Clear laminates are bomb-proof

Paul Boughton

Amid heightened concerns about personal protection and security from both natural and human threats, GE Advanced Materials is expanding its line of safety and security products with three new transparent armour laminates for glazing applications: Armorgard, Suregard, and Lexgard.

These laminates are targeted at applications ranging from buildings, guardhouses, armoured vehicles and detention centres, to schools, banks and critical infrastructure such as power plants, government buildings, and embassies. They deliver exceptional heat and impact resistance, along with outstanding energy absorption, low weight, and anti-spall (the spray of glass fragments) properties.

The new GE glazing products meet widely recognised standards - such as ASTM, UL, HP White, NIJ, and European standards EN 356, DIN 52290 Part 3, EN 1063, and DIN 52290 Part 2 - and may provide protection against many of the overpressures and fragments associated with explosions. They have been tested to absorb up to 393 kPa (57psi) – which is the equivalent of 1950 kg (4300lb) of TNT detonated from 35m (115 feet) away – and may withstand gunfire from weapons ranging from 9mm handguns to 7.62mm NATO high-powered rifles.

“With the many different security concerns facing us today, GE recognised that one type of armour glazing was not enough,” says Michael DiFucci, GE industry manager, building security and infrastructure. “Our three new laminates have been engineered to help defend buildings – and their occupants – against ballistics, forced entry, and bomb blast. Together with Lexan Margard sheet, these products can help provide greater safety, protection, and peace of mind in a wide range of threatening situations.”

GE's Armorgard laminated glass and PC sheet grades may help provide a highly effective barrier against a variety of ballistic assaults without spalling on the protected interior surface. They meet the full requirements of UL752 up to Level 8 and are available in no-spall and low spall designs. No-spall designs feature an exterior glass (threat side) surface with a Margard sheet interior (safe side) surface for increased UV and mar resistance, while the low-spall version provides glass on both interior and exterior surfaces and are designed to help stop bullet penetration.

Designed to help withstand impact from implements ranging from hammers and axes to propane torches and fire extinguishers, GE’s Suregard glass-clad PC laminate is targeted primarily at protection against smash-and-grab raids. This product is designed to protect an opening where forced entry/exit is of main concern. Suregard laminate combines the excellent aesthetics of glass with the forced entry protection of a Lexan polycarbonate core and can be formed into curved shapes. In detention facilities, for example, curved glazing can improve monitoring by eliminating blind spots and restricted viewing caused by metal bars.

GE’s Lexgard laminates can help provide ballistic, bomb blast, and forced entry protection. Constructed from Lexan PC sheet layers bonded with proprietary interlayers, these glass-free laminates offer extremely high impact resistance and absorb impact energy without spalling. They also provide significant weight savings over conventional glazing. Lexgard laminates are protected against abrasion, chemicals, and UV light by Margard sheet coating. They are suitable for flat applications only.

In addition to these new products, GE Advanced Materials’ Lexan Margard sheet can be an excellent candidate for security glazing to help prevent burglary from forced entry. It may help delay a burglar to the point where he/she simply gives up the attempt or is detected. Either way, it helps protect premises and property, and re-glazing costs may be eliminated. Safety glazing Lexan Margard sheet will not shatter or splinter, greatly reducing the risk of accidental injury in applications like internal partitions and doors. Lexan Margard sheet is also an excellent candidate for safety screening in sports stadiums and other outdoor applications like acoustic screens for deflection of traffic noise in built-up areas.

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