Protecting Against Terrorist Attacks in Urban Environments: Explosion Protection for Buildings

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Introduction Blast protection, until recently, has only needed to be considered when constructing underground shelters and military bunkers. Currently, however, there is a need for urban buildings and similar structures used consistently by the general public to withstand forces from nearby explosions. This need is due to the recent climb in terrorist attacks in urban or crowded environments. These attacks have used the lack of blast resistance in these buildings as a means for creating widespread havoc through detonating an improvised explosive device (IED). These devices range from explosives planted inside a structure to roadside or vehicular bombs. An urban environment causes even relatively small explosions to be extremely potent since their energy is reflected off of walls and other structural components, making the area over which the energy dissipates very concentrated (King 1346). Traditionally, methods for blast protection in buildings of high importance or bunkers consisted of increasing the cross-sectional area of columns and enhancing the ratio of reinforcement of structural members (Runlin 2866). These methods are ineffective in practical engineering, however, due to the other necessary aesthetic and functional aspects of urban buildings. Another traditional method for personnel protection was to build bomb shelters into these buildings. This method assumes, however, that an attack will be expected; terrorist attacks are typically unexpected. As a result, researchers of blast protection have turned their focus towards finding materials that can help prevent severe structural blast damage without affecting a structure’s aesthetics and/or purpose. Goals for Reducing Structure Damage The main reason for protecting ... ... middle of paper ... ....” Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering 36.8 (2009): 1345-1355. EBSCO. Web. 19 March 2014. Runlin, Yang and Guo Hai. “Experimental Study on Blast Resistant Structure With Composite Protection Layer.” Advanced Materials Research 250-253 (2011): 2866-2871. Knovel. Web. 12 March 2014. Toutlemonde, Francois and Jacques Resplendino. “Designing and Building with UHPFRC.” John Wiley & Sons (2013). Web. 19 March 2014. United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). “Preventing Structures from Collapsing.” Building and Infrastructure Protection Series 06 (2011). Web. 12 March 2014. Wu, C. “Research development on protection of structures against blast loading at University of Adelaide.” Australian Journal of Structural Engineering 13.1 (2012): 97-110. EBSCO. Web. 23 March 2014.

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