In 1991, following a bomb in Victoria Station, public dustbins were banned from underground and mainline stations in and around London.
Now, Derby-based engineering company Aigis has developed a bomb-proof bin said to be ideal for indoor, high value locations.
Existing ‘bomb-proof’ bins aren’t suitable for indoor use. Generally made from a strong composite material, these bins act like cannons; directing the force of the blast upwards, straight at your expensive glass roof.
Aigis’ BlastShield Bin combines the properties of existing bomb-proof bins with a proprietary material called TABRE and a clever water – air suppression system.TABRE – which stands for Technology Attenuated Blast Related Energy – is a porous resin bonded aggregate that looks somewhat like concrete. Aigis Director Steve Holland says that for the benefit of American TV audiences he usually describes it as a ‘stone sponge.’
As well as having a fairly low density (about 1.4g/cm2), TABRE behaves well in UV light, has a low thermal conductivity, and copes well with extremes of temperature; all healthy properties when it comes to blast protection.
‘By taking the existing technology and lining it with our TABRE material we’ve increased the rating of the cylinder and also reduced the blast coming out of the top,’ says Holland. This is because the porosity and permeability of the TABRE allow the shock wave to enter the material and break it down.
To further lessen the blast coming out of the top of the bin, a dome shaped lid is filled with air and water. When the shock wave penetrates the lid, the water is converted into steam, absorbing more of the blast energy.
Whilst Holland is naturally unwilling to discuss the size of the charge that the bin will withstand, he says that it’s ‘enough to shred a Volvo’.
The bin is just the latest innovation from a company that has developed quite a name for itself in the realm of blast protection.
Holland and business partner David Christian have designed bomb-proof baggage containers, detonator carriers, and a kit that can be fitted to the bottom of 4 by 4s. The company has also developed a boot that offers protection from landmines. As a rather macabre side-note,the effectiveness of the boot was tested using the amputated legs of surviving landmine victims.
Aigis does most of its testing at a range near Devizes run by the Royal Military College of Science who produce an official report as well as provide all the explosives.
So far there are no definite plans to introduce the bins in this country but the company is said to be involved in discussions with the government.