Pulp Magic

MAY 27, 2015

Could Wallpaper Help Protect Soldiers?

Memorial Day reminds us of the sacrifices that tens of thousands of American soldiers have made to protect this country. It also challenges us to do all we can to protect those soldiers from danger. That’s why a brief item from the BBC caught my attention.

It seems the US Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) has developed a kind of “blast-proof” wallpaper that can shield combatants under attack. The paper comes in sticky rolls lined with Kevlar fibers and can be carried by troops into battle. It’s then hung in temporary buildings to reinforce the walls.   In the event of an explosion, the lining reduces the amount of debris sent flying at the buildings occupants.

“Without the wallpaper, a wall that is hit will ‘rubblize’ sending shards of rock and mortar flying at the occupants inside,” says Nick Boone of the ERDC. “When the blast occurs with the wallpaper installed, it acts as a catcher’s net containing the rubble and preventing debris from injuring soldiers.”

Can paper really save lives? I certainly hope so. The wallpaper is still in the research and development stage, and does not have an official name, however; the versatility and resilience of paper strongly suggests that nearly anything is possible.

Photo: Nick Boone holds a sample of ballistic wallpaper. Credit: ERDC