Scientists at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have developed a methodology to prevent the glass facades of iconic and historic buildings from collapsing if they are targeted by terrorists in a bomb. In a study published in the journal Engineering Failure Analysis, the team of Dr. Ruvanika Piyasen, Professor David Tambiratnam, Professor Tommy Chan, and Associate Professor Nimal Perera looked at the “best possible stress” on buildings built primarily of glass.
The new research went beyond previous work in this area. The scientists applied sophisticated adhesion analysis that not only takes into account how glass reacts to an explosion, but also simulates its source and takes into account the transmission of the shock wave.
“We simulated shock waves traveling through the air and then studied how they get into building structures,” explains Professor Tambiratnam.
The solution, detailed in the article, is to absorb the energy of the explosion with a shock-absorbing layer between the glass panels and reinforce the cable ties,
“The glass will definitely crack, but this layer holds the particles together,” emphasizes Professor Tambiratnam.
In fact, this study can be called innovative as it provided design guidelines for optimized explosion-proof cable-supported facades without any expensive external devices.
Double-walled facades are two glass shells separated by an air corridor. Ultimately, the double cladding function can be used as a retrofit method to convert existing conventional facades into blast-resistant facades.
The researchers specifically looked at facades, which are mainly used in hotel lobbies, shopping malls and airport terminals, which are not only glassy but can also attract terrorists.
Scientists examined case studies of real-life explosion scenarios and found that up to 90 percent of explosion-related injuries in bomb attacks were caused by flying glass and other debris from the facade.