Pyrotechnic Shock Testing, Measurement, Analysis and Calibration


    • This is a three- day introduction course to the theoretical and practical aspects of high frequency shock testing, commonly called “pyroshock” or “pyrotechnic shock” testing.

The basic physics involved in pyroshock, including meaningful measurement and analysis of the environment, will be presented and discussed. The presentation encourages attendees (having varied structural dynamic backgrounds and experience) to contribute their personal experiences and observations, and thus to collaborate with the teaching staff and their fellow attendees. Their experience, if any, might range from the quantification of the flight environment to test simulation and/or qualification and flight acceptance of flight articles.

Each participant receives a copy of Wayne’s text a minimal-mathematics introduction to the ‘Fundamentals of Random Vibration and Shock Testing’, HALT, ESS & HASS, also Measurements, Analysis & Calibration, including a CD containing a number of video clips pertaining to sine and random vibration and shock behavior and testing. This book will be supplemented by the instructor’s pyro-shock measurement, SRS analysis, calibration and pyro-shock testing techniques handouts.

Test simulation and methodologies will be presented and demonstrated in the laboratory. Relevant sections from Tustin’s text will be reviewed and will be extended into applicable current technical papers and guidelines.

What you will learn:

The objective of this course is to introduce the designer, technician and/or engineer to the phenomena of high intensity, short duration field and test laboratory transients and the possible deleterious effects on equipment.

Who should attend:

This short course is intended for a wide range of technical people, ranging from test technicians to test engineers to design engineers to senior scientists, who need to understand and conduct tests utilizing (or at least simulating) explosions. They also need to measure, record and analyze what happens to test hardware during and immediately after those brief events. Real world pyro shocks occur during explosions and explosive discharges, such as rocket engine ignition, stage separation, etc.

Course Outline:


Definition of pyro shock


      • High orde explosives (PETN, RDX, detonation, etc.)
      • Low order explosives (gas generators, pressure generators, deflagration etc.)


      • Stress wave propagation
      • Structural response

Data acquisition system

      • Source
      • Instrumentation
        • Accelerometer – various types
        • Signal conditioning
        • Filtering, high pass and low pass
        • Data storage
          • Analog (recall Honeywell RTR recorders – long extinct)
          • Digital
            • Analog to digital conversion
            • Sigma delta converters
            • Low pass filtering requirements
          • Calibration of data acquisition system
        • Data integrity – verification and analysis
          • Time history examination
          • Frequency domain
            • FFT
            • Shock Response Spectrum

Ordnance Testing Methodologies

      • Gathering and storing flight data
      • Full scale structure simulation
      • Sub scale structure simulation
      • Surrogate structure simulation
      • Testing real hardware that is later to fly

Simulation testing methodologies

      • Electrodynamic Shaker
      • Enhanced electrodynamic shaker
      • Resonant Fixturing
      • Mechanical Impact
      • Gravity Driven Impact
      • Testing hardware that is later to fly

Testing Examples

    • Ordnance pyroshock test demonstration by NTS
    • Electrodynamic shaker pyroshock simulation test demonstration by NTS
    • Mechanical impact pyroshock simulation test demonstration by NTS


This course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses. If you are interested in attending this or another course as open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or at ati@aticourses.comand indicate the course name and number of students who wish to participate. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a lead time of 3-5 months. Group courses can be presented at your facility at any time. For on-site pricing, request an on-site quote. You may also call us at (410)956-8805 or email us at


  • Vladimir Valentekovich teaches about pyrotechnic and other forms of shock testing, measurement, analysis and calibration and consults in these fields. He s a graduate of UCLA with his Bachelor and Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He worked as a Senior Test Engineer in Structural Dynamics, specializing in pyrotechnic shock, at Wyle Laboratories, El Segundo.

    Vladimir was responsible for quantifying and publishing the high velocity, short duration stress wave resultant in near-field pyroshock, as referenced in the IES Recommended Practice 012.1 Handbook for Dynamic Data Acquisition and Analysis, Appendix A, Pyroshock and the 5th ed. Harris and Piersol Shock and Vibration Handbook, Chapter 26 Part II. Vladimir received the SAVIAC 64th Symposium Henry Pusey Award for this work in 1994.

    Wyle Laboratories then was the first independent contractor to do pyroshock qualification testing using the Tomahawk Cruise Missile U/RGM-109D flight structure: from instrumentation, specifying the data acquisition system, placing the charge, to acquiring and analyzing the resultant data. Valentekovich developed many pyrotechnic shock test methods still used at Wyle. He continues to develop alternate pyro shock methods and test equipment including mechanical impact and ballistic shock simulations.

    Vladimir currently consults for aerospace and defense firms who seek to design, perform and complete meaningful dynamics test programs.

    Contact this instructor (please mention course name in the subject line)

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