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Loading Dock Protection

Development of easily implemented blast protection for loading docks. Based on bonding thin sheath of composites to floor slab.

Street-level loading docks in existing buildings pose a security threat. The floor slab above the dock is usually reinforced with steel, but not on top, where it is needed to resist the uplift from an internal blast. Installing top-tension reinforcement in an existing slab is difficult and costly; it also adds weight to the overall structure. Weidlinger Associates proposed the elegantly simple solution of bonding a lightweight high-strength fiber composite material to the upper surface of the floor slab to protect loading docks from blast. The baseline comparison is to a slab reinforced at both top and bottom with steel, the norm for a new building designed for a loading dock explosion.

A government-sponsored grant paid for research and testing of six variations. Testing was conducted by the prime contractor, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. The research paid for itself the first time the composites were used in a retrofit, and the remedy was as easy as installing a rug.

Completion Date: 2004
Location: United States
Owner or Client: Combating Terrorism Technology Support Office/TSWG
Prime Consultant(s): WAI Prime; NM Institute of Mining and Technology

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