"Lifesaving" might not be the first word you'd associate with wallpaper, but U.S. troops might soon be protecting their bunks with bombproof sheets of peel-and-stick plastic. The Army Corps of Engineers collaborated with Berry Plastics Corporation in Indiana to create X-Flex, a composite tape made from polyurethane reinforced with aramid, a heat-resistant fiber used in body armor. Soldiers simply slap the 1/5-inch-thick adhesive sheets to their walls, rendering them able to withstand shrapnel and small explosions.
The material also fights the elements—-it's moisture- and mold-resistant—-for optimum function in any climate. The Army will put X-Flex in the field this spring, and a commercial version could soon follow to strengthen homes against hurricanes or guard airplanes and chemical plants.