London, July 27 (IANS) A novel bomb-proof lining has successfully contained blasts in a series of controlled explosions in the luggage hold of a Boeing 747 and an Airbus 321.
Researchers, including the team from University of Sheffield, demonstrated that a plane’s luggage hold can contain the force of an explosion should a device concealed within a passenger’s luggage be detonated during a flight.
The bomb-proof lining will mitigate damage to the plane and help keep passengers safe. The technology called Fly-Bag lines an aircraft’s luggage hold with multiple layers of novel fabrics and composites.
It was tested under increasing explosive charges on disused planes at Cotswolds Airport near Cirencester recently. The bomb-proof lining developed by an international team of scientists including researchers from University of Sheffield in Britain successfully contained blasts in a series of controlled explosions in the luggage hold of a Boeing 747 and an Airbus 321.
“The key to the concept is that the lining is flexible and this adds to its resilience when containing the explosive force and any fragments produced,” said Andy Tyas from the department of civil and structural engineering from the University of Sheffield in a statement.
This helps to ensure that the Fly-Bag acts as a membrane rather than as a rigid-walled container which might shatter on impact. Hardened luggage containers (HULD) have been developed to deal with bombs hidden in passenger luggage but these containers are heavier and more costly than conventional equivalents.
The technology has also been adapted for use in cabin holds within the plane if the airline crew spot something they think might be a threat and could be a risk to passengers, scientists said.
After the tests, explosives were placed in the aircraft without the lining to show the damage that could be caused.
Disasters such as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 drove the need for this kind of invention, as well as the incident in which a printer cartridge bomb was found on-board a cargo plane at East Midlands Airport in 2010.
Fundamental to the design of the bag is a combination of fabrics which have high strength and impact and heat resistance.
The fabrics include Aramid, which is used in ballistic body armour.