Structural Response to Sonic Booms

by Roland L. Sharpe, (F.ASCE), Exec. Vice Pres.; John A. Blume & Assoc., Engrs., San Francisco, CA,
Garrison Kost, (M.ASCE), Supervising Proj. Engr.; John A. Blume & Assoc., Engrs., San Francisco, CA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Structural Division, 1971, Vol. 97, Issue 4, Pg. 1157-1174

Document Type: Journal Paper


Three major field test programs conducted to determine response of structures and structure elements to sonic booms indicate that sonic booms with nominal peak overpressures of 2 psf to 3 psf should not produce damage in properly designed and constructed houses. However, damage has occurred in other structures from sonic booms. Response can be predicted adequately if the characteristics of the boom and structure elements are known, and a boom pressure wave model can be used to simplify prediction methods. Predicted plate and racking deformations of structure elements are compared to measured values. Experience to date indicates that a great percentage of damage incidents involves glass damage. Implications regarding possible future damage from supersonic flights are drawn from structural response data and damage investigation results.

Subject Headings: Damage (structural) | Structural response | Field tests | Wave pressure | Residential buildings | Structural models | Plates | Deformation (mechanics)

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