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Direct Air Blast Exposure Effects in Animals, Operation Upshot-Knothole, Project 4.2

Description: Project 4.2 was designed to study direct (primary) air blast injury, in animals, from an atomic weapon in the range of 20 to 50 psi under circumstances affording protection against missiles, thermal and ionizing radiation and to estimate the probable direct air blast hazard in man. The pressure levels at which atomic weapons direct air blast injuries occur will determine, to a large extent, the number of blast casualties likely to be encountered. It is probable that fatal overpressures are not reached until well within the range at which indirect (secondary) blast, thermal and ionizing radiation are practically certain to prove fatal. Only in special situations affording partial protection from other injuries are blast injuries likely to be of practical importance. Two animal species of widely different body weights (700 rats and 56 dogs) were exposed, together with air pressure recorders, in aluminum cylinders, covered by sandbags and dirt but open at both ends, at seven stations distributed within the intended overpressure range of 20 to 50 psi of Shot 10« About 200 rats were likewise exposed in Shot 9. Unfortunately, the destructive effect of the air blast of Shot 10 was much greater than anticipated. Many of the exposure cylinders were displaced and their contents destroyed. Only a partial recovery of the animals was possible due to the excessive radioactive contamination which greatly limited the time in the area. Most of the animals were dead upon recovery. Those living were in a state of severe shock. Autopsy findings showed remarkably few traumatic lesions and lung hemorrhages in spite of the rough treatment and high overpressure to which they were subjected. The rats recovered from Shot 9 were exposed to a recorded pressure of 18 to 2k psi. The autopsy findings showed moderate lung hemorrhage in most of the animals ...
Date: December 31, 1953
Creator: Draeger, R. H. & Lee, R. H.