Building system withstands impacts at over 100 mph

A new protective building system designed to reduce the impact of man-made or natural disasters has been developed by Barrier Construction Systems of Colorado.

A new protective building system designed to reduce the impact of man-made or natural disasters has been developed by Barrier Construction Systems of Colorado and recently tested at the Missile Impact Facility at Colorado State University’s Department of Civil Engineering.

Colorado State professors of civil engineering Bogusz Bienkiewicz and Wayne Charlie developed the Missile Impact Facility, which is said to be capable of releasing a 15-pound standardised tornado missile at speeds in excess of 100 mph.

This capability allowed for testing of tornado missile resistance of wall and roof systems for tornado shelters as specified by the national performance criteria developed by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Testing of the BCS construction system at the Missile Impact Facility showed that the system was capable of withstanding impacts of more than 100 mph, providing a versatile solution to protect against missiles and debris resulting from man-made or natural disasters.

‘The tested construction system was developed as a modular grid system that can be adapted for use in conjunction with new or existing steel – or concrete -framed structures,’ said Ed Phillips of BSC. ‘The BCS system lends significant additional strength to the frame, utilising the overall structure or a specific area within the structure to withstand extreme forces.’

In addition to withstanding high impact missiles, the system reportedly provides effective fire protection. Fire-resistant testing showed that the lightest wall assembly achieved a fire-resistant rating of 2 hours, 38 minutes.

Tests using a sample only 6 inches thick with one side of the wall exposed to temperatures up to 1,850 degrees Fahrenheit for one-and-a-half hours showed that the opposite side of the wall remained cool enough to be touched with a bare hand.

‘Recent tragic events in New York City and Washington, DC, clearly underscore the need for development of innovative building systems to provide protection against impact from missiles and debris and to enhance structural integrity and fire resistance of evacuation routes in tall buildings, tunnels and other components of urban infrastructure,’ Bienkiewicz said.