Researchers at Northumbria University have found a way to make concrete 78% more protective against bomb blasts, potentially saving both military and civilian lives.

Dr Alan Richardson, Chairman of the UK Concrete Society and Associate Professor at the university, believes that 3D fibres will significantly lower injuries from an explosion by reducing the amount of flying shrapnel that can cause fatal injuries.

Alan's research changes the shape of the reinforcing fibres, which is a relatively simple procedure, and so far the results of the tests have outperformed the current design in every area under examination.

2D vs 3D Fibres
2D Fibres Compared To 3D Fibres

The research is driven by terrorist attacks where buildings have been subject to impact blasts and concrete has been ejected out into the general environment. Dr. Richardson says;

“In the Madrid bombings, according to an army source, it was reported that something like 60 or 70 percent of the injuries were from concrete ejected.

"Not from the actual blast hitting the wall, but from the shock wave going through the wall and ejecting concrete out into the population.”

Research suggests that shrapnel wounds account for 36 percent of all bomb blast injuries.

New Concrete
The increased safety afforded by the material could also allow the military to reduce the size of defence structures, making blast protection much more efficient.

Dr. Richardson believes that the Ministry of Defence could benefit from this new concrete when building security barriers used to protect buildings and roads.

At the moment, Alan works with a Canadian and Indian firm where production of the new design can be done more cheaply.

He is now searching for a modest investment to continue testing at Northumbria University.

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