Tunnel Plug - ILC Dover

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Infrastructure Protection - Resilient Tunnel Plug

ILC Dover has designed and produced products for chemical and biological protection since the mid 1970's.


The Resilient Tunnel Plug (RTP) is a scalable technology that is intended to plug rail, automotive, or other tunnels from threats, including water.  The development system was a 16.2 ft diameter, 32 ft long inflatable structure capable of long term operation of 17psi.  It was configured to deploy from a container mounted inside the tunnel.  The inflation system pressurizes the plug rapidly and maintains it's pressure over its operational life.

The Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate led the RTP development program which included Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, West Virginia University and ILC Dover.  The RTP was originally developed for isolating sections of rail transit tunnels in response to an event such as flooding, release of chemical/biological agents, geological, or other threats.  This can include damage to underwater tubes (water-up), or surface flooding from storms (top-down).

There are many possible configurations of deployable softgoods technology, including inflatable plugs, tensioned fabric structures, and hybrid systems.  These can be designed to perform water or gas arresting functions in virtually any tunnel architecture, including tunnels, vent shafts, and stairways.  Systems can be fixed in place and perform autonomously, or they can be transportable for manual installation.

Contact:  Dave Cadogan at 302-335-3911 x213 or cadogan@ilcdover.com for more information.

Check out the article in Popular Mechanics

Tunnels Plugs can be designed to fit any system geometry with minimal infrastructure modification or system down-time

In preparation for pressure testing to 25 psig at ILC Dover
In preparation for pressure testing to 25 psig
During Manufacturing at ILC Dover
During Manufacturing at ILC

This NY Times graphic explains the function of the Resilient Tunnel Plug (RTP)
Courtesy of NY Times

The deployment sequence of the Resilient Tunnel Plug in the practice tunnel at WVU


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