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The Military Technology

Iran's Smart Concrete Can Cope With Earthquakes and Bombs 609

PolygamousRanchKid writes "Iran is an earthquake zone, so its engineers have developed some of the toughest building materials in the world. Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) could also be used to protect hidden nuclear installations from the artificial equivalent of small earthquakes, namely bunker-busting bombs. UHPC is based—like its quotidian cousins—on sand and cement. In addition, though, it is doped with powdered quartz (the pure stuff, rather than the tainted variety that makes up most sand) and various reinforcing metals and fibers. UHPC can withstand more compression than other forms of concrete. UHPC is also more flexible and durable than conventional concrete. It can therefore be used to make lighter and more slender structures. All of which is fine and dandy for safer dams and better sewers, which threaten no one. But UHPC's potential military applications are more intriguing—and for many, more worrying. Deep bunkers can be tackled in other ways. America's Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has looked at what is known in the jargon as functional defeat, in other words bombing their entrances shut or destroying their electrical systems with electromagnetic pulses. They are also working on active penetrators—bombs which can tunnel through hundreds of meters of earth, rock and concrete. Development work is also under way on esoteric devices such as robot snakes, carrying warheads, which can infiltrate via air ducts and cable runs."
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Iran's Smart Concrete Can Cope With Earthquakes and Bombs

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2012 @12:04AM (#39244125)

    ...brought to you by "the department of give-us-more-tax-dollars."

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2012 @12:19AM (#39244199)

      In breaking news, man confronted with baseball bat puts his hands up to fend himself. This is a clear indicator that proves the man was intent on violence.

      Seriously? these old wankers feeding us this bullshit don't understand that the internet never forgets their lies and many of us have clued into wtf is going on?

      • Back in 2003 ... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Monday March 05, 2012 @01:24AM (#39244605) Journal

        Back in 2003, an Iranian student, with the help of a professor from Iran, won the first prize in a competition organized by the American Concrete Institute

        For more info, look into this page ---> http://www.concrete.org/STUDENTS/st_concreteprojects03_winners.htm [concrete.org]

        About the prize winning concrete ?

        It has been used for building Iran's underground bunkers, which house Iran's nuclear facilities

        • Re:Back in 2003 ... (Score:5, Informative)

          by mug funky ( 910186 ) on Monday March 05, 2012 @01:55AM (#39244717)


      • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Monday March 05, 2012 @02:21AM (#39244841) Homepage

        Yes, making earthquake surviving concrete is obviously an offensive move, whereas making weapons designed to destroy such concrete is merely self-defense.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jimbolauski ( 882977 )

          Yes, making earthquake surviving concrete is obviously an offensive move, whereas making weapons designed to destroy such concrete is merely self-defense.

          Just like the missile defense system was merely for defense, one could argue that the bomb itself was a very good deterrent, as long as both sides fear MAD. Iran's real problem is that with it's fanatical rhetoric MAD appears not to be a deterrent, then again they could be acting that way because they feel cornered. Iran's true intentions are very hard to read, there have been signs that they are trying to build a nuclear weapons but no concrete evidence. New intelligence has shown they have paused their

    • Hush. We need to resell the DoD on the SDI program, then give them a mutually exclusive choice between a giant fr*cking laser in the sky, or more drones / the continued support & maintenance thereof.

      It will give them something constructive to do (what superpower doesn't need an orbiting weapons platform?), and buy us a few more years without fleets of drones patrolling the homeland (yay liberty). If we point out that the giant laser will probably never be built, but will keep their R&D / jobs progra

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2012 @12:10AM (#39244151)

    capable of withstanding repeated ballistic impacts: Many engineers are seen with iPads doing structural-ballistic simulations involving various geometries made of wood, ice and stone, and green "test animals", whose survival indicates the durability of said structures.

  • Dear americans (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2012 @12:14AM (#39244175)
    Hey, you war-mongering assholes, fuck off and stop trying to justify your next mass-murder. If you start this war, the blood is all on your hands, just like the last one was.
    • Re:Dear americans (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Monday March 05, 2012 @12:26AM (#39244247) Homepage Journal
      As a red-blooded American who served in the military and comes from a family who also did(mother served in army, father served in Marines and saw action in Vietnam, Grandfather who was bomber aircrew during WWII, uncle served in USAF), I endorse your comment wholeheartedly.

      I know the Slashdot leadership and a good majority of their chickenhawk wannabe-military fanboy readership subscribe to Judeo-Christian beliefs about being in the moral right as nation-builders, but if you're gonna tacitly encourage war with Iran, then enlist, pick up a fuckin' gun, and go shoot yerselves some strangers. See your buddies turned into hamburger and shuttled back into the states to live their lives as disfigured vegetable abominations, and you can become a nonfunctional drug-addicted alcoholic having to cope with those horrors for life. There are laws to reward employers for hiring veterans, but all it takes is one flashback flipout to make even the most patriotic employer reexamine their hiring decisions. Kids can't even afford school because that money went to some glorified security guard being paid $300,000 a year.

      If you're gonna go big, then at least do it right - indiscriminately carpet-bomb the entire Middle East, including Israel.
  • Bias (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SwedishPenguin ( 1035756 ) on Monday March 05, 2012 @12:25AM (#39244239)

    So, just because this "high performance" concrete was developed in Iran, it has dangerous military applications? Dangerous as in able to withstand US bombs? Should we start banning defensive technologies in order to make it easier for the US to invade?
    If this was developed in any other nation, "military applications" would never have been mentioned.

    Please don't fall for the fearmongering, Iran is not going to attack anyone, they know very well they would be instantly overrun. This is Iraq all over again.

    As an aside, while I very much object to anyone including the US having nuclear weapons, I can't really see why Iran having them - if they indeed do - is a problem while Israel having them is not, a country that has constantly refused to sign the non-proliferation treaty and employs an Apartheid-like policy towards Palestinians.

    • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

      This is Iraq all over again.

      We need to keep saying this over and over again. All I see in the news is Iran, Iran, Newt Gingrich, and then some more Iran followed by a delightful yogurt commercial starring Jamie Lee Curtis.

      But seriously, this is the exact sort of build-up they're trying to go for.

      They say the military is always fighting the last war. I think the government is the same way. After 9/11, this probably would have worked. The vast majority of us were shaken with fear and about as pliable as a politician's moral code. They'r

  • by GNUALMAFUERTE ( 697061 ) <almafuerte&gmail,com> on Monday March 05, 2012 @12:30AM (#39244261)

    Iran is a very religious country, so is the US. Muslims want to kill Christians, Christians want to kill Muslims. Iran has corrupt leaders, that allow their people to suffer hunger, poor health care and bad education in order to spend millions in armament, this is also true about the US. It's also true that Iran is a fairly small country with few resources, while the US is a huge country and the most resourceful on the planet, and while Iran has failed in most military operations it has attempted, the US has succeeded. Iran is trying to get some nuclear weapons, the US is the only country to have ever used them on a civilian population. Currently Iran has no nuclear weapons, while the US has thousands. Iran is not currently at war, while the US has been consistently starting wars every year for 200 years.

    And yet, when the US develops a new weapon, a new fighter, a new bomb, a new droid, or any other military advancement and clearly plans to use it soon at war, it's praised for its technological achievement. But when Iran develops a new construction technology, that has tens of applications, one of them, defense, then it's something we should be worried about and it makes Iran evil, and we should ask the glorious united states of america to destroy them real soon.

    Fuck that bullshit, your western christian theocracy is no better than the eastern muslim theocracies, and just as crazy, delusional and violent.

  • Smart? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Monday March 05, 2012 @12:34AM (#39244285)

    Putting aside the obvious political flamebait, are we really now at a point where anything that's been at all updated since the 1950s is considered "smart"? The term makes sense for things that have a microcontroller added to them, but that's not the case here. This concrete isn't any smarter than my toothbrush.

  • Could we stop the comments on abstract issues and just stick to the concrete one.

  • by Blaskowicz ( 634489 ) on Monday March 05, 2012 @01:56AM (#39244721)

    Iran needs everything it can to defends itself. note that the puppet EU organization has collaborated with the pro-war activists (i.e. criminals responsible for Iraq) again in this issue. the oil and central banking sanctions are a disgrace. we shouldn't be attacking a country like that. fuck that EU which is turning its constituent countries into financial dictatorships. fuck NATO, the umbrella puppet of the US military forces.

    I could write something better, but I'm tired and this is slashdot.

  • by trims ( 10010 ) on Monday March 05, 2012 @01:58AM (#39244727) Homepage

    Pretty much everyone has known for quite awhile how to make super-hard concrete. Both the USA and USSR used it to make missile silo covers in the 1950s, and improvements on that recipe gave us silos able to withstand 2000 psi in the 70s. The recipes aren't difficult for UHPC - it's really a quality-control issue with just a little tinkering to get the recipe and pour right.

    The new interesting concretes are not for hardness, but flexibility. Only a moron would use quartz for this kind of application - synthetic fibers in the mix seem to be the way to go, with some change in the types and geometrics of gravel used as the aggregate (including replacing it with funky star-cut composites). To earthquake resistance, you don't want a more rigid (and hard) concrete, you want one which will flex without cracking.

    I don't doubt that Iran has been using the super-hard stuff for various military facilities, though I doubt they've got the good quality-control needed to have the 2000 psi stuff done right. Still, 500 psi stuff (5x better than 'average') is Good Enough for most things. I also wouldn't be surprised if they're trying to get into the more advanced flex-crete business, though I seriously doubt they've got the materials science industry to make serious headway on that.

    And, the primary problem with Iran having a bomb isn't having them use it on Israel. Or the Saudis, or anyone else. Nope, Iran itself wouldn't actually use it one anyone; rather, it's the decent probability that they might just "loan" or "lose" one to one of the myriad of truly crazy real terrorist organizations they sponsor. Those people will use it on someone. That's been the big issue with the Pakistani nukes for two decades - not so much that Pakistan might nuke someone (even India), but that the lax controls the Pakistanis have on their nukes might result in one or more of them going walkabout. That risk is even bigger with Iran, and something I don't think can be tolerated.

    That said, the current path of sanctions and diplomacy to get the Iranian leadership on-board with IAEA inspections again and giving up the weaponization programs (which are in low-gear, not overdrive) seems to be working fine. There's no need to bomb anyone at this point. We're a couple of years away from really having to do that, at the worst-case scenario. So the Israelis need to just shut their mouths again, and recognize that the USA and Israel's best interest (not to mention the Saudis, Turks, and most of the region's) interests are all aligned here with making sure that Iran doesn't actually get the bomb.


    • by jlar ( 584848 )

      "Nope, Iran itself wouldn't actually use it one anyone; rather, it's the decent probability that they might just "loan" or "lose" one to one of the myriad of truly crazy real terrorist organizations they sponsor. Those people will use it on someone."

      It is easy to analyze post mortem where the fissile material in a nuclear bomb originates. So countering the "nuclear bomb in terrorist hands" scenario can be as simple as adopting a doctrine of "nuclear material origin responsibility" and retaliate in kind agai

  • by SalsaDoom ( 14830 ) on Monday March 05, 2012 @01:59AM (#39244737) Journal

    Now cement is dangerous? "experts" are worried!

    OK, Iran is an evil sexist country with a lot of political problems being handled poorly. Not a country I'd ever live in.

    But guys? Can you really afford another war? You hardly finished in Iraq - you'll be doing it again in twenty years. You're doing worse in Afghanistan!

    Let them have the damn cement, it sounds like they could really use it anyway. So could we, actually.

    Just let this one go, try to devise a long term plan to improve relations over time - its has to be cheaper and frankly couldn't be worst then ranting about ways you'll kill them even if they do hide in these possible bunkers.

    Its a bit insane sounding. Imagine being from Iran reading these paranoid threats?

    Canadian for the record, but we are generally loyal to even our loud, obnoxious, untrustworthy friends to the south.

  • Iran vs. US (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iONiUM ( 530420 ) on Monday March 05, 2012 @02:29AM (#39244879) Journal

    As some comments above have pointed out, the media as of late (well, probably always) has taken a really bias view of this Iran vs. US thing, to the point that.. I don't really know what to think.

    In my quest to find less bias opinions, I turned to al-jazeera and other arab news sources to view comments from those who refer to Isreal as the "evil zionist regime." While many comments were ludicrous (but perhaps no more ludicrous than pro-US comments on CNN or something), there were many who pointed out that the US and Isreal have been known to carry out assassinations in Iran and other countries with basic impunity.

    The question posed was, if Iran assassinated a scientist or politician in the United States, what kind of blow-back would there be? Why is the US/Isreal allowed to carry these out events without any world condemnation?

    It's a difficult topic, because as much as I believe the US is going about things in the wrong way, if there's going to be someone who is the "world police" and the global power, I would prefer the US to any other country. Yet, it is clearly shielding the public from the double-standards it holds. Why does nobody else (general public) notice this? It's weird.

    • by ThorGod ( 456163 )

      It's a difficult topic, because as much as I believe the US is going about things in the wrong way, if there's going to be someone who is the "world police" and the global power, I would prefer the US to any other country. Yet, it is clearly shielding the public from the double-standards it holds. Why does nobody else (general public) notice this? It's weird.

      How is it a difficult topic? The US has its incentives (oil, perhaps other/more vague incentives), Israel have theirs (a fight for their very existence), and Iran has theirs (fight for their existence). The US helped create Israel after one of the world wars (IIRC) and, for whatever reason, has managed to keep a decent relationship with Israel across time. The US media are only going to view things from their perspective. Same with Iranian media. The difference is they're in an unwritten law (the two with t

  • by seyyah ( 986027 ) on Monday March 05, 2012 @04:46AM (#39245401)

    The Onion's irreverent piece: Iran Worried U.S. Might Be Building 8,500th Nuclear Weapon [theonion.com].

The absent ones are always at fault.