X-Flex Blast Protection System (Video)
X-Flex is a new kind of wallpaper: one that’s quite possibly stronger than the wall it’s on. Invented by Berry Plastics in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this lifesaving adhesive is designed for use anyplace that’s prone to blasts and other lethal forces, like in war or natural-disaster zones, chemical plants or airports. To keep a shelter’s walls from collapsing in an explosion and to contain all the flying debris, you simply peel off the wallpaper’s sticky backing, apply the rollable sheets to the inside of brick or cinder-block walls, and reinforce it with fasteners at the edges. Covering an entire room can take less than an hour.
X-Flex bonds so tightly, it helps walls keep their shape after blast waves. Two layers are strong enough to stop a blunt object, like a flying 2×4, from knocking down drywall. During our tests, just a single layer kept a wrecking ball from smashing through a brick wall. The wallpaper’s strength and ductility is derived from a layer of Kevlar-like material sandwiched by sheets of elastic polymer wrap. The combination works so well that the Army is now considering wallpapering bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Civilians could soon start remodeling too—Berry Plastics plans to develop a commercial version next year.