and Simulation Honors

Published Jan. 25, 2012

Jan. 25, 2012

Release No: 2-12

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A five-member research team has been selected for the 2011 Army Modeling and Simulation Award for the development of One-Step, Contact Wall Breaching Methods for Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT). Dr. Stephen A. Akers, Dr. Jay Q. Ehrgott, Denis D. Rickman, Timothy W. Shelton and Dr. Ramón J. Moral were members of the research team.  All team members work in the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Miss.

“We believe what we’ve done in this particular case, is bring together a nice mix of numerical simulations and results that complement each other to a large degree,” said Rickman, research physicist on the project.  “Being able to work together with both of those aspects of research has allowed us to come up with some great advances in the area of wall breaching.  We are hoping that this is something that will not only help soldiers but save soldier’s lives as well,” he said.

During the past several years, the U.S. Army has focused considerable attention toward developing improved methods for explosively breaching walls in urban environments.  Major emphasis was centered on finding improved methods to breach the toughest wall types Soldiers are likely to face, primarily steel reinforced concrete.  A key component of the project was to breach those walls in a single step, allowing rapid access to the structures’ interior and maintaining the element of surprise.  These improvements directly enhance the safety of combat troops.  ERDC’s MOUT research program combined field experiments and numerical simulations to improve the understanding of the relationship between breaching explosive designs and the resulting damage to the target wall.  The goal was to create a portable contact-explosive system that creates a man-sized hole through the target wall in a single blast.

These efforts provide the Army with effective breaching concepts that provide troops more maneuverability in urban operations.    U.S. patents are being pursued for designs that successfully optimized wall-breaching charges for differing applications.  The ERDC team’s effort significantly advanced the understanding of explosive wall-breaching technology and demonstrated that sophisticated numerical methods can be successfully applied to the design and analysis of wall-breaching charges.  Lessons learned from this modeling and simulation effort will transition to similar Army research programs, such as force protection and overhead protective cover.

The ERDC is the premier research and development facility for USACE, with more than 2,500 employees, $1.2 billion in facilities and an annual research program exceeding $1.5 billion. It conducts research in both military and civil works mission areas for the Department of Defense and the nation.


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