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By: Micaela Burwell

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Tuesday, 25-Sep-2012 12:40 Email | Share | | Bookmark
New Bomb Blast Curtains That Are Capable To Endure Large Explosi

In an experimental project that could just see light of day, the EPSRC or Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is trying to develop a new kind of bomb blast curtains, which should not just be thinner but also more protective than current generation. This new curtain is designed to grow thicker when it gets stretched by explosive forces hence preventing shards or glasses from piercing through it. Auxetix and three other partners have engaged with EPSRC and Exeter University to develop this product commercially.

The curtain is specially made to withstand severe blast forces while capturing any flying shards of glass and other shrapnel inside it. This can save many lives since most debilitating injuries arise out of glass shards and other tiny objects from explosion.

Such a curtain shall find sufficient usage in Government asset structures, commercial high priority terrorist targets and glass sky rises. The curtain is pasted onto the windows and they shall prevent anything from outside penetrating inside. They are equally effective against hurricane or typhoon induced window shattering.

The present generation of blast-proof curtains is made using high density net like fibers together with a shatter resistant film directly applied on the windows. Together, they manage to block out most of the force from blasts but do allow few shards to get inside. EPSRC new generation curtain should totally remove the need for any kind of shatterproof film because they will use fibers strong enough for blasts.

The fabric used in making this curtain holds the secret to its enormous strength. First, it is made from a dual fiber. One fiber type is stretchy, performs the role of the core while the other is stiffer in comparison, and is wound over the core. When the outer fiber is stretched it straightens forcing the fiber inside to bulge out, increasing the thickness of the curtain. This kind of material is referred to as auxetic, something that thickens upon application of shearing force. This effect depends a lot on the exact angle in which the stiffer fiber is coiled on top of the core. By altering the diameter of the two fibers, their coiling angle and the stiffness, one can produce different grades of blast-curtains. At present, the researchers at EPSRC are trying to develop role specific blast-curtains.

An extra feature of this kind of curtain is the fact that it generates random pores within its fabric structure when exposed to sudden forces. These pores are so small that they only allow air to pass through and block out any debris. The obvious advantage of this is that they are more durable even in heavy explosive situations.

The blast-proof curtain is only 1 to 2mm thick and has the potential to sustain car bomb explosions while being transparent to natural light. Presently, the curtain is in the testing phase with a few Government facilities conducting experiments on them. Hopefully, after certification is over, they can enter the markets in five years.

These bomb blast curtains can also find use elsewhere like in the making of auxetic bandages, dental floss and in civil engineering. Dental floss that immediately expands after filling for more effective cleaning between teeth, bandages that swell to open pores allowing antibiotics to enter and reinforcing soil against flood and storms are its many possible applications.


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