Underwater Blast Injuries, and the Sinking of the Submarine HL Hunley

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Date

2016

Authors

Lance, Rachel

Advisors

Bass, Cameron R

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Abstract

Underwater blasts travel further and injury more easily than blasts in air. However, because of a relative lack of data and study dedicated to the subject, the tolerances of personnel in the water to blast exposures have historically been poorly quantified. This dissertation presents an analysis of underwater blast exposures that have resulted in injuries and fatalities. Previously known standards for risk were evaluated and determined to be insufficient. Historical medical reports of exposed divers in the water were then evaluated and reconstructed to form the first known curves to prescribe a quantitative risk of injury or fatality.

The mystery of the submarine HL Hunley is an historical underwater blast exposure that has puzzled generations of enthusiasts. The tools for evaluating blast transmission through the water were applied to this puzzle, and data were gathered to support a theory of why the famous submarine sank.

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Citation

Lance, Rachel (2016). Underwater Blast Injuries, and the Sinking of the Submarine HL Hunley. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/13417.

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