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Bomb-Proof Buildings and Ageless Bridges

A duct tape-wallpaper hybrid could provide a better, less expensive way to preserve infrastructure.

A team of scientists from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University recently unveiled a new type of material that could be used to strengthen building supports and foundations. Using the wrap could potentially make structures, including bridges, more resistant to deterioration – from both natural causes like age, as well as more traumatic events like bombings for earthquakes. 

FasRaP — short for Fast Wrapping Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) — was created by mixing commercially available glass fibers with a proprietary glue-like resin. The end result is a wrapping material that could provide a simple and cost-effective solution to aging infrastructure or in geographies subject to natural and man-made disasters. 

Initial blast testing showed FasRaP walls were left undamaged in conditions that decimated normal concrete barriers. Additionally, load testing revealed fracturing levels that were improved by more than 230 percent after FasRaP was applied. The resin hardens only when exposed to light, simplifying application and allowing for it to be used either on site as an upgrade, or before wall and foundation installation. It can also be applied directly to the structure’s surface. 

Both factors could help reduce the time and number of workers needed in helping control costs, which can be a primary factor leading to the delay of so many infrastructure projects. Next steps for the team are finding suitable test applications as they work to make FasRaP commercially viable.

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