Military Bases Rely on Stable, Dust-Controlled Surfaces

Military Bases Rely on Stable, Dust-Controlled Surfaces

In Dust Control, Military, Soil-Sement® by Frank Elswick

The strongest military in the world knows the importance of controlling dust.

America’s daily military operations rely on efficient strategies to eliminate dust on tank trails, stabilize helipads, and strengthen unpaved roads. These proven solutions ensure that our forces are protected against unsafe conditions as they perform the important job of protecting our country every day.

Helipad Stabilization

America’s military commands the largest fleet of helicopters in the world, using these versatile aircraft for transport, search and rescue missions, and military operations. With rotary blades that spin at nearly 400 RPM, helicopters can kick up a lot of dust during takeoff and landing.

Helipads — or helicopter landing areas — require effective dust control to ensure the safety of pilots, passengers, and cargo. Left untreated, dust on military helipads can affect helicopter engines and electronics, and can even blind pilots and crew. Dust visibility issues — referred to as “brownouts” — have caused nearly 80% of helicopter crashes over the past 10 years, according to a study by the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Tank Trails

U.S. military bases that house tank battalions know firsthand the importance of implementing effective dust control solutions. Tank training exercises that take place on military bases are usually conducted on unpaved roads, expelling clouds of dust particulate into the air. Excessive dust from these tank trails can present safety hazards to military personnel and neighboring communities. Additionally, dust particles that accumulate from tank trails can harm vehicle engines, electronics, and filtering systems, endangering tank personnel while also causing internal damage and decay to the tanks’ entire infrastructure.

Fighting Back

U.S. military commanders recognize the inherent risks posed to equipment and personnel by airborne dust. In response, they have implemented comprehensive dust control and soil stabilization solutions to reduce the amount of dust kicked up by tanks and helicopters.

Proudly serving the military for over 40 years, Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. offers a range of products that meet the demands of America’s military bases. EK35® — the most environmentally safe dust suppressant on the market — provides maximum control of PM10 and PM2.5 dust emissions. Their organic formula has been put to the test in a variety of military situations, and has been proven to reduce the amount of dust produced by training operations at military bases. EK35 is also used at helipads to bind together dust and other aggregate, ensuring that brownouts don’t affect pilot visibility.

Similarly, Midwest’s Soil-Sement® polymer emulsion increases the strength and durability of unpaved roads, eliminating the risk of potholing and surface breakup caused by tanks. As outlined in a case study on the Florence Military Reservation, the Arizona National Guard used Soil-Sement to help minimize the amount of dust caused by military training exercises. The application of Soil-Sement at the National Guard training ground created a hard, water-resistant surface that effectively neutralized the risk of airborne dust to military personnel and neighboring communities.

While America’s military keeps us safe at home, Midwest’s wide array of dust control and soil stabilization products and solutions ensures the safety of military personnel, their equipment, and the environment.

(Image credit: Skeeze/Pixabay)

Frank is the sales unit manager of Midwest's road construction and natural paving markets.