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Development of a Shipboard Wireless Monitoring System to Monitor Ship Crews during Extreme Blast Load Exposure



Naval ships can be exposed to munition detonations during their operations in theaters of engagement. Munition blasts can be devastating to the ship structure as well as to the crew within the ship. Current understanding of the impact of blast loads on ships is based on empirical evidence from operational events that have inflicted casualties and injured sailors; there are comparatively fewer examples of controlled blast experiments on actual ships. Controlled blast testing on ships could advance understanding of how blast pressures propagate within the ship interior and the impact of these loads on ship crews. This study focuses on the development of a self-sufficient wireless monitoring system that can be used to monitor ship structures and the response of ship crews during blast events. The proposed system is designed to be deployed on decommissioned, crewless naval ships used as targets during naval exercises. The system consists of two parts. The first is a stationary shipboard monitoring system installed on the ship to monitor the ship motions and to capture ship vibrations and internal pressures during a blast event. The stationary monitoring system is powered entirely by solar energy and includes a GPS receiver to monitor ship locations and a satellite modem for the communication of data. The stationary system includes wireless sensors installed on the ship structure that trigger to capture ship vibrations and internal compartment pressures just prior to and during the blast event. The second part of the shipboard monitoring system are mannequins instrumented with wireless sensors to measure and transmit mannequin motion during blast loading. This paper describes the design of the monitoring solution and its deployment on a decommissioned ship exposed to blast loads during naval exercises. The result from sea trials reveal a stable and self-sufficient monitoring system that is survivable to the blast event.


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