Hardwire Steel-Belted Reinforcement Fibres Provide New Solution for Blast-Resistance Need

20 August 2004

Hardwire, LLC has announced that their proprietary high-tensile steel reinforcement products have been successfully implemented as solutions for structures and other infrastructure components seeking blast-resistance and blast-mitigation retrofit.

A family of reinforcements made from ultra-high strength twisted steel wire chords - 11 times stronger than a typical steel plate - Hardwire affords end-users the ability to easily reinforce the interior and/or the exterior of a structure, making it ideal for upgrades to steel, wood, or concrete structures in both new construction and retrofit applications. In building applications, Hardwire provides high strength (up to 8 kips/in) and high modulus (up to 30MM psi) in a very thin, ductile envelope.

A recent application is the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) facility in Washington, D.C. Performed by Structural Preservation Systems Inc. of Baltimore, Md., the blast-resistance retrofit solution was selected for its durability, economy and ease of use. Hardwire is being used in conjunction with carbon fibre for the upgrade project.

George C. Tunis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hardwire LLC, said fortifying facilities using the material in the design and installation of safe rooms is a natural extension of Hardwire.

""What makes Hardwire such a compelling material for blast-resistant needs is its low cost and immediate availability,"" said Tunis. ""Initial testing conducted with the U.S. Navy and the Army's Aberdeen Proving Grounds has shown that our composite reinforcements have the potential to provide superior ballistic- and explosion-resistance at new economics.""

Hardwire and the steel belts in tires are made from the same wire metallurgy. The innovative system uses high-strength steel wires twisted together to form reinforcing steel cords that are twice as strong as the cables holding up the Golden Gate Bridge. Hardwire works well with common construction materials so it does not require tremendous sophistication or training to use. In terms of meeting our nation's growing security demands, Hardwire has the following potential applications:

Retrofitting Key Building Structures for Shock/Explosion Resistance: Based upon successful application of Hardwire to strengthen structural members in government and commercial structures, the technology provides a solution for strengthening public infrastructure.

Fire-Proof Retrofit and Strengthening of Key Buildings and Structures: In addition to epoxy adhesives, Hardwire can be applied with cementitious-based adhesives. This enables structures to be upgraded to offer the necessary fire rating which is often a challenge with carbon-, glass- or aramid-fibre reinforced structures that require flammable epoxy-based formulations.

Blast-Resistant Wood Products: Development is underway with wood building materials and forest products companies to introduce Hardwire reinforced plywood materials in impact-sensitive applications such as scaffolding board and hurricane/tornado-resistant plywood.

Pipeline Protection and Upgrading: Concrete infrastructure and pipelines in corrosive service that require composite construction could be externally strengthened with retrofit layers of Hardwire in order to provide exterior protection to stress (both natural and man-made).

Unique Modular Ballistic Armour Systems: Hardwire testing has shown it to be an economical option to standard ballistic armour systems with equal performance.

According to Major General Norman Delbridge, U.S. Army Retired and a consultant to the engineering and construction community, the potential for Hardwire in military applications is tremendous.

""The ability of combat engineers to increase the strength of weakened or battle damaged bridge beams, floors and support columns to support combat vehicle loads in a matter of minutes or hours provides the tactical commander a heretofore unavailable advantage,"" said Delbridge. ""In the same manner, the capability of Hardwire to be moulded into 'battle boards' and plywood in any desired configuration provides a quick, easy and very inexpensive means to armour vehicle beds and siding and building walls, floors and ceilings against blast and small arms fire.""

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