The Blast Impact and Survivability Research Unit (BISRU) of the University of Cape Town has been given the privilege to host the 4th International Conference on Impact Loading of Lightweight Structures. The series of conferences was initiated by Professor Norman Jones (University of Liverpool) and Professor Tom Wierzbicki (MIT) in the 1980s.The first three conferences were convened under the headings “Structural Crashworthiness” in 1983, “Structural Failure” in 1989 and “Structural Crashworthiness and Failure” in 1993. After a decade of no activity, Professor Marcilio Alves reignited the process and included the topical interest of “Lightweight Structures”. The conference in 2014 is a continuation of the conferences held in Florianopolis (Brazil – 2005), Trondheim (Norway – 2008) and Valenciennes (France – 2011).

The conference is planned to be a forum for scientists and engineers, from all over the world, to exchange ideas and experience on the behaviour, modelling, safety and design of light-weight structures with respect to high strain rate loading – and impact and blast loading in particular. The list of topics includes but not limited to material characterisation, structural failure and crash worthiness, energy absorbing systems, experimental techniques, theoretical models and numerical analysis; each providing information on the design of modern, lightweight structures and contributing to a safer world.

One major objective is to strengthen the link between research and development which is carried out at universities and research organisations, and the needs of industry. Thus scientists from academia and industry are encouraged to contribute at the conference. Lightweight structures include any kind of structure or material that considers weight in its design or implementation, such as road vehicles (including land mine protection), aircraft, ships, offshore structures, strategic buildings and infrastructure.