South (Central and West) Branch News

The September 2015 meeting took place at the Recreation Society at AWE Aldermaston.  It was good to return to this end of the region although the attendance was somewhat down on previous occasions.  The Recreation Society building is an excellent venue for branch meetings and offers very flexible facilities.

Ian MacDonald Watson opened the branch meeting and thanked Shaun Dooley, the Vice-Chairman, for arranging the venue, speakers and refreshments.  A report was made of progress at the Early Careers Symposium and in publication of sub-sector guidance documents under the Explosives Regulations 2014.  A call was made for potential speakers and venues

There was a general discussion on the merits of Health & Safety training for Explosives Engineers.  The majority opinion was that comprehensive courses and qualifications, such as the NEBOSH General Certificate or RoSPA equivalent were probably too detailed.  These require a 2 week residential course with a stiff exam at the end, or similar part time study.  A shorter course of 3 days or possibly up to 1 week was considered better value for money, particularly if the topics of the H&S modules can be tailored to suit the areas of risk likely to be encountered.  The following presentations were given:

Rate Stick and Cylinder Tests – James Ferguson gave an excellent presentation about two types of trial used by AWE to capture explosive performance data using small cylindrical samples.  He explained that these provide essential input for the development of hydrocode models and also allows for an assessment of explosive characteristics.

Shock Initiation of Explosives using gas guns at AWE and Cranfield – Mike Goff (AWE) explained the methodology associated with shock initiation of small samples of explosive material using flyers of approximately 50 g accelerated to around 2 km/s with gas guns.  He explained that observing and characterising the behaviour of an explosive under shock loading is important for a number of reasons, for instance informing hydrocode modelling.  The experiments can build up a detailed picture of the behaviour of an explosive substance and altering the properties of the shock wave entering the explosive (forming complex shocks) allows a greater understanding to be obtained.

The next meeting is on Tuesday 1st December 2015 in Bristol.  The Secretariat has details of the event.  The following meeting is on 1 March 2016.  Any member of the branch who does not currently receive e-mail notification of branch events and now wishes to do so, please advise the Secretariat of your e-mail address so that they can pass it on.