Multi-phase simulation of ammonium nitrate emulsion detonations

Stefan Schoch*, Nikolaos Nikiforakis, Bok Jik Lee, Richard Saurel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Ammonium-nitrate-based explosives used by the mining industry exhibit strong non-ideal detonation behaviour. Detonation velocities in rate-sticks with radii close to the failure radius, can be as low as one third of the ideal detonation velocity, which poses a significant challenge for their accurate predictive computational modelling. Given that these emulsions are highly heterogeneous, multi-phase formulations are well suited for their representation in numerical hydrocodes. To this end, a single-pressure, single-velocity multi-phase model is employed for the simulation of an explosive emulsion widely used by the mining industry. The model is modified to rectify a problem related to the calculation of a unique detonation state, and is evaluated using a high-resolution, shock-capturing Riemann problem-based scheme. In order to perform high-resolution numerical simulations at a reduced cost, a shock-following method is implemented and validated against the full-domain solutions. An improved iterative fitting procedure for steady-state detonation kinetics is also presented. Validation against experimental evidence shows that the model can reproduce confined VOD experimental data, solely by adjusting the reaction kinetics to match unconfined experimental VOD data. Furthermore, the model can match experimental front curvature measurement without further adjustments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1883-1899
Number of pages17
JournalCombustion and Flame
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was kindly funded by ORICA. The co-author Bok Jik Lee is funded by AWE (Aldermaston). The authors thank S.K. Chan, I.J. Kirby and A. Minchinton from Orica for helpful discussions and for providing experimental data for this project.


  • Heterogeneous explosives
  • Mining
  • Multi-phase simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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