Customer: Air National Guard

The Challenge

The Air National Guard (ANG) contacted General Plastics as it explored rigid polyurethane foam solutions to munitions storage for its civil air defense facilities. In particular, it sought a cost-effective, nonflammable barrier solution for storage of Division 1.1 and 1.4 explosives in a smaller footprint to reduce costs. 

Key requirements included the following:

  • Material with no adverse burn characteristics
  • Material that would not emit toxic fumes or substances
  • A reliable container for sand ballast that would absorb blast wave energy and prevent the sympathetic detonation of adjacent explosive materials
  • A nonmetal barrier system to prevent fragmentation damage
  • The ability of the retainer system to maintain structural rigidity over time

LAST-A-FOAM® is Put to the Test 

The Air National Guard requested LAST-A-FOAM® FR-3700 material from General Plastics because of its known fire-retardant character and long product life. Based on the results of a blast energy study performed at Sandia National Laboratories, they selected our product with a density of 7 lbs. per cubic foot. This density of foam was shown to be optimal for blast energy absorption through foam destruction.

Additional testing was conducted by the Structures Laboratory of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center. A downsized BLAST-TAMER® prototype cubicle was constructed on-site and filled with sand to make the test as accurate as possible. A one-pound block of C-4 plastic explosive was placed next to the cubicle. The size of the explosive charge placed inside was scaled to the size of the cubicle to simulate a worst-case scenario. 


As intended, the blast fully destroyed the BLAST-TAMER® cubicle. In the process, the explosive force of the blast was partially absorbed, then deflected upward – away from the (theoretical) pile of explosive materials adjacent to the cubicle’s walls, preventing further explosions. In three different demonstrations of the system with the same 40-pound TNT charge in each, the block of C-4 did not sympathetically detonate, proving the effectiveness of the system.

Since 1994, General Plastics has supplied BLAST-TAMER® wall systems to five ANG units, with nine installations currently in place.

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