14th International Conference on Structures under Shock and Impact
24 - 26 May 2016
The 14th International Conference on Structures under Shock and Impact took place in Crete, organised by the Wessex Institute, represented by Prof Carlos A Brebbia, and the University of Liverpool, represented by Dr Graham Schleyer.
The conference was part of a well-established series, starting in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1989 and continuing in a number of locations throughout Europe; the previous meeting in 2014 having taken place in the New Forest, England, home of the Wessex Institute.
The series originated with the renowned Prof Norman Jones from Liverpool University who, after his retirement, became Honorary Chair of the meeting. Norman is the foremost authority on Impact Mechanics, and the Senior Lecturer in the course on that topic, which is given every year in the Wessex Institute Campus.
The papers covered a variety of topics, including impact and blast loading, response of buildings and other structures to large dynamic loads and their material behaviour at high rates of strain. These are all areas of active research and special interest focused on the survivability of physical facilities and the protection of people.
The conference series comprised research contributions essential to deepen the knowledge of how structures and materials behave under a wide variety of dynamic load actions. The contributors were from different centres throughout the world in which advanced impact and blast studies are carried out.
The contents of the conference are of primary importance to scientists and engineers working in a variety of academic disciplines and industrial organisation who need to be aware of the latest developments in the impact response of materials and structures and the vulnerability of our infrastructure and environment to accidental explosions and terrorist attacks.
Papers are available in Open Access form in the digital library of the Institute (http://library.witpress.com/), from where they can be downloaded free of charge. This is another WIT initiative to help the dissemination of scientific knowledge throughout the world.
Opening of the Conference
The meeting was opened by Prof Carlos A Brebbia, Director of the Wessex Institute, who referred to the importance of the conference series to help fulfil the objective of the Institute, ie the transfer of knowledge.
Carlos mentioned that WIT has a series of other activities towards this end, including research and development in its field of expertise, ie the simulation of engineering and scientific problems using advanced computational methods. WIT is known around the world as the originator of the Boundary Element Method, a technique that it has applied to solve a wide variety of problems. They range from stress analysis to electromagnetics and during his talk Carlos showed some case studies.
In spite of its very specialised knowledge, WIT is aware of the need to collaborate with other centres around the world pursuing different skills, in order to achieve optimum solutions. Because of that the Institute has participated in many interdisciplinary projects, including some supported by the EU.
Further development of WIT’s unique computational tools is continuously required due to the demands of industry, which supports many of these activities.
WIT Press, the publishing arm of the Institute, produces a substantial number of Journals and books every year. The papers in Journals (which include classical scientific papers as well as the WIT Transactions) are archived in Open Access format. This has resulted in a wider distribution of the work presented at WIT conferences.
WIT has a number of other initiatives in conjunction with Associated Institutions throughout the world. They refer to training and research as well as conference organisation. WIT, because of its unique character, aims to collaborate rather than compete.
Dr Graham Schleyer then welcomed the delegates and explained the importance of the conference as a meeting point for scientists and practitioners to interchange ideas and find ways of collaborating.
He thought it important to have the right balance in this type of meeting to be able to apply constructive criticism and encourage new members and original ideas.
This conference – Graham said - has a long and successful history with a series of important problems being discussed. There are a series of topics that have been present since the beginning of the conference, such as ‘impact and blast’ or ‘structures’ describing the most recent developments in the field. The papers on materials continue to describe new developments. One field that is increasing in importance is that of safety and security.
Graham also stressed the importance of training and education, trying to teach within the context of real engineering applications.
The important objective of the conference – Graham said – is to keep participants aware of the latest developments in the field and to entice new researchers to carry on inventive research.
The conference programme was enhanced by a series of invited presentations:
- ““Previous numerical studies with deformable ballast on body impacts against building edge protection systems”, by Juan Carlos Pomares Torres, University of Alicante, Spain.
- ““Effect of pre-cut asphalt fracture planes on highway guardrail performance” by Lauren Stewart, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA.
- ““Performance of one-way reinforced concrete walls subjected to blast loads”, by Mohamed Abdel-Mooty, The American University of Cairo, Egypt.
- ““Simple models for target penetration by deformable projectiles” by Stavros Syngellakis, Wessex Institute, UK.
The paper presented by Prof Stavros Syngellakis of Wessex Institute contained some recent research results related to his work at WIT. It dealt with the effect of the impact of a projectile on ductile metallic armour. He compared expected analytical results with experiments carried out at the Sandia National Laboratories. His conclusion is that more experimental results are required to validate the analytical formulae presented.
The papers covered a wide variety of topics, listed under the following headings:
- Security issues
- Impact and blast loading
- Computational and experimental results
- Response of reinforced concrete under impact
- Dynamic analysis
- Risk assessment
- High velocity impact
- Dynamic material behaviour
They also included a special session by Prof Lauren Stewart of Georgia Institute of Technology, USA on Experimental and Computational Analysis for Hazards, which included, in addition to his own contribution, studies on the design and testing of blast resistant facades and retrofitting of reinforced concrete walls after blast using carbon fibre reinforced plastics.
There were ample opportunities for informal discussions during the conference breaks. The lunches were particularly successful, held around one of the hotel pools in a friendly atmosphere.
The Scientific Advisory Committee met over dinner in an excellent fish restaurant to discuss how the meeting could be improved in 2018. Different new topics were discussed as well as the nominations of colleagues to join the Committee. There was general agreement of the importance to find ways in which delegates could interact more outside the conference sessions. While the meeting could be held under the sponsorship of a University or such centre, the most convenient venues to increase personal contacts are modern and well run hotels. The Conference Division of WIT will investigate suitable venues.
The Conference Banquet took place in a tavern in a mountain village square, remote from the tourist spots. The dishes – different from those found around the coast – consisted of a series of Cretan starters, followed by a main course of lamb with rice. Drinks included, in addition to wines and raki, some special ones based on almonds and wild cherries.
A musical trio consisted of a Cretan lyre, lute and drum, played during the meal and when an ensemble in typical dress performed a series of Cretan dances, many of the delegates joined in towards the end. Overall, it was a most enjoyable evening.
Closing of the Conference
The Conference was closed by Carlos who thanked the delegates for coming in the name of WIT and, in particular, for contributing to yet another successful conference.
The meeting will be reconvened in 2018 in a location and at a date to be announced shortly.