ARE THERE HAZARDS WITH USING POLYUREA COATINGS?

Recently, we were surprised to find that a company that sells blast-resistant structures presented an article concerning the potential risks of polyurea coatings when applied to blast-resistant structures. The material comprised factoids from three seemingly scientific studies, though the reviews were not referenced by name in the article. In short, the article appeared to question the sanctuary of using polyurea coatings on blast-resistant structures. THE HAZARDS OF POLYUREA COATING Our buildings are blast-resistant with or without polyurea. We're proud to say that our buildings have polyurea coatings, but those coatings have no bearing on the blast-resistance of our structures. Moreover, we don't make any claims that polyurea is put on the buildings to affect the blast-resistance. WHAT IS POLYUREA? Polyurea is a highly flexible elastomer. It's commonly used in the consumer world as a lining for truck beds, and has many industrial uses, like as a coating or lining for steel pipes and tanks to protect from corrosion, as a roof coating to give reflectivity and a cooling effect, and as a containment arrangement in marine and aquarium designs, just to name a few. It can be used, as the article declared, to enhance the blast-resistance of masonry surfaces. However, we use it on our blast-resistant modular steel buildings, not for blast-resistance, but because it is a very resilient coating. Our buildings are made to be moved around, and they're placed in areas with the harshest conditions, so it's essential that they can take a beating. The resilient coating also shields the structure from corrosion. WHAT ABOUT THOSE STUDIES ON POLYUREA AND BLAST-RESISTANCE? Our technicians find those studies to be unclear at best, with both positive and adverse findings. The reference tests that were done on steel plates of varying thickness, similar to what you might find on the corrugated walls of a BRB. Moreover, unfortunately, there are no industry figures for blast-resistance. (In our white paper, The Next Step in the Evolution of Blast-Resistant Buildings, we acknowledge the need for industry models.) When it comes to blast-resistance, we're all about structure. The structural integrity of a building's design is the most important factor in blast protection. The wall panels are essential, but our blast test reveals that the fundamental framework is what holds things together in the event of a blast. When the structure itself has redundancies built into the walls and roof, like the close spacing of the wall studs, the outer coating won't have any bearing on structural integrity. However, if the structure has more full spaced studs and relies primarily on the corrugated steel of the walls rather than the skeletal structure of the device, then it is possible that something like polyurea could affect blast-resistance. This shows the significance of selecting a BRB with firmly placed beams in the framework of the design. To sum up, one cannot conclude the polyurea harms the blast performance of all blast-resistant modular structures.

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