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TCA Announces Completion of AFRL Research on Tilt-Up Wall Panels for Resistance to Blast Loading

TCA has announced the completion of all phases for research with the Air Force Research Laboratory. In conjunction with the Portland Cement Association (PCA), the wall tests series will define the resistance and failure mode of standard Department of Defense (DoD) compliant Tilt-Up concrete sandwich walls.

“Once this study is complete, the test results will provide researchers the necessary data to evaluate current static resistance function and dynamic performance limits for sandwich walls constructed using different types of insulation, wythe connections, levels of composite action and construction techniques,” said Jim Baty, technical director of TCA. “The goal of this program is to lead to new design documentation and engineering-level predictive tools for blast resistant sandwich concrete walls.”

For these tests, the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) provided oversight. The program was funded through a federal grant. Phase I involved the construction of full-thickness test strips for panels that were to undergo blast testing. The strips were constructed at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., at their remote test facility. Phase II involved the construction of full-scale test panels to be placed in test frames and exposed to a variety of explosive charges. These tests were performed this summer and fall at the blast testing range located at Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, Fla.

“The goal of the research program is to both evaluate the performance of standard insulated concrete sandwich walls against blast demands and develop models to more accurately predict the response,” said Clay Naito, Ph.D., P.E. and Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Lehigh University, as well TCA task leader for the AFRL research project. “With a focus on panels designed for standard service loads, such as wind, it was critical that the program represent current TCA construction practice. To accomplish this, we have partnered with well established TCA designers such as LJB, and contractors including Woodland Construction, Empire Construction and Summit Concrete. Without their assistance, the research program would not have been possible.”

Several firms have donated time and materials for these tests, including:

  • Engineering: LJB, Inc. (Phase I and II) TCA Member
  • Concrete: National Ready Mixed Association (NRMCA) (Phase II)
  • Reinforcing Steel: Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI) (Phase II)
  • Insulation and Connectors: Composite Technologies Corp. (Phase I and II) TCA Member
  • Panel Inserts and Accessories: Meadow Burke and White Cap (Phase I and II) TCA Member
  • Steel Embeds: Tincher’s Welding (Phase II)
  • Panel Construction: Woodland Construction and Empire Construction (Phase II) TCA Members
  • Concrete Accessories: Nuway, Goedecke (Phase I)
  • Concrete: Boone Quarries (Phase I)
  • Concrete Testing: Emery Sapp and Sons (Phase I)
  • Misc. Labor, Assistance: University of Missouri Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (Phase I)
  • Concrete Slab Construction: Septagon Construction (Phase I) TCA Member
  • Concrete panel Construction: Summit Concrete (Phase I) TCA Member

Results from the testing will be released when the Department of Defense declassifies the research results. For additional information, please contact Jim baty at 319-895-6911 or

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TILT-UP TODAY, a publication of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, is THE source for Tilt-Up industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the Tilt-Up industry. A subscription to TILT-UP TODAY is included in a TCA membership. Subscriptions for potential TCA members are also available. If you would like to receive a complimentary subscription to the publication, please contact the TCA.