Construction News

Tue September 28 2021

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Super tensile building block to counter terror attacks

2 Nov 18 Tarmac has produced a new building block that is claimed to have unrivalled blast protection qualities.

A pair of BBX blocks
A pair of BBX blocks

BBX is a construction system that provides dual protection against blast and ballistic threat, uniquely achieving C15 blast resistance and BR7 ballistic resistance.

The BBX block system is similar to concrete blocks, composed of cement and fine aggregates, but with a difference, using bespoke materials instead of stone aggregate as part of the mix. This material provides the block with substantial tensile capacity and vastly increased shear modulus, allowing the product to flex under force and dissipate the energy of a bullet and blast overpressure and preventing internal spalling.

Due to its elastic properties, BBX can return to its original shape and preserve its structural integrity.

When compared to reinforced concrete and other equivalent blast or ballistic related materials, the BBX blocks are the same weight as a normal solid dense concrete block, and can be installed using traditional methods, incorporating their thin joint system.

Tarmac Building Products has developed the BBX blocks in partnership with RWS Ltd, which has worked on embassies, Ministry of Defence and other public sector buildings around the world, designing, manufacturing and installing blast and ballistic product systems.

RWS and Tarmac says that it is the first and only product of its kind but, despite its capabilities, BBX is installed using normal construction methods.

They say that BBX meets the C15 blast protection category and the BR7 ballistic category, as well as preventing projectile penetration and spalling – a key danger to building occupants and equipment, which, up to now, has proven difficult to neutralise using singular construction systems.

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RWS projects director Stewart Liberatore said: “The BBX system truly is ground-breaking. We have worked with and installed products with either excellent ballistic or blast protection capabilities, but never both – it wasn’t believed to be possible.”

Tarmac Building Products head of new product development Paul Beswick added: “BBX means for the first time we are able to use a single solution to terrorism and other armed threats.  The system uses standard construction methods – this means building design is not negatively impacted and constructions costs can be kept down because the installation is both straightforward and time-efficient.”

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Pictured above is a generic guardhouse built using 440 x 215 x 140 mm BBX block laid flat and in broken bond configuration.

Pictured below is a BBX wall after being fired at with 30mm Rarden cannon shells fired from a Warrior IFV F510. The photograph shows the three rounds fired into each of the three target areas at the wall, with no penetration.

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