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Explosives

A flame is blown off its fuel source with a blast of air from explosives

Building on a technique commonly used to extinguish oil well fires, Dr Graham Doig from the University of New South Wales' School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering is examining whether explosives could be used to fight out-of-control forest and bushfires by blasting the flames out of treetops, slowing the fire and making it easier to fight on the ground.  Read More

There's bomb-making residue in them thar sewers – and EMPHASIS may be able to tell where i...

When people make improvised explosive devices (IEDs), many of the waste products end up simply going down the drain. With that in mind, the European Union-funded EMPHASIS consortium is now developing technology to track those chemicals within the waste stream, so that their point of origin can be located.  Read More

Prof. William Dichtel and Deepti Gopalakrishnan with samples of the polymer

Detecting bombs in places such as airports could be getting easier, thanks to a new fluorescing polymer. While you might expect the material to glow in the presence of explosives, they actually cause it to stop glowing.  Read More

Sandia National Laboratories chemical engineer Vicki Chavez worked with Kevin Fleming to p...

Ammonium nitrate is a commonly used fertilizer, but when mixed with a fuel such as diesel, it makes a powerful explosive – as seen in last week’s fertilizer plant explosion in Texas. But it's the deliberate use of the compound in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and acts of terror such as the Oklahoma City bombing that gives rise to even greater cause for concern. This is why Kevin Fleming, an optical engineer at Sandia National Laboratories, developed a fertilizer alternative that isn’t detonable and therefore can’t be used in a bomb.  Read More

The Triggerfish Bronze A2 wristwatch from Kaventsmann Uhren is tough enough to survive pre...

Smart watches may be poised to become the next "must-have" gadget for tech-enthusiasts, but we'll be surprised if rumored offerings from the likes of Samsung and Apple arrive with a build-quality to match the Triggerfish Bronze A2. This latest wristwatch from German designer Kaventsmann Uhren has been successfully tested at pressures up to 300 bar and has even survived a detonation of C-4 explosives with barely a scratch.  Read More

A team of UCSB researchers have mimicked the anatomy of a dog's nose to build a highly eff...

Combining nanotechnology and microfluidics, researchers at UC Santa Barbara have created a high-performance detector that draws inspiration from the anatomy of a dog's nose to accurately identify substances – including explosives and narcotics – from very small concentrations of airborne molecules.  Read More

US Navy divers with a practice mine

Clearing explosives is a major operation and removing the deadly residue of over a century of warfare is a never ending task. The problem is that before you can remove explosives you have to find them. That isn’t always easy – especially underwater, so Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has developed a new sensor that uses high-temperature planar gradiometers to seek out explosives in the sea.  Read More

A consumer laser pointer has been used to create a small, inexpensive Raman spectrometer (...

Hand-held laser pointers can now be used for something else besides doing presentations, projecting images of microorganisms, and disabling satellites. Next week, a group of scientists from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will be presenting a compact device that they created, which uses a garden-variety green laser pointer to detect dangerous substances such as explosives.  Read More

The prototype boarding gate that scans boarding passes for traces of explosive compounds

With pat downs, metal detectors, X-ray machines, and “puffer machines,” catching a plane can see you and your belongings scanned and probed more thoroughly than a trip to the doctor. Yet another explosives-detecting device may soon be added to the airport screening arsenal. However, because the explosives-detecting equipment is integrated into a boarding gate, the developers claim it won’t disrupt the flow of passengers boarding a plane.  Read More

Detonation of a laser-guided warhead on an armored personnel carrier (Photo: Eglin AFB 780...

The advent of unmanned combat vehicles is generating a need for smaller weapon systems to fit their reduced dimensions. As a result, more powerful explosives are being sought to get the most performance from smaller warheads. Introduction of new explosives is a rather slow process, as premature detonation of an explosive is extremely embarrassing. The desire for higher-performance explosives persists, though, so explosive chemists get used to dancing along the edge of instability. Fortunately, new chemistry occasionally appears that pushes the edge back a bit. The recent synthesis of a stable, high-performance explosive by a research team at the University of Michigan indicates that such new chemistry is now at hand.  Read More

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