A Senate-approved authorization envisions more funding for polymer-composite-material antidotes to acts of terrorism.
``We expect [the proposals] to survive the conference'' with a House bill, said Tom Goldberg, GHL Inc. principal who is working on behalf of an ad hoc industry group known as the Coalition for Blast Mitigation Technology. The coalition supports funding for blast protection programs. GHL is a Washington-based government relations and marketing firm.
The Senate Armed Services Committee increased line items for structural response and blast mitigation research and development, counter-terrorist explosive research and the demonstration of nonintrusive inspection technologies. The likely solutions include using various laminates of carbon, aramid and glass fibers.
``The government seems to be doing its homework well,'' said Douglas Barno, market development director in Granville, Ohio, for the Composites Institute, a unit of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. of Washington.
Incidents such as the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Tower housing complex in Saudi Arabia ``highlighted the vulnerability of U.S. forces and the need for more adequate protection against these heinous acts of terrorism,'' the authorization said.
In addition to the Composites Institute, coalition members include AlliedSignal Corp.'s Spectra performance application group in Colonial Heights, Va.; Amoco Corp.'s Amoco Polymers unit in Alpharetta, Ga.; Cemcom Research Associates of Baltimore; Fiberite Corp. of Tempe, Ariz.; Weidlinger Associates Inc. of New York; and XXsys Technologies Inc. of San Diego.
A corollary initiative with the Army Corps of Engineers would increase structural performance and rehabilitate troop living conditions in Army buildings around the world, Barno said. Separate funding exists for this program.
The corps, in conjunction with the Composites Institute and Civil Engineering Research Laboratories, seeks cost-effective technology to strengthen the 190,000 buildings.
On the civilian side, Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and John Warner, R-Va., are developing a high-technology Transportation Department initiative with a focus on composite material infrastructure renewal and repair.
In addition, Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., is encouraging the establishment of a subcategory to move polymer matrix composites beyond R&D in the discretionary bridge program.