In a June 7 article the New York Times reported on an explosion that took place the day before that resulted in the collapse of the Kakhovka dam, which sits on the front line of the Russia-Ukraine war.
MechSE’s Shao Lee Soo Professor Nick Glumac, an explosives expert, agreed with other scholars and experts that it seemed likely the dam was destroyed by an internal explosion.
“You’re going to be limited in how much a warhead can carry,” said Nick Glumac, an engineering professor and explosives expert at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Even a direct hit may not take out the dam.”
“This takes a significant amount of energy,” he said. “You think about the forces on the structure in operation — they are immense. You have the water force, which is massive. This is not like holding on by a thread; these things are tough.”
Update, June 16:
Glumac’s expertise was again sought out by the NY Times for his input on the dam explosion.
“It’s worth remembering that you don’t have to pulverize the dam section, just break it enough such that the water pressure is enough to tear it away,” Professor Glumac said.
Still, Professor Glumac said that based on diagrams of the dam and the latest imagery of the destroyed foundation, “It’s hard for me to see how anything other than an internal explosion in the passageway could account for the damage.” He added, “That’s a massive amount of concrete to move.”