Coating Protects Structures Up To 20x Explosion Forces
Blast and explosion mitigation has come a long way from thick concrete and metal housings. New research into granular-filled panels and metal foams have taken the spotlight in some material research circles, but these energy dissipative techniques can be disruptive to the structure or system that is being protected.
ONR Article on Explosion Resistant Coatings - https://www.onr.navy.mil/en/About-ONR/History/tales-of-discovery/explosion-resistant-coating
Material Systems for Blast-Energy Dissipation (PDF) - https://inldigitallibrary.inl.gov/sites/sti/sti/4781558.pdf
The Office of Naval Research, beginning in 2000, has funded ongoing research to develop stronger, blast mitigating options for ship hulls after the attack on the USS Cole. The research objective focused on solutions to “[…] avert rupture from a close-in underwater explosion […]”. The result was the discovery of a high tensile strength to weight ratio polymer given the name Energy/Explosion Resistant Coating or ERC.
A demonstration from GLS Coatings Ltd of a polyurea coating used on an improvised concrete block wall. The front face of the wall was coated in ERC, and the back was left dry. Although the uncoated blocks did shatter and throw projectiles, the front stayed solid. If applied to the entire wall, the internals may fracture, but the structure will remain standing and the impact force would be dissipated.
Options for ERCs are widespread now, all generally made from the same polyurea, polyurethane, or combined with other blast mitigation techniques. It’s advertised that a wall coated in an ERC (such as PAXCON, ArmorBlast, Defend-X, and many other blast mitigation coatings) can withstand explosion forces up to 20 times an equivalent, non-coated wall. It can be used with wood, concrete, brick, steel, and other structural engineering materials in both commercial and military applications.
A much more incredible demonstration of and ERC coated cinder block wall and a control wall hit by a simulated average car bomb explosion. The inside view at 1:10 shows the wall bulge inward, but contained by the ERC coating.
The ONR, after 9/11, expanded its research to include protection against “ballistic penetration, land mines, and improvised explosive device” (IED) blasts. The polymer was applied to multipurpose and troop transport vehicles. From here, spray-on iterations of the ERC polymer were developed and more widely deployed.
Here’s a bonus more fun video and very informative chemical explanation of the ERC made by Line-X. The chemical reaction is demonstrated and a watermelon coated in PAXCON and thrown from a tower, accelerating to over 66 MPH!
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