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Old 11-15-2014, 05:43 PM
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This has a chart listing over pressures from 1 psi to 20 psi, and the associated wind speed. Over pressure from a blast, or over sources can happen very quickly, which is what causes structural failure or severe biological damage including death.

Interesting topic.

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Old 01-12-2015, 04:06 AM
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How about a submarine hatch?

Here is a link about hatches and making your own hatch?
Old 01-12-2015, 05:00 AM
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If I had to design something, and I would surround the shelter with earth berm of course maybe 10 feet high with angle of repose to keep it stable and have some sort of heavy corrugated balst/retaining wall between the berm and the shelter. The shelter would go underground of course.

Then I would build a labyrinth entrance, again with the heavy corrugated steel for walls and heavy steel H beams embedded in a think reinforced foundation as the uprights to hold the walls.

If sufficient land was available, I would consider planting some big trees a safe distance from the shelter, that would help absorb some of the blast impact.

I would think about what has been learned about the use of "crumple zones" in vehicle design and build some sacrificial crumple structure. Maybe 3 ft deep of plastic golf balls and packing foam covered with a few feet of earth and sod?

If you are close enough to worry about the blast, the radiation would also be a massive problem to deal with. Air filters, food and water stored to last until? When is it safe to leave? I have no idea. Maybe you wait a month then leave quickly in a moon suit with SCBA?
Old 01-31-2015, 08:59 AM
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It sounds like an underground shelter, with a berm at the entry door, would be the best bet for a realistic survival scenario. Something which would withstand a tornado would be the best shelter in general for most of us. Something beyond that starts to get very expensive in terms of time & money. A blast door withstanding 187,000# just isn't feasible for most of us.

A steel door & frame from a commercial building is. Take a look at the pre-hung doors available locally for commercial buildings. This seems more in line with what most of us can afford & deal with.
Old 02-03-2015, 05:09 PM
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From AtomicArchive


Blast effects are usually measured by the amount of overpressure, the pressure in excess of the normal atmospheric value, in pounds per square inch (psi).

After 10 seconds, when the fireball of a 1-megaton nuclear weapon has attained its maximum size (5,700 feet across), the shock front is some 3 miles farther ahead. At 50 seconds after the explosion, when the fireball is no longer visible, the blast wave has traveled about 12 miles. It is then traveling at about 784 miles per hour, which is slightly faster than the speed of sound at sea level.

Peak overpressure

Maximum Wind Speed

50 psi 934 mph
20 psi 502 mph
10 psi 294 mph
5 psi 163 mph
2 psi 70 mph

As a general guide, city areas are completely destroyed by overpressures of 5 psi, with heavy damage extending out at least to the 3 psi contour.

These many different effects make it difficult to provide a simple rule of thumb for assessing the magnitude of injury produced by different blast intensities. A general guide is given below:


Physical Effects

20 psi Heavily built concrete buildings are severely damaged or demolished.
10 psi Reinforced concrete buildings are severely damaged or demolished.
Most people are killed.
5 psi Most buildings collapse.
Injuries are universal, fatalities are widespread.
3 psi Residential structures collapse.
Serious injuries are common, fatalities may occur.
1 psi Window glass shatters
Light injuries from fragments occur.
Old 02-05-2015, 02:54 AM
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If the door handles 65 psi, the shelter walls have to as well. A very thick, heavily reinforced concrete arch buried under maybe ten feet of dirt could handle it. You'd have to button up completely during the detonation and immediate aftermath. Air intakes and exhaust would have to be thick steel and have blast valves else the occupants would be incinerated/crushed by 65 psi superheated air being forced in.

If it were a ground burst, the shelter would actually be inside the 11,000 degree fireball. While not in the crater proper, it would be buried several feet deep in highly radioactive debris. Even the best air intake and exhaust system would be impaired. Weeks later you would have to dig yourself out to the glassy surface.

Sixty five psi is roughly 3 and a quarter tons of dynamic pressure on a sheet of paper. Multiply by the square feet surface area of the shelter.

I've been in missile silo control rooms that could handle that. It would be cheaper to buy one used.
Old 03-16-2017, 06:38 PM
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if you want to make a door and frame that will even approach any psi rating,you're gonna have welding in the process of fabrication.Hinges,door frames,the door itself will need steel in the construction of could build from a single solid section of steel,but it's only as strong as the door frame and hinges that hold it. One design I've seen is a door constructed from square steel tubing sections,with the ends capped and filled with concrete,welded together to form a door panel...can't burn thru it easily,the concrete adds mass that you can't easily get to to defeat.Anything along that line will need hinges with 1.5" or 2"pins to withstand door opening and the weight of it.
Old 03-17-2017, 01:03 AM
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For a door of this type in would not try to hinge it swing. I believe putting on roller tracks and sliding it sideways would work better, and much more easily achievable.

Just my opinion.
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Old 03-17-2017, 05:55 AM
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so that would be like a commercial fire door suspended on tracks.Interesting idea.
Old 03-18-2017, 03:05 PM
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I would not suspend I. Put inverted angle iron tracks on the floor across the doorway. Make a flat frame of iron, with V-groove steel wheels, that will ride the tracks the size of the door, with several inches of overlap. Put inverted angle iron across the frame every six inches to a foot apart.

Build the door on a frame, also with V-groove wheels at 90 degrees to the floor tracks to match the tracks on to of the frame.

The door can be pushed back against stops on the upper tracks to give clearance from the wall. When the door is pushed over across the door opening, it can then be pulled tight against the wall to seal it.

If the door opening and the door are both built with one or more matching steps in them, the door will seal better.

Or, buy a small commercial grade vault door.

Just my opinion.
Jerry D Young
Old 03-18-2017, 06:20 PM
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I've been in a bunch of governement facilities includes FEMA federal regional centers, Mt Weather (I have equipment there), a former presidental emergency facility (ditto), The greenbrier (I had equipment there logn after it was outed) and a communications support faculty for several PEFs. Ive been to 3 minuteman missile alert facilities, though we were only above ground. Also went into several CBRN shelter in Adak, AK where they expected to get hit with tactical nukes and chemical weapons during the cold war. I've been to several other agency and AT&T national EOF's, and all of my employer's major buildings are hardened against a design basis threat.

Having said that, I've never seen a door that would survive 65psi. During the cold war, missiles were so inaccurate, hardened aboveground facilities mostly meant massive radiation protection, with little blast protection (5 psi operational was common) The error was so great that the Russians lobbed megaton weapons at the city your were in, not at your site. Near the end of the cold war, weapons got much smaller, and much more accurate. The notable exceptions were a few places like Mt Weather, Cheyene mountain, and Titan silos and latter minuteman MAFs where the Russians were known to massively over target. I read a blast study of a major government operational facility that I've worked at extensivally which was designed to run 40 days by itself with onsite water source and storage and sewage disposal, fire pumps. and 40,000 gallons of fuel for 4 generators (only 2 required for full load.) The outside walls were 24" thick, the windows were all on the admin side, and fitted with blast shutters, and the roof was designed to be washed down with pipes routed to avoid areas with people. The problem was the facility was built in the 60s, and there was so little rebar used, that the facility was vulnerable to a large car bomb. Everybody did a WTF, as those 24" walls looked like a bunker. I'll admit as an engineer I was astounded- my shop walls have about as much rebar in a 10" wall.

The facilities that have a high blast resistance do it by never putting the door exposed to an oncoming blast wave (the engineering term is orthogonal). The MAFs do it by making the above ground facility sacrificial. The green-brier has a similar design, both a loading dock ramp and and an existing hotel that would dissipate and deflect the blast. other facilities have a tunnel, so of the energy that enters via the mouth is disipated along the walls of the tunnel before encountering the inside door. the Adak shelters had the entrance at 90 degrees to a tunnel with a 90 degree turn, so the doors (2" thick steel, IIRC) weren't exposed. Also all of the dirt berms served to deflect the blast, and I believe the tunnel was ramped down hill. The old Titan silos used a more or less flat hatch- large loads would have to be lowered with a crane (I assume, it was before my time, but I didn't miss the chance to tour one as a tourist.) Note all of the missile silo doors are designed not to present much surface orthogonal to the the incoming blast wave- this is basic engineering whether defending from cannon fire, tank fire, naval guns, radar signals or nuclear blast.

You can make a exit door that will hold up to this kind of pressure with sand and plywood and plastic- see kerney's NWSS- all of the MAFs have a similar exit.
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