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Our Blast Testing Database

Here at TotalShield, we take pride in providing quality blast-shielding products and shield solutions that you can rely on and trust to provide adequate containment in a failure scenario. But how do we know that a shield room, mobile barrier, mobile enclosure, small benchtop box, or shield blanket will work for your specific application? 

Over the last 20 years, TotalShield has compiled an impact and blast testing results database. This database allows our engineers to analyze and compare our customer’s specific parameters to determine what level of protection is required for their business application. 

Keep reading to learn more about TotalShield’s blast testing database.

Determining Your Shielding Product Specifications

When choosing the appropriate material for containment, several factors need to be considered.

There is a wide range of materials used in the market that provide a varying level of safety.

We utilize transparent polycarbonate sheets and Kevlar aramid fiber fabric, as they are superior materials for impact and blast resistance. These materials are available in a range of thicknesses and weaves that vary in capability. 

To determine the thickness of the polycarbonate or the number of Kevlar layers required, the operation or test parameters needed may include such details as

  • pressurized volume
  • hydrostatic or pneumatic psi
  • rotational speed
  • explosive equivalent
  • overpressure level
  • size
  • mass
  • velocity of potential projectiles, among others.

These parameters are utilized to determine where the specific mass, velocities, or overpressure falls within the impact and blast testing results of our database for the varying thicknesses of polycarbonate and Kevlar layers needed to provide containment. 

Our blast test database provides many data points that polycarbonate and Kevlar fabric have been tested to withstand and/or provide a known point of failure. This allows us to design and fabricate impact-resistant reliable products without having to build a prototype and perform a test for each failure scenario.

When determining a failure scenario of a specific operation, we always focus on the most likely worst-case failure scenario. By doing so, our customers have the confidence that the shielding product provided will contain the worst-case failure and all lesser failures. 

How our Blast-Testing Database was Created

Our database includes test results from proprietary testing performed for TotalShield at the Southwest Research Institute and testing results that other institutions performed. All of the tests were performed on various thicknesses of polycarbonate and layers of Kevlar with a variety of projectiles in different sizes, masses, and velocities. 

Why do we need such a large range of data points?

In short, the size of the projectile matters as much as the speed it is traveling upon release. Large projectiles, such as an 8” diameter blank flange weighing approximately 50 pounds, will cause a global effect upon impact with the polycarbonate. 

This means that the polycarbonate will deflect and continue to move within the framing until the energy is transferred to the framing itself and dissipated through this movement. The deflection of polycarbonate can be seen in the following TotalShield high-speed test video of a 32-pound projectile traveling at 85 feet per second, impacting the center of a 4 ft by 8 ft shield panel. 

As you see, the entire polycarbonate surface moves back and forth in the framing until the energy dissipates.

The larger projectile velocity will also affect how much impact energy the polycarbonate will see. 

Polycarbonate sheet after a ballistic test. Photo by Plaskolite. 

For example, a smaller projectile such as a 9mm bullet can weigh as little as 7.45 grams and travel from 900 ft/sec. up to 1500 ft/sec. generating a localized effect upon impact. This will result in minimal deflection and movement of the polycarbonate compared to the larger projectile and will have a much higher risk of penetration at the point of contact. 

This image shows bullet strikes in polycarbonate. The polycarbonate captured the bullets as they penetrated the plastic at the strike point.

In addition to impact test data, we also have test data for blast and overpressure release. This real-time TotalShield video shows an actual blast test of several polycarbonate thicknesses. 

This test was created to simulate a failure at a water treatment plant. The shielding was not only designed to mitigate the blast wave but also contain shrapnel from the machine parts that house the daily hazardous operation. This shielding safely allows the operator access to the machine controls while the equipment is in operation.  

As you can see from these examples, the operation and test parameters are important in determining adequate impact protection. It also demonstrates how our database can assist in determining that our blast-resistant products will perform adequately under a wide range of scenarios. 

Creating New Blast Testings

While our testing database is comprehensive, outlier failure scenarios can and do occur that fall outside the scope of our current testing. When this occurs, TotalShield will assist in

  • developing a test plan
  • managing the testing at a third-party test facility
  • designing and proposing shielding solutions
  • fabricating prototypes for testing
  • and providing a final report of the testing procedure and results. 

When it comes to safety, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to ballistic shielding and blast protection.  Each of our blast shield products is custom manufactured for your unique use case, guaranteeing that the product we’ve designed will meet your requirements and keep your people safe from harm. 

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