Plastic ‘Envelope’ Can Protect Buildings

By Eric Beidel
A Pittsburgh-based company has developed an “envelope” that can protect buildings and their occupants against bombs.

Bayer Material Science LLC’s Hygard BL80 Shock-Wave Sentinel consists of laminated, transparent polymer panels and a structural steel frame supported by a concrete foundation. It is constructed to absorb shockwaves from an explosion so that a building stays intact and activities inside can continue with minimal disruption, company officials said. It can be decorated and integrated into the design of a building to maintain a seamless architecture.

“We realize we’re going to have to customize this to new buildings or retrofit to existing ones,” said Roger Rumer, marketing leader for the public business sector at Bayer Material Science.

The company is just beginning to put its product out in the marketplace, he said. It is geared toward embassies, government agency buildings, courthouses and other critical infrastructure. The risk is increasing for high-visibility buildings, and security personnel and property owners are looking for better protection, Rumer said.

The Department of Homeland Security recently certified the blast shield under its Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act. The SAFETY program encourages development of innovative anti-terrorism products by minimizing legal liability associated with the use of the technology.

During tests, the blast shield displayed the ability to withstand pressure up to 80 pounds per square inch and an impulse up to 380 pounds per square inch per millisecond. This would be about the equivalent of blowing up 2,000 pounds of TNT at a distance of 70 feet or 250 pounds of TNT from 35 feet away.

Topics: Bomb and Warhead, Science and Engineering Technology

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