Tall buildings damage in Beirut ammonium nitrate explosion

M. L. Ivanov, W. K. Chow

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The 2020 Beirut port’s ammonium nitrate explosion led to the most severe damage, in terms of human lives and property loss, ever seen in the history of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The current study focuses on the blast damage of tall buildings near the explosion site and analyses the overpressure/distance relationship based on the comparison between theoretical calculations, the blast damage scale from the SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering, and real post-explosion images. The estimated trinitrotoluene equivalent blast size for the research is assumed to be 713 tons. Six tall buildings at different distances were included in the research and divided into categories. Theoretical overpressure models of Baker’s, Sadovski’s, and Alonso’s methods and Blast Operational Overpressure Model were used in combination with the Kingery–Bulmash Blast Parameter online calculator. A wide range of overpressure values were observed. The calculated values from the theoretical overpressure models were incorporated into the blast damage scale and compared with the real images, with the better match being mainly demonstrated for buildings at closer distances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalShock Waves
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Ammonium nitrate
  • Beirut
  • Blast damage scale
  • Explosion
  • Overpressure models
  • Tall buildings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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