“Bomb-proof” kevlar wallpaper

Craft & Design Science

Very clever idea commercialized as the X-flex Blast Protection System, in which a high-tensile-strength composite film is applied to the inside of a masonry wall to reinforce it against lateral impact. The video embedded above was produced by Popular Science, who included the X-flex system in their Best of What’s New 2009.

10 thoughts on ““Bomb-proof” kevlar wallpaper

  1. sam says:

    1) i think a bomb would exert more force than this
    2) looks like the major stresses are being transferred to the upper and lower clips to hold the wallpaper in place, though some of the impact is dissipated through the shear failure of the adhesive. performance of the product assumes that the exterior frame can withstand these loads.
    3) much more convincing video on their website

    1. Maha says:

      I agree that a bomb would be a whole lot more force, not to mention much faster too. My guess is this isn’t for direct hits but to minimize collateral damage.

      I also agree with you about the exterior frame being important. Brick usually doesn’t have a supporting frame. The brick wall supports it’s own weight and is only weak to lateral forces (like bombs). Corners are also very important in brick structures.

      I was surprised how little the material stretched though. I remember seeing something a few years ago about a Japanese paint that helped make a building earthquake resistant? This reminds me of that. If this material could be built into a building (new construction) i think it could be really useful. Especially if it is cheaper than say reinforcing the wall with steel.

    2. Rob says:

      You’ve also got whatever compression generated by the upper and lower clips being pulled toward each other by the force of the impact aiding in keeping the wall more ridgid than in the non-papered tests..

      Their test rig in that video is full of flaws.

  2. Anonymous says:

    wonder if this would help structural integrity against hurricane force winds and the associated debris. Might be more ideal for that use applied externally Also might help a brick and mortar walls be more flexible in earthquake zones.

  3. tom says:

    The idea is clever, basically it is the reinforcing things by wrapping them in duct tape idea, but it has two fundamental flaws.

    1. Windows are much more of a problem in bomb explosions than walls. Just look at photos from bomb scenes: the walls are the last thing standing.

    2. The video talks about force. But the bomb does not only create force but releases energy. Something has to absorb this energy. This wallpaper does absorb the force but not the energy. It just transmits the energy to ceiling and floor. But if they are influenced by the explosion as well, this won’t help that much. This only works for a small localized impact. Like a bulletproof wall. But not against general explosion shock waves which assert force on a large area. Those could be dampened by foam or something that absorbs the energy rather than distributing impact forces.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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