Naval Ordnance Laboratory
A new method is proposed for predicting the maximum ranges to which an underwater explosion will injure fish that have gas-filled swimbladders. In this study the swimbladder damage is ascribed to tension waves that are generated when the explosion shock wave is reflected back into the water from the surface. The locations at which the tension reaches damaging levels are assumed to be the same as those where the surface-reflected waves cause bulk cavitation of the water. Cavitation theory is then used to predict probable damage zones for various weights and depths of explosive charge. The limited fish-kill data now in hand do not permit a true test of the new damage model. However, from comparisons with qualitative observations and the few available test results, the new predictions proposed here appear to give more realistic results than previous estimates.
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