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Engineers develop ballistic wallpaper to reinforce US Army temporary shelters
Troops often use abandoned masonry, brick or cinderblock structures for defensive purposes instead of building their own or digging foxholes.
While these structures offer a degree of protection, they are susceptible to blast impact from missile or other large projectiles, said Nick Boone, a research mechanical engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Engineer Research and Development Center, or ERDC, in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Engineers at ERDC work on a novel idea of fortifying these structures with rolls of lightweight ballistic wallpaper with adhesive backing that can quickly be put up on the inside of the walls, he said.The wallpaper consists of Kevlar fiber threads embedded in flexible polymer film. Without the wallpaper, a wall that is hit will "rubblize," sending shards of rock and mortar flying at the occupants inside. When the blast occurs with the wallpaper installed, it acts as a "catcher's net," containing the rubble and preventing debris from injuring Soldiers.
Engineers built unreinforced structures and actually bombed and blasted them, Boone said. Small blast testing was done at nearby Fort Polk, Louisiana, and large-blast testing was conducted at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
Ballistic wallpaper is still in the research and development stage and does not yet have an official name.
More information: www.army.mil
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