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Key role for laminated glass in blast protection

News Reported by Mark Hansford

THE USE of laminated glass can save hundreds of lives when used in buildings vulnerable to terrorist attack, Royal and civil engineers were told last week at the ICE.

Speaking at the annual joint Institution of Royal Engineers and ICE meeting, 'International terrorism and engineering solutions', Arup deputy chairman Sir Nigel Thompson encouraged the use of shatterproof laminated glass on vulnerable buildings because it can save lives.

'Flying glass can kill up to 300m away (from a blast), ' he warned. Thompson added that 75% of injuries resulting from the Oklahoma bombing were from flying glass shards.

Thompson then showed the audience a series of video-clips revealing how normal and laminated glass react in an explosion.

Normal glass was shown to shatter easily, whereas glass fitted with anti-shatter film or laminated glass often merely deformed. A laminated glass panel tested underwater illustrated how far the engineered glass can 'stretch' in blast situations.

Thompson added that the use of laminated glass is one of many techniques that Arup's security arm Arup Security is now recommending to protect building occupants from injury or death.

Thompson was one of several speakers at the event. Royal Engineers also descrbied how they engineered their bases in Northern Ireland to withstand attack.

BRE Centre for Structural Engineering director Dr David Moore spoke about the dangers of fire resulting from terrorist attacks. He said that large sections of the UK's fire regulations are inadequate as they are based on laboratory rather than real fire secenarios.

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