Philosophical Society of Washington

The Engineering of Blast Protection

Robert L. Hershey
Professional Engineer

2150th Meeting Abstract
Friday, October 11, 2002 at 8:15 PM


The last eight years have seen increasing interest in blast protection. The result has often been an overreaction, such as the unnecessary closing of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. However, rational engineering design can produce a better situation, providing adequate protection while preserving American freedom of movement. Often designs involve laminated tempered glass (bulletproof glass). There is a substantial record of laminated tempered glass testing in blast experiments. This lecture will address design considerations based on test data.

About the Author:

Robert L. Hershey is a consulting engineer. He has developed techniques used to analyze structural effects of sonic boom, wind, and blast, the subject of his doctoral dissertation. He has held engineering and management positions at Booz Allen & Hamilton, Science Management Corporation, BBN, and Bell Labs. He received his B.S. summa cum laude from Tufts University in 1963, his M.S. from MIT in 1964, and his Ph.D. from Catholic University of America in 1973. He is the author of two books, “How to Think with Numbers” and “All the Math You Need to Get Rich: Thinking with Numbers for Financial Success.” He is currently the president of the District of Columbia Society of Professional Engineers.

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