Flood Sense, a supplier of residential, commercial and industrial flood protection products and services in the United Kingdom, was interested in a new kind of inflatable product that could be used to protect against flooding in homes and businesses. They wanted a textile protection system that could be deployed rapidly and stay inflated for as long as possible.
The company called on Lindstrand Technologies Ltd., a U.K.-based manufacturer of aerostats, airships, inflatable buildings and hot air balloons, to make a prototype. (Per Lindstrand was featured in the September 2015 issue of Review.) Lindstrand used double-wall fabrics and a jointing technique to create a 100 mm thick panel that can be inflated to high pressures, providing superior resistance to high water depths. The panel sits with a C-channel that can be incorporated into a doorway. Rollers fitted in the sides of the channel assist during inflation. The lower edge has a keder fitted to hold the panel down when submerged in water.
In a testing environment, the prototype panel was inflated to 15 psi, giving the impression of a solid panel. It achieved burst pressures in excess of 60 psi and demonstrated excellent air retention, staying near full pressure after two weeks. With these results, Flood Sense is ready to progress with further testing of the flood protection panel with the goal of developing full-production versions.