New tape to protect buildings from explosions

According to Scientific American in a short article, the U.S. Army has developed a new blast-protection adhesive tape. This X-FLEX tape would be used to coat the interior sides of exterior walls in order to absorb the shock of a blast, protecting the occupants from flying concrete and metal turned into projectiles. Of course, such a material could also be used to protect civilians. After the Mumbai attacks last month, the hotel industry might be interested in such a protection for its customers. ...

According to Scientific American in this short article, the U.S. Army has developed a new blast-protection adhesive tape. This X-FLEX tape would be used to coat the interior sides of exterior walls in order to absorb the shock of a blast, protecting the occupants from flying concrete and metal turned into projectiles. Of course, such a material could also be used to protect civilians. After the Mumbai attacks last month, the hotel industry might be interested in such a protection for its customers. ...

X-FLEX protective tape

You can see on the left how the X-FLEX can be used as a wallpaper. (Credit: Berry Plastics Corp., via Scientific American.

This X-FLEX Blast Protection System has been developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) and Evansville, Ind.–based Berry Plastics Corporation's Engineered Protective Systems division.

According to Scientific American, it is "made from a polymer composite laced with reinforcing fibers that make it strong yet flexible. The material is applied by wiping away dust or particles from the wall surface, peeling away a protective film liner and pressing the tape against the wall. The wall may be coated with a water-based primer, developed by Berry, after cleaning to reduce the time it takes for the adhesive to stick to the concrete. The material is further secured at the top and bottom with fasteners to ensure it stays in place if hit by an explosion."

Let's turn to the announcement of the X-PLEX for additional details (November 17, 2008). Here is a quote from Elizabeth A. Curran, Business Development Manager at Berry Plastics. ""We are excited to be able to introduce a truly unique and unparalleled product that is going to save lives, reduce injury and offer another level of protection to soldiers, military personnel, or anyone working in a structure that is located in a battle zone or high-risk arena. In areas where threat risk is high, X-Flex helps provide a measure of safety that was previously unavailable."

The company said that the new tape was successfully tested - duh! "Rigorous full scale testing of X-Flex has resulted in proven performance to specific threat levels (Level and supporting data are available upon request). The fiber-reinforced polymer composite is engineered for adhesion to CMU, brick and other surfaces, and performs well across a wide temperature range and diverse environmental conditions. X-Flex is moisture, mold and fungus-resistant, and the environmentally friendly product contains no VOCs. Furthermore, it is easy to transport and store, and is equally efficient to install."

Finally, here are some additional quotes from Ms. Curran. "These are factors that are critical to our military personnel. Unlike traditional methods for increased protection, which required specialized equipment, toxic materials, difficult transport and lengthy implementation through trained labor, X-Flex can be installed instantly - and performs as soon as it is installed. Two individuals can retrofit a 10-by-10-foot wall in a matter of minutes. In areas where the prospect for blast occurrences is a constant threat, the performance of this product is literally the difference between life and death. The X-Flex Blast Protection System is engineered for real world threats."

Will people become so paranoid that they'll use this adhesive in their apartments? Time will tell.

Sources: Larry Greenemeier, Scientific American, December 18, 2008; and various websites

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