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Proceedings Paper

Aqueous foam as a less-than-lethal technology for prison applications
Author(s): Tommy D. Goolsby
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Paper Abstract

High expansion aqueous foam is an aggregation of bubbles that has the appearance of soap suds and is used to isolate individuals both visually and acoustically. It was developed in the 1920's in England to fight coal mine fires and has been widely used since for fire fighting and dust suppression. It was developed at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) in the 1970's for nuclear safeguards and security applications. In late 1994, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research arm of the Department of Justice, began a project with SNL to determine the applicability of high expansion aqueous foam for correctional applications. NIJ funded the project as part of its search for new and better less-than-lethal weapons for responding to violent and dangerous individuals, where other means of force could lead to serious injuries. The phase one objectives of the project were to select a low-to-no toxicity foam concentrate with physical characteristics suited for use in a single cell or large prison disturbances, and to determine if the selected foam concentrate could serve as a carrier for Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) irritant. The phase two objective were to conduct an extensive toxicology review of the selected foam concentrate and OC irritant, and to conduct respiration simulation experiments in the selected high expansion aqueous foam. The phase three objectives were to build a prototype individual cell aqueous foam system and to study the feasibility of aqueous foams for large prison facility disturbances. The phase four and five objectives were to use the prototype system to do large scale foam physical characteristics testing of the selected foam concentrate, and to have the prototype single cell system further evaluated by correctional representatives. Prison rather than street scenarios were evaluated as the first and most likely place for using the aqueous foam since prisons have recurrent incidents where officers and inmates might be seriously injured during violent confrontations. The very low density of the high expansion foam also makes it more suitable for indoor use. This paper summarizes the results of the project.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 January 1997
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 2934, Security Systems and Nonlethal Technologies for Law Enforcement, (29 January 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.265401
Show Author Affiliations
Tommy D. Goolsby, Sandia National Labs. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2934:
Security Systems and Nonlethal Technologies for Law Enforcement
John B. Alexander; John B. Alexander; Debra D. Spencer; Steve Schmit; Basil J. Steele, Editor(s)

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