Air blast injuries killed the crew of the submarine H.L. Hunley.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The submarine H.L. Hunley was the first submarine to sink an enemy ship during combat; however, the cause of its sinking has been a mystery for over 150 years. The Hunley set off a 61.2 kg (135 lb) black powder torpedo at a distance less than 5 m (16 ft) off its bow. Scaled experiments were performed that measured black powder and shock tube explosions underwater and propagation of blasts through a model ship hull. This propagation data was used in combination with archival experimental data to evaluate the risk to the crew from their own torpedo. The blast produced likely caused flexion of the ship hull to transmit the blast wave; the secondary wave transmitted inside the crew compartment was of sufficient magnitude that the calculated chances of survival were less than 16% for each crew member. The submarine drifted to its resting place after the crew died of air blast trauma within the hull.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lance, RM; Stalcup, L; Wojtylak, B; Bass, CR

Published Date

  • 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 8

Start / End Page

  • e0182244 -

PubMed ID

  • 28832592

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5568114

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0182244

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States