• 03.22.12

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 Develops Fancy Concrete To Protect Nuke Sites From Getting Bombed

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]


About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.