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Underwater acoustic characterisation of unexploded ordnance disposal using deflagration

Robinson, S P; Wang, L; Cheong, S-H; Lepper, P A; Marubini, F; Hartley, J P (2020) Underwater acoustic characterisation of unexploded ordnance disposal using deflagration. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 160. 111646 ISSN 0025326X

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The seabed off NW Europe contains much unexploded ordnance (UXO) left over from past military conflicts. These pose a hazard to offshore developments such as windfarms, and the current standard removal method is through high-order detonation by exploding a donor charge placed adjacent to the UXO munition. This disposal method has a number of adverse environmental consequences, one of which is the risk to marine mammals from the high sound levels produced. This paper describes work to compare the characteristics of the sound produced by a traditional high-order detonation method with a low-order method of disposal called deflagration. This latter method, which uses an external shaped charge with only a modest quantity of explosive to disable the UXO, is a less energetic method and potentially offers reduced environmental impact from lower acoustic output levels. Controlled field experiments were carried out to quantify the difference in acoustic output levels from the two disposal methods. Measurements demonstrate that the deflagration method offers a substantial reduction in acoustic output over the traditional high order method, with the peak sound pressure level and sound exposure level observed being typically more than 20 dB lower for the deflagration, and with the acoustic output depending only on the size of the shaped charge (rather than the size of the UXO).

Item Type: Article
Keywords: unexploded ordnance underwater acoustic noise
Subjects: Acoustics > Underwater Acoustics
Divisions: Medical Physics
Identification number/DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111646
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2021 15:47
URI: http://eprintspublications.npl.co.uk/id/eprint/9055

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