A West Virginia University project to seal off transportation tunnels during a terrorist attack or natural disaster will be profiled this month on the National Geographic channel .

The projecta plug designed to inflate should there be a fire or a breach in a transportation systemwill be featured in the showHi-Tech War on Terror.The program airs at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28.

The project, developed by researchers in the WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources , is one of nearly a dozen U.S. Department of Homeland Security efforts included in the hour-long episode. The research involvesresilient tunneltechnology aimed at protecting transportation passengers and infrastructure.

The project uses an inflatable plug that can seal off and protect the rest of the system by stopping leaks, fumes, fires, floods or other potential hazards,said Julio Davalos , a WVU civil and environmental engineering professor and lead researcher on the project.

Although the concept of using an inflatable width=100% plug for such protection was first discussed in Europe at least a decade ago, it had never been tested until the WVU team and its partners, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Transportation Security Administration, did so last summer in the Washington, D.C., Metro system. Part of that test is shown in the television episode.

Ever Barbero , chair of the WVU Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and another researcher on the project, lauded the WVU team of faculty, technicians, graduate students and staff for taking the project from mere concept to full-scale demonstration in less than a year.

Other technologies featured in the show include aircraft explosion protection, enhanced container security, superconductor electrical transmissions and psychological and physiological mal-intent detection.

This is brand new science,said Jay Cohen, Department of Homeland Security undersecretary, Science and Technology Directorate.Were going for the big gain. If we fail, we learned in the process. If were successful, its a game changer.

The episodewritten, directed and produced by David Clarkis being promoted on the National Geographic Web site ( http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/episode/hi-tech-war-on-terror-3934#tab-Overview ).