The mission of the Architectural SuretySM program at Sandia National Laboratories is to assure the performance of buildings, facilities, and other infrastructure systems under normal, abnormal, and malevolent threat conditions. Through educational outreach efforts in the classroom, at conferences, and presentations such as this one, public and professional awareness of the need to defuse and mitigate such threats is increased. Buildings, airports, utilities, and other kinds of infrastructure deteriorate over time, as evidenced most dramatically by our crumbling cities and aging buildings, bridges, and other facility systems. Natural disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and flooding also stress the materials and structural elements of our built environment. In addition, criminals, vandals, and terrorists attack our federal buildings, dams, bridges, tunnels, and other public and private facilities. Engineers and architects are beginning to systematically consider these threats during the design, construction, and retrofit phases of buildings and infrastructures and are recommending advanced research in new materials and techniques. Existing building codes and standards do not adequately address nor protect our infrastructure or the public from many of these emerging threats.
The activities in Sandia National Laboratories' Architectural SuretySM efforts take a risk management approach to enhancing the safety, security, and reliability of our constructed environment. The technologies and techniques developed during Sandia's 50 years as the nation's lead laboratory for nuclear weapons surety are now being applied to assessing and reducing the vulnerability of dams, to enhancing the safety and security of our staff in foreign embassies, and assuring the reliability of other federal facilities. High consequence surety engineering and design brings together technological advancements, new material requirements, systems integration, and risk management to improve the safety, security, and reliability of our as-built environment. The thrust of this paper is the role that new materials can play in protecting our infrastructure. Retrofits of existing buildings, innovative approaches to the design and construction of new facilities, and the mitigation of consequences in the event of an unpreventable disaster are some of the areas that new construction materials can benefit the Architectural SuretySM of our constructed environment.