Airbeams: U.S. Army inflatable structures


The US Army has a softer, gentler side we rarely hear about. A place where "gettin' yerself blowed up" takes on new military meeting. Seems those Army boys have a Center of Excellence for Inflatable Composite Structure (no, really) who have been hard at work perfecting inflatable technology. 2 to 40-inches in diameter, "airbeams" are created by the continuous braiding or weaving of a high-strength fabric sleeve over an air-tight bladder (hehe, we said "bladder"). The seamless tubes can then be inflated using commercially available air compressors (as long as they're green) to different pressures based on your support needs. The fabric and airbeam technologies can be used to create inflatable ladders, fuel bladders <snicker>, parachute wings, and rapidly deployed aircraft hangars. Oh, and for hoisting white SUVs in urban gas price surrender.

[Thanks, Tim]