The design analysis techniques, used to determine vulnerability to attack or lethality of an explosive detonation, have been tested against a large database of experimental and test results. Building explosive testing chambers presents a whole new set of challenges, since the purpose of such tests is not the survival or destruction of the vessel, but gaining a better understanding of the explosion's dynamics. Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have chosen to combine aboveground testing using mock materials, advanced X-ray and proton radiography, and advanced computing capabilities for complex simulations. These vessel systems, when used with diagnostics such as flash or proton radiography, provide important data that help our weapon's designers validate design codes and support the certification of the weapon systems. The Atomic Weapons Establishment in the United Kingdom has similar activity under way. Testing has shown that within a millisecond, the stresses within the pressure vessel shift from a sharp, uniform impulse to a 1 kHz vibration. The amount of stress, or excitation, that the impulse places on the structure can be figured as the integral of the load over time of duration.

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