Science Questions

Can explosions bend around corners?

Sun, 24th Jan 2010

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Question

Ben, Peterborough asked:

At the Manchester 1995 bombings, it seemed that windows were breaking around corners and around bends. Whatís going on there?

Answer

We posed this question to Dr Graham McShane...

Well, when a blast pulse hits a surface, some fraction of that blast pulse will reflect off of that surface.  Depending on the geography of the area, the properties of the surface and the size of the bomb, the blast could go around many corners.  It could follow quite a torturous route, reflecting off various surfaces.  So, it could cause damage for quite a large area. Itís all down to reflections.

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