The red detonation button is how Virginia Tech researchers ignite gases to create explosions inside the 75,000-pound shock tube.
A plastic membrane was blown to bits using the equivalent of 500 pounds of dynamite.
Eric Jacques watches during a calibration test. Researchers will test actual items in the future.
Engineer graduate students Muhammad Ali (left) and Jalen Johnson open the shock tube between tests. The device is designed to test the strength of construction materials to see how they withstand explosions.
Shock tube discharges last only a fraction of a second while being charted and graphed for research purposes.
Engineering graduate student Jalen Johnson looks inside the shock tube between calibration tests.
Graduate student Muhammad Ali holds a deformed plastic bag that was part of the tube’s firing mechanism.
Graduate student Jalen Johnson fires the device from a nearby control room.
Eric Jacques looks through the firing portal of the shock tube.
Eric Jacques checks in by radio with his safety team prior to firing the shock tube.
Matt Gentry is a Blacksburg native and Roanoke Times, New River Bureau Photographer based in Christiansburg.
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BLACKSBURG — Eric Jacques blasts his custom-made air horn for a few seconds.
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