Beirut Explosion Structural Assessment of the Explosion Magnitude

15 October 2020


After completing the two phases of the Research Project related to Beirut Port Blast, the Research Unit Team deduced the below Summary Research Work which was sent to publication at a highly ranked journal.

On August 4th 2020, tremendous explosion occurred in Beirut, Lebanon’s capital, specifically in its port.

The resulting damage was humongous, impacting the city along a radius of about 600m. Series of grains silos adjacent to the center of the explosion, at 85m proximity, had been importantly damaged.

The cause was anticipated to explosion of Ammonium Nitrate that had been stored in the port, of “said” quantity equal to 2750t, whereby different opinions have emerged regarding the amount of the explosive materials and the magnitude of the explosion. The aim of this research work is to define the magnitude of the explosion, using structural engineering approach throughout non-linear finite element modeling of the silos. The magnitude of the explosion is defined as the numerical model magnitude that generated the silos damages. The study is based on silos detailed drawings, data collected from site visits, and the use of the Conventional Weapons Effects Blast Loading (CONWEP) method. In addition, damage assessment for the “standing” silos has been conducted and final recommendations are included. This paper shows that the magnitude of the explosion is smaller than the equivalent TNT of the original declared quantity of stored Ammonium Nitrate.

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