News & Events-Frazer-Nash hosts IExpE meeting

Frazer-Nash Consultancy hosted the South, Central and West branch meeting of the Institute of Explosives Engineers (IExpE) in Bristol on 1 December.

The meeting, which was attended by regional members of the IExpE, featured two presentations by Frazer-Nash on some recent work activity of interest to members.

The first presentation discussed some of the work undertaken by Frazer-Nash on the SS Richard Montgomery; while the second talk looked at weapon effects modelling and Frazer-Nash's development of the PALLETE software suite.

The SS Richard Montgomery grounded in the Thames Estuary in 1944 carrying approximately 1,400 tonnes of explosives. The wreck site remains stable but significant corrosion and structural damage presents a threat of mass detonation. The current wreck management strategy of non-interference requires re-evaluation, to ensure the safety risk to the public is minimised. The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and Frazer-Nash have assembled a munitions working group (MWG) of subject matter experts (SME), from across industry and academia, to investigate this issue for the UK Department for Transport.

The MWG is delivering innovative analysis of different wreck management strategies, with associated probabilities of mass detonation. It has produced tailored fault- and event-tree models, representing sequences of events that could lead to mass detonation for each management strategy. To obtain these event probabilities, a range of data-gathering exercises - ranging from literature reviews to trials - have been defined. Due to the potential for estimation error, Frazer-Nash has developed a bespoke approach and software tool to calculate detonation probabilities. This tool, which utilises SME-defined probability density functions and Monte-Carlo simulation, calculates a mean mass detonation probability with associated confidence limits.

The innovative approach of the MWG is demonstrating the value and success of utilising industry skills and experience collaboratively, and is providing a clear process for assessing novel high-hazard safety scenarios in the future.

The second presentation was on weapon effects modelling, and Frazer-Nash's development of the versatile software suite, PALLETE. Comprised of a number of vulnerability and lethality modules, PALLETE provides a comprehensive modelling strategy for the response of fixed ground-based targets to air-launched weapons.

PALLETE provides an engineering-level modelling capability for the rapid assessment of highly-bespoke engagement scenarios, and is used in support of several programmes undertaken by the Ministry of Defence and industry partners.

The IExpE's mission is to promote the occupational competency, education and professional standing of those who work with explosives, and provide consultative facilities for organisations and government departments within the explosives field.

Find out more about the IExpE at