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Explosives

— Electronics

Simple shoe bomb detector created

By - October 20, 2010 2 Pictures
Much as we might hate having to take our shoes off when going through airport security, it’s become necessary ever since a terrorist managed to get a shoe bomb aboard an American Airlines flight in December of 2001. Unfortunately, the X-raying of shoes is not enough to detect triacetone triperoxide (TATP). This easily-made explosive has been used in several bombing attempts, and is very difficult to detect in an airport environment. It doesn't fluoresce, absorb ultraviolet light or readily ionize, and can only be detected with large, expensive equipment and extensive sample preparation. Now, chemists from the University of Illinois have announced a simple new way of detecting even minute concentrations of TATP, using a piece of plastic and a digital camera. Read More
— Military

New tool headed for Afghanistan disables IEDs with a precision blade of water

By - September 13, 2010 1 Picture
According to the Pentagon, improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, are the number one killer and threat to troops in Afghanistan. Now a new tool that shoots a blade of water capable of penetrating steel is headed to U.S. troops in Afghanistan to help them disable these deadly devices. Developed by Sandia National Laboratories researchers, the fluid blade disablement tool produces a high-speed, precise water blade to perform some precision type destruction on whatever IED it’s up against. Read More
— Science

Terahertz sensing promises breakthrough in remote bomb detection

By - July 12, 2010 1 Picture
Hidden explosives, chemical weapons, biological agents and illegal drugs could one day be optically detectable from up to 20 meters away. How? Well, every substance has its own unique terahertz (THz) radiation “fingerprint”, the waves of which pass through anything other than metal or liquid. Scientists from New York state’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are working on a way of analyzing those waves, then determining what substance they’re emanating from. The process would be harmless to both the subject and the observer, and could make the world a much safer place. Read More
— Electronics

Land mine detection system built using off-the-shelf components

By - June 17, 2010 1 Picture
Land mines are terrifying and indiscriminate weapons, harming soldiers and civilians alike. Even long after the conflict in which they were deployed has ceased they end up killing and injuring civilians and render land impassable and unusable for decades. There are a variety of methods used to detect mines by both humanitarian and military groups, but many are dangerous, most are less than 100 percent reliable and some of the more reliable detection methods are prohibitively expensive. Physicists have now built a relatively inexpensive land mine detection system using off-the-shelf components – including some sourced from online auction sites. Read More
— Military

Smiths Detection rolls-out handheld chemical and biological agent detectors

By - May 5, 2009 3 Pictures
It may be a sad reflection of the times we live in, but there’s a growing worldwide demand for devices capable of detecting chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRNE) threats. Detecting such threats in a laboratory environment is all well and good, but to really save lives such detection needs to be carried out at the site of the threat. That means a detection device that offers lab quality results with a portable form factor - both qualities that Smiths Detection promises in its range of threat detection systems now being rolled-out worldwide. Read More
— Military

Researchers developing portable E-Bomb

By - April 22, 2009 1 Picture
High-power microwave (HPM) bombs that use an enormous electromagnetic radio pulse to disable computers, electronics, vehicles, guided missiles and communications while leaving people and structures unharmed have been under investigation in research labs for a number of years. Until recently these weapons have been impractically large at over 3.5 meters long, but researchers at Texas Tech University have now built a self powered device with U.S. Army funding that measures 15 cm in diameter and only 1.5 meters long, making it small enough to be considered portable. Read More
— Military

Raytheon tests bunker-busting Tandem Warhead System

By - March 23, 2008 7 Pictures
March 24, 2008 If you're sitting behind a 20 foot thick wall of compressed, steel-reinforced concrete you could be forgiven for feeling somewhat invulnerable to outside attack - but think again. Raytheon has developed a new, lighter and more powerful bunker-busting conventional warhead system which punched through more than 19 feet of a 330-ton reinforced concrete block during tests conducted in late January. Read More
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