Since 9-11, thousands of American troops have paid the ultimate price in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. Suicide bombers have taken a terrible toll both in cities and on the front lines of battle.
In many cases, troops seeking shelter in buildings are just as vulnerable as if they stayed out in the open, because walls are not built to withstand explosions. But a new product made by a company with Massachusetts connections, may be giving our troops a major advantage.
The product is called X-Flex . It’s a thin plastic with an adhesive on one side. It goes up on walls very quickly. Some even call the stuff bomb proof wallpaper.
“It’s a very common sense approach. It’s taken years of development to bring to fruition,” says Tom Salmon, president of the division of Berry Plastics that makes X-Flex.
“We’re thrilled with the results and the kind of protection we can offer the occupants inside a building,” Salmon says.
X-Flex rolls onto a wall just like wallpaper, and it’s anchored in place at the top and the bottom.
It only takes 24 hours to install X-Flex and for it to set in place.
“It’s a very cost-effective installation for us. It does not require any kind of high tech, mechanical equipment or any specific training or any particular weather condition to be in place to be effective,” Salmon says.
So how strong is X-Flex? Popular Science magazine put X-Flex to an independent test with a wrecking ball.
See what happens to an unprotected brick wall, and a wall that’s protected by X-Flex.
Company video shows walls protected by X-Flex withstanding blasts and aftershocks.
“The reality is most of the fatalities and injuries come from the debris as opposed to the blast itself. So if you eliminate the debris, and the fallout from that debris’ impact to humans, you save lives and protect people,” Salmon says.
For now, X-Flex is used in the field of battle, but soon the company hopes to make a commercial version of X-Flex. It could be used in places prone to natural disasters, making buildings stronger, giving people precious time to escape.
If X-Flex is bomb-proof, as the idea goes, it could be disaster proof, too.