Co.Design

Iran Develops Fancy Concrete To Protect Nuke Sites From Getting Bombed

Super-duper concrete becomes the latest little salvo in the diplomatic posturing around Iran’s nuclear-arms program.

Iran has joined the concrete arms race. According to Press TV, an Iranian state-run news network, the country developed new “ultra-high performance concrete” that counts “among the toughest and most rigid building materials in the world.”

The concrete is made of quartz powder and "special fibers" that can "withstand higher pressure with increased rigidity," the article says. This is supposedly intended for non-violent purposes:


Due to its combination, the new Iranian-made concrete is an excellent building material with peaceful applications like the construction of safer bridges, dams, tunnels, increasing the strength of sewage pipes, and even absorbing pollution.

But then the article chimes in with a warning, in case the game wasn’t clear enough:


…[L]ike any dual-use technologies that carry both civilian and military applications, the UHPC can also be used to protect underground facilities from bombardment, which could pose a real headache for military endeavors into Iran.

So just kidding! It’s totally for violent purposes. Iran is essentially telling Israel and the U.S.: Don’t bomb us, it won’t even work anyway! Especially not with this awesome new stuff we have. You’re better off continuing to negotiate with us.

A little context: The United States, Israel, and other allies have been bobbing and weaving with Iran over its nuclear ambitions for years now. In the latest round, Israel signaled, alarmingly, that it might preemptively attack Iran’s nuclear sites (which, also alarmingly, have been disappearing into underground bunkers). That was in February. Now suddenly comes news that Iran has invented an advanced type of concrete that forms a sort of supernatural energy shield around said sites.

Without knowing the scientific particulars here--what the “special fibers” are, for instance--we have no way of knowing if the concrete is as indestructible as Iran claims. But we do know that the nation loves posturing about its technological advances perhaps even more than we do. If, as some believe, the ramp-up with Iran is nothing but a series of feints and counterfeints, all with the goal of gaining diplomatic leverage, then it won’t be long before we hear of a supernatural missile that can penetrate Iran’s supernatural concrete.

This is what diplomacy is, in the high-tech era: two countries glowering and wiggling their fancy weapons at each other like a couple teenagers playing Magic at the lunch table.

[H/t Archinect]

[Image: Travis Manley/Shutterstock]

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26 Comments

  • Lord Byng

    Clearly the Pentagon must begin a crash program to match Iranian advances in concrete. We must not allow a concrete gap! *

    *Apologies to those not familiar with either the elections of 1960 or 1968 or 1980, or the movie "Dr. Strangelove".

  • Leland Williams Jr.

    Suzanne ... your article reminds me of the 1960's when as a kid, I was taught where the bomb shelter was.  Since it is  your turn to run the world, what do you propose to do after Iran goes Nuke like North Korea has?  The Ostrich when it's frightened puts it's head in the ground and prays.  However, this leaves it's hind end exposed.  Without an idea and a policy to deal with Iran, Islamic Blackmail is on the way.
    D

  • ValoKolone

    The problem with Afghanistan and Iraq is they are fighting a rat and mouse kind of war.That's not "MAN" kind of war, when you go to war and hide amongs the women and children or dig bunkers in the mountains and hide, it is not classic  you need to be more of an opponent openly instead of seek and hide. "Man War" is face to face in an open field, like they do in WWI and WWII.

    The ideology of war recently has changed, from enemy expose to enemy hiding,
    It's easy to fight an expose enemy than to fight an enemy in hiding and this is exactly is going on in Afhanistan and Iraq which lead to time wasting, money wasting,lost of life for nothing etc etc.

  • sam

    They will come out and fight if it is a fair war but selecting and using war machines, the like of aerial bombardment, tanks, sophisticated weapons, drones, laser missiles  and the rest against some primitive bombs and rifles, no choice but to fight their own war in their own way

  • $22008326

    joining the rest of the comments below: your article is as biased as it could be :)... it would be believable to be objective if it actually mentioned anything about the israeli nuclear sites, US army bases around iran etc etc and the list is endless..

    yet you've chosen to be as "foolish" as an israeli claiming every criticism against the israeli goverment is being antisemetic

  • traveler2007

    I don't get it. Are you saying that Iran is violent while the US and Israel are killing its citizen and bombing installations?
    Why don't you buy a brain and stop trying to brainwash us with stupid CIA like propaganda.
    The USA is the biggest boggy creature on our planet.

  • ValoKolone

    SUPER-DUPER OR DUPER SUPER CONCRETE BY IRAN can not withstand the power of the ATOMIC BUNKERS DESTROYER BOMB by the US  penetrating to the depth of 1000meters beneath the mountains. It's a no no way out for the tiny Iran.

  • traveler2007


    The US has no technology to preform such a feat. Look at Iraq or Afghanistan: they can't even beat a bunch of ragtags soldiers.

    Get off your pedestal, you're going to hurt yourself.

  • ddman

    are  u an isrealis ,isreal should better be worried about their own nuclear  weapon and stop their double standard

  • Bwally321

    Hi Suzanne :
    Thank you for your ' farsightedness ' in bringing to the surface this unsurprising invention by the IRANIANS . They will always find a way out to circumvent their main intention so as to delay being attack. Again, as senior editor, you did a good job in your research. Look forward for my 'email '
    Walter Brown

  • Bb

    Bombing a Nuclear reactor or site will create nuclear fallout for thousands of miles
    and would be worse than chernobyl  in russia. 

  • Yousaf Nishat-Botero

    I love most of Fast Company's valuable articles but was quite disturbed when noticing the politically influenced language used in this one.

    Lets move on from our double standards and realize that the US and Israel have a decent number of nuclear warheads. I'm against nuclear weapons and really hope Iran isn't developing any. If they are, shouldn't us Americans, and our allies, lead by example and practice what we preach?
    Lets focus on improving human life rather than supporting the business of war.

    P.S. Remember that this is what Fast Company exists for:

    Fast Company is the world's leading progressive business media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, ethonomics (ethical economics), leadership, and design.

  • horatiohornblat

    Botero-perhaps you would do better to foloow the rhetoric coming out of Iran.  The US isn't in the "war business" unless and  until there is a clear and present danger.  The US may not have a perfect record (who does?) but you sound heavily biased.  If that's the business "Fast Company" is in, we don't need it.

  • Bob

    Fara you're paranoid. Of course we are watching you, of course we have a bases all around you, and of course we record every whisper from our super duper spy in the sky. Of course we do. Everywhere and anywhere is our motto, of course it is. Of course, we know who you are.

  • traveler2007

    Yeah, right. 12 years of war and not even able to beat the hell out the Afghans or the Iraqis. Absolutely nothing to show for it beside enormous amount of corpses and war crime activities.

    Chance are that if you listen everybody is listening as well.
    The technology is so simple even a moron in Botswana could develop it and use it.
    The US is a sick country.

  • Irfan

    Of course you've never lived in the such countries you talk about. 

    Don't judge the rest of the world by where you live. Things are very different outside the bubble. Trust me cause I've lived in both. There is thin line separating paranoia and reality when it comes to these issues.

  • Boregardless

    Blast & shock resistant concrete has been developed by lots of countries & institutions for everything from earthquake resistance to long life freeways and lightweight bridges.

    Iran is posturing, but it is deadly posturing when you say you are going to remove an entire country's people and facilities from the face of the earth.