Critical infrastructure covering different interdependent sectors (energy, transportation, health, telecommunications, etc.) has the important role of ensuring the daily vital logistics for a comfortable and safe life of a country’s citizens. In recent times, this infrastructure is increasingly subject to various natural and man-made risks. One of the most widespread anthropogenic hazards is the phenomenon of explosions, either due to technological accidents or terrorist attacks, which effects are the most destructive to the infrastructure. Given the extreme importance of its role in the normal functioning of a country, the protection of critical infrastructure is a strategic issue.
In order to minimize the vulnerability of infrastructure to these risks, one of the important measures is to take into account its security beginning at the design phase. Indeed, it has been proven that taking this measure into account ab-initio often allows improving the security of the buildings or facilities that make up this infrastructure at a lower cost. However, the optimal design of structures likely to be subjected to blast loads requires an understanding of their responses as well as the dynamic behavior of their constituent materials.
This article is a state-of-the-art report on the responses of structures and their constituent materials to blast loads. Experimental techniques for obtaining very high strain rates, of the order of those generated by blast loads, are briefly described. The results of recent tests obtained with these techniques on ordinary and special concretes as well as on reinforced concrete structural elements are presented. Recent constitutive models of these materials and structures subjected to blast loads as well as numerical methods simulating the tests conducted are also reviewed.