Performance Evaluation of the Roach Cove Bubble Screen Apparatus


  1. Rude, G.
  2. Lee, J.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Suffield, Ralston ALTA (CAN)
Under the Federal Fisheries Act, current DFO regulations restrict the use of the underwater demolition training area at Roach Cove, in Bedford Basin to limited windows of only a few weeks each year. Accordingly, MARLANT/FSE (Maritime Forces Atlantic, Formation Safety & Environment) has tasked DRDC to develop an underwater shock suppression system to mitigate underwater blast effects on marine life, which, would allow the extension of the training window periods. The apparatus consists of an air distribution manifold that surrounds the explosive charge in the water and releases a dense cloud of small air bubbles. The air is provided by a moderately sized twin-screw compressor and is released through an array of diffuser tubes that are specially designed to withstand the near-field blast environment. The ‘bubble screen’ disrupts the shock-wave propagation through the water, which results in a significant decrease in the overpressures and energy densities that would normally be observed. The data obtained shows that use of the bubble screen attenuates the peak shock wave pressure by almost 60% and the energy density by 40%. As anticipated, there was no significant reduction of the shock pressure impulse. Based on DFO’s limit of 100 kPa, the safety distance for detonations in Roach Cove can be reduced to 1/4th of what it would be without the bubble screen. As an aid to the understanding of underwater explosion shock waves and to the interpretation of the data obtained, a de

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Report Number
DRDC-SUFFIELD-TM-2007-046 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Apr 2007
Number of Pages

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