Bomb suit tests show advanced materials offer more protection and greater flexibility

Berks based Morgan Advanced Materials has recently completed independent testing of its Silverback 4020 Elite bomb disposal suit. The tests were conducted at the independently certified Ordnance Test Solutions facility at Faldingworth.

The suit uses a range of advanced polymers to enable the necessary blast protection, while allowing a wide range of mobility. The skin of the suit is made from Nomex, a flame-resistant meta-aramid material commonly used by bomb disposal experts and firefighters due to its blast and fire protection properties, and lightweight flexible construction.

The tests show the suit performed well against four life impacting aspects of a blast; flame immersion, high velocity fragment impact, blast pressure waves and ‘tertiary’ effects. Critical to survivability is reducing the impact of blast pressure waves, which alongside flames and fragments, have a devastating impact on internal organs.

The first blast test demonstrates the suit’s survivability when kneeling against 0.567kg of C4 explosive at 0.6m. The accompanying recorded video footage reveals that the suit provides a pressure reduction between 96.9% and 99.7%, achieving more than a 99% probability of survival.

Three further blast tests assess the suit’s survivability when facing a 1kg (2.20 lbs) C4 threat at 1m, a 2kg (4.41 lbs) C4 threat at 2m, and a 10kg (22.05 lbs) C4 threat at 3m. All three tests returned a survivability probability greater than 99%, with a pressure reduction between 98.1% and 98.5% for 1kg and 10kg blasts.

Chris Davies, technology director at Morgan Advanced Materials’ Composites and Defence Business, commented: “We are delighted with the survivability performance… The suit’s high performance levels have been achieved through years of blast materials research and development, combined with leading garment engineering to create a truly world class highly flexible bomb disposal suit.”

Justin Cunningham

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