Canada's Intelligent Engineering originally developed its sandwich plate system (SPS) nearly a decade ago for the decks of oil and gas platforms operating in the coldest extraction fields. It quickly became clear that the sandwich was versatile, and the firm applied itself to establishing SPS in the marine industry as a method of strengthening the decks of roll on-roll off ferries and bulk cargo vessels.
These wear thin and fatigue rapidly, leading to deformations of up to 50mm.
The SPS is incredibly tough. The sandwich of 30mm polyurethane between 6mm steel plates can stop a Kalashnikov bullet at 200m.
Weight for weight, it can withstand a bomb blast equal to that which blew a gaping hole in the steel hull of the US Navy destroyer USS Cole in the port of Aden fi ve years ago.
Its re resistance is incredible too. A 957¦C, one hour blaze raises the sandwich plate's top surface temperature to a mere 38¦C, when its steel equivalent is cooking at more than 170¦C.
And strength for weight, the sandwich is 70% lighter than concrete.