Bomb-proof lining contains explosion in luggage hold of aircraft

July 24, 2015

A bomb-proof lining developed by an international team of scientists, including academics from the University of Sheffield, has successfully contained blasts in a series of controlled explosions in the luggage hold of a Boeing 747 and an Airbus 321.

The Fly-Bag, which lines an aircraft's luggage hold with multiple layers of novel fabrics and composites, was tested under increasing explosive charges on disused planes at Cotswolds Airport, near Cirencester, this week.

Using this technology, the tests have demonstrated that a plane's luggage hold may be able to contain the force of an explosion should a device concealed within a passenger's luggage be detonated during a flight. This would mitigate damage to the plane and help keep passengers safe.

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.

"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 Dr Andy Tyas, of the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, who is leading the research at the University of Sheffield.

"This helps to ensure that the Fly-Bag acts as a membrane rather than as a rigid-walled container which might shatter on impact."

"We have extensively tested Fly-Bag prototypes at the University of Sheffield's blast-testing laboratory, but the purpose of these tests was to investigate how the concept works in the confines of a real aircraft and the results are extremely promising."

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.

A European consortium working on the Fly Bag project includes Blastech, a spin out company from the University of Sheffield, as well as partners from Greece, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands.

The technology could either be something that becomes compulsory for all airlines to use if the law was changed or could be used by airlines responding to particular threats.

It 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.
-end-
Notes for Editors

The University of Sheffield

With almost 26,000 of the brightest students from around 120 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world's leading universities.

A member of the UK's prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

In 2014 it was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education and in the last decade has won four Queen's Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom's intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

For further information, please visit http://www.sheffield.ac.uk

For further information please contact Hannah Postles, Media Relations Officer, on 0114 222 1046 or email h.postles@sheffield.ac.uk

For media inquiries out of hours, please call 07725 213702.

University of Sheffield

Related Technology Articles from Brightsurf:

December issue SLAS Technology features 'advances in technology to address COVID-19'
The December issue of SLAS Technology is a special collection featuring the cover article, ''Advances in Technology to Address COVID-19'' by editors Edward Kai-Hua Chow, Ph.D., (National University of Singapore), Pak Kin Wong, Ph.D., (The Pennsylvania State University, PA, USA) and Xianting Ding, Ph.D., (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China).

October issue SLAS Technology now available
The October issue of SLAS Technology features the cover article, 'Role of Digital Microfl-uidics in Enabling Access to Laboratory Automation and Making Biology Programmable' by Varun B.

Robot technology for everyone or only for the average person?
Robot technology is being used more and more in health rehabilitation and in working life.

Novel biomarker technology for cancer diagnostics
A new way of identifying cancer biomarkers has been developed by researchers at Lund University in Sweden.

Technology innovation for neurology
TU Graz researcher Francesco Greco has developed ultra-light tattoo electrodes that are hardly noticeable on the skin and make long-term measurements of brain activity cheaper and easier.

April's SLAS Technology is now available
April's Edition of SLAS Technology Features Cover Article, 'CURATE.AI: Optimizing Personalized Medicine with Artificial Intelligence'.

Technology in higher education: learning with it instead of from it
Technology has shifted the way that professors teach students in higher education.

Post-lithium technology
Next-generation batteries will probably see the replacement of lithium ions by more abundant and environmentally benign alkali metal or multivalent ions.

Rethinking the role of technology in the classroom
Introducing tablets and laptops to the classroom has certain educational virtues, according to Annahita Ball, an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, but her research suggests that tech has its limitations as well.

The science and technology of FAST
The Five hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), located in a radio quiet zone, with the targets (e.g., radio pulsars and neutron stars, galactic and extragalactic 21-cm HI emission).

Read More: Technology News and Technology Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.