A new engineering research study concluded that the explosion of the 4th of August resulted from the detonation of only 20.5% of the ammonium nitrate stored in a Beirut Port warehouse.
The study was conducted by a research team from Beirut Arab University’s (BAU) Faculty of Engineering, in collaboration with the Lebanese Army’s Directorate of Engineering.
Its aim was to define the magnitude of the explosive material weight, in addition to the structural response of the wheat silos and their protective role.
After determining the central point of the blast in Warehouse 12, the researchers concluded that the amount of ammonium nitrate that exploded was much less than the original total amount of the substance.
According to their study, the amount that exploded was estimated to have been equivalent to 220 tonnes of TNT, or 564 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, which represents no more than 20.5% of the stored quantity (2,750 tonnes).
Furthermore, the study led the researchers to conclude that the wheat silos in Beirut Port dissipated only a small amount – approximately 0.11% – of the total energy that resulted from the blast.
This, the study points out, indicates that the structure was not an effective barrier for absorbing the impact of the shockwave, which means that the silo’s presence was not efficient in protecting a part of Beirut from the severity of the explosion.
The results of the study were of great importance and the research team was invited to present their study in several local and international scientific discussions, BAU said in the announcement of the findings.