It's a Blast: Facility in Texas Provides Full Scale State of the Art Testing

The commercial blast testing facility HTL West, in Lubbock, Texas, celebrated its first anniversary in October. HTL West is one of the sites in the United States where manufacturers, architects and others can witness full-scale arena blast testing of glazing products. The facility specializes in blast resistant testing for glazing systems, used for new construction and retrofit applications under full-scale blast loading.

The Texas facility, one of three operated by HTL, headquartered in Rivera Beach, Fla., offers a remote location for blast testing, 45 minutes from the Lubbock International airport.

"This enables our clients to witness the tests personally, without a major disruption to their schedules," says Steven Samuels, manager of the Lubbock facility.

"We offer full scale arena blast testing instead of just shock tube testing," says Samuels. "Our clients prefer full scale testing because they have access to more data and the reliability of a real explosion. We can capture better video, and record data generated from the negative phase of the explosion."

The Lubbock facility offers a high security-testing environment, which is critical to the security of most government projects.

"There is only one road into the test arena, so we are able to ensure only authorized persons enter the test site," says Samuels.

September 11 provided the impetus for the opening of the new blast facility, according Vinu Abraham, general manager of HTL's headquarters in Riviera Beach, Florida, which specializes in hurricane testing. "Until then we were focused primarily on hurricane testing, and opening another hurricane test facility in Atlanta. But 9/11 changed all that."

The Texas facility capabilities include, but are not limited to, testing to ASTM-F1642, GSA (General Services Administration), and the UFC (Unified Facilities Criteria). The facility currently has four single span blast reaction chambers and one twin span blast reaction chamber. Dimensions vary, and each chamber can accommodate most types of glazing configurations.

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