Frangible structures are fascinating and play a crucial role in safety across various industries. Here are five lesser-known facts about them:

1. Origins in aviation

Frangible structures have their roots in aviation safety. The concept was initially developed to prevent severe accidents caused by collisions between aircraft and traditional, rigid structures, such as runway approach lights. Frangible masts and structures in aviation can be made of materials like fibreglass (fiberglass) or composite materials. They are designed to break upon impact.

2. Common use in motorsports

Frangible barriers are frequently used in motorsports, such as Formula 1 and NASCAR. They’re designed to absorb the kinetic energy of a crashing vehicle and minimise the impact force experienced by the driver. They are often constructed using materials that deform and absorb energy, reducing injury risks.

Frangible structure safety barrier around race track

3. Earthquake safety

Frangible materials are used in building design to improve earthquake safety. For instance, base isolators, which allow buildings to move with seismic waves. This effectively reduces the forces transmitted to the structure during an earthquake. This technology minimises structural damage and enhances occupant safety.

4. Applications in military training

Frangible structures are utilised in military training facilities, particularly in shooting ranges. Frangible targets break apart upon impact, reducing the risk of ricochets and enhancing safety for personnel during firearms training.

5. Safety in space launch platforms

Frangible masts are used in space launch platforms. They ensure the safety of ground personnel and equipment during rocket launches. These masts are designed to break away upon ignition, directing exhaust gases and flames away from the platform.

Space platform with frangible structures

Frangible structure applications

Frangible structures continue to evolve and find innovative applications across industries, demonstrating their adaptability and effectiveness in enhancing safety and minimising damage in various scenarios.

Pollite leads the way in frangible stucture manufacture across a number of industries. Contact us now to discuss your requirements – call 01325 355525 or email

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