Design & Engineering | Terminology

What is Flex? Why is Flex Important to Blast-Resistant Buildings?

March 21st, 2022   |  3 min. read
What is Flex? Why is Flex Important to Blast-Resistant Buildings? Blog Feature

When you think of the word flex, a few things probably come to mind. One of the most recent entries into the world of pop culture is, “Weird flex, but ok” - a mocking phrase often given in response to a person who brags about something unusual. 

To flex in that instance means to boast. 

All jokes aside, are we talking about boasting when we talk about flex? We’re quite proud of our blast-resistant buildings, but we’re actually referring to flexibility. We’re talking about the tensile quality of the steel used in our buildings, which allows it to bend slightly when impacted by a blast wave, rather than crumble. 

When talking about steel blast-resistant buildings, flex is sometimes referred to as deflection or even dynamic load transfer.

The “word on the street” is that flex is sometimes mentioned by other blast-resistant building manufacturers as a risk factor in steel blast-resistant buildings. We believe that’s conjecture. Our engineers agree that too much flex could be a bad thing. However, through expert design, we limit the amount of flex in our buildings, which limits the risk of non-structural damage and occupant injury.

And then, just to be sure, we test it

RedGuard’s design allows for some dynamic structural movement, while at the same time limiting total deformation limits. We plan for a certain amount of flex and we make sure that our customers know how to properly stage a blast-resistant building

We believe that knowing how to stage a building for a minimal amount of planned flex, is a better alternative than overspending on a building design that promises not to flex. 

We Flex When Concrete Crumbles

Steel, as one of the strongest building materials around, is often used to reinforce concrete. There’s a good reason for that. Steel has tensile strength like no other building material and it doesn’t warp, strain, crack, or crumble like concrete and other construction materials. 

In comparison, concrete is brittle in nature and can fracture under pressure. It is susceptible to damage from humidity and condensation. For these reasons, steel is safer for blast-resistant buildings than modular concrete.

RedGuard: Tested for Life

At RedGuard, we stand behind our blast-resistant buildings. We’d never turn our back on the years of consistent data that tells us steel is the best building material for blast-resistant buildings. We continue to look at data and evolve our designs. And, not only do we have the engineering to back us up, we have the actual blast tests behind us.

We’ve written in the past about the science behind steel in blast-resistant buildings, but for a better comparison here, you can also check out our steel vs. concrete head-to-head comparison


Read the Comparison 

Carreen Gibbons

Carreen Gibbons

Carreen Gibbons is the Communications Specialist at RedGuard. With a natural curiosity toward technical subjects and a love of learning new things, she writes content for the SiteBox Storage and RedGuard websites and spends her days learning new things about the industries that the companies serve.