Friday, August 19, 2011

US military develops 'bigger bang' explosive material

The US Office of Naval Research says that it has successfully tested a new type of explosive material that can dramatically increase weapons' impacts.

Missiles made from the high density substance can explode with up to five times the energy of existing armaments.

The material mixes metals and polymers and is said to be as dense as steel but have the strength of aluminum.

US Navy scientists say that projectiles made from the new compound are less likely to kill innocent bystanders.

Missiles, artillery shells and other military munitions are normally constructed with a steel casing that simply contains the high explosives within.

This new approach from the US Office of Naval Research replaces the inert casing with High-Density Reactive Materials (HDRM) that combine and explode only when the projectile hits the target.

According to navy researchers, recent tests have shown that the HDRMs are durable and significantly enhance the explosive effect. They increase the chances of what the military scientists term a "catastrophic kill".

Clifford Bedford, a researcher involved in the development of the new material, explained its advantages over existing weapons.

"In the case of a steel missile you explosively launch it, it goes through the target and all the kinetic energy is dissipated into the target," he said.

"With the reactive material missile, you have the same explosive launch - however, it disintegrates within the target and liberates chemical energy, and this chemical and kinetic energy combined gives you the enhanced effect." (more)