Missile-Resistant Building Protection System Tested at Colorado State University

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, director of the Wind Engineering and Fluids Laboratory, and Wayne Charlie, director of the Center for Geo-Explosive Research, developed the Missile Impact Facility, which is capable of releasing a 15-pound standardized 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 Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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, thus 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, utilizing the overall structure or a specific area within the structure to withstand extreme forces."

In addition to withstanding high impact missiles, the system 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 F 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, D.C., 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.

Collaborative research involving faculty and students at Colorado State and BCS has demonstrated a high potential for providing effective mitigation measures to reduce the effects of impact loading and fire hazards.

More information about the Missile Impact Facility can be found on the Web at www.windlab.colostate.edu.