SIMULATION OF KHOBAR TOWERS EXPLOSION


November 17, 2003
 

As part of a study for APT Research Inc., based on the DIRE software, EAI recently carried out a preliminary analysis of the damages and injuries resulting from the Khobar Towers explosion.  As a follow-on to that study EAI has conducted a more detailed analysis of the Khobar Towers explosion by means of HEXDAM 7.0.

Both Building #131 and #133 were included in the study, as shown in Figure 1, with the tanker truck positioned behind the fence in front of Building #131 before the explosion.

The two-dimensional overpressure contours in the horizontal plane resulting from the explosion of the tanker truck are shown in Figures 2 through Figure 10, corresponding to elevations of 1, 11, 21, 31, 41, 51, 61, 71, and 81 feet.  The overpressure levels in these figures range from 400 psi to 1 psi.

Three-dimensional pressure contours are displayed in Figures 11 through 18 corresponding to overpressures of 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1 psi.

The damages to the two buildings resulting from the interaction of the blast overpressure with the structures are depicted in Figures 19, 20, and 21.

As indicated in these three figures predicted damage to Building 131 was extensive, with much of the front face destroyed.  Predicted damage to Building 133 was much less, consisting previously of broken windows and glass patio doors.  These predicted damage levels are in good agreement with actual observations.