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Small Blast-proof glass panel after test  (Source: DHS S&T)
Inventin may lood to better looking Popemobile

High profile leaders and government buildings all around the world can be targets of terrorist attacks at any given moment. Many of these officials and buildings are protected with defenses that are designed to protect the people inside buildings and vehicles. One of the more common types of protection is glass that is both bullet and bomb resistant.

According to the Pentagon, glass shards are one of the leading causes of death in many bombing attacks. The problem with the blast-resistant glass on the market today is that the material is very thick and can’t fit into the windowpanes in existing buildings. The glass is said to be about as thick as a 300-page novel.

A team of engineers from the University of Missouri and the University of Sydney in Australia has developed a new type of blast-resistant glass that is much thinner than the current glass, but has the same blast-resistant properties as the thick stuff. The new glass is about a quarter-inch thick and is made from a plastic composite with an inert layer of polymer reinforced with glass fibers. The team testing the glass has already exposed a small test panel to an explosion.

Sanjeev Khanna, the project's principal investigator and an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Missouri said, "The results were fantastic. While the discharge left the pane cracked, the front surface remained completely intact."

The new glass gets its strength from the use of long glass fibers in a woven cloth that is soaked in liquid plastic and then bonded with adhesive. The resulting glass is very strong, thin, and clear. The current thick blast-resistant glass has a green tinge.

The new glass would also fit existing windowpanes.

"Designing an affordable, easy-to-install blast-resistant window could encourage widespread use in civilian structures, thereby protecting the lives of occupants against multiple threats and hazards," notes John Fortune, manager of the project for the Infrastructure and Geophysical Division at S&T.

Tests with larger explosions and larger glass sheets are planned.





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