Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Register on feasibility of liquid explosives

It two decades since I did anything related to manufacture of explosives but The Register seems to have it right.

Binary explosives would be very hard to use on an aircraft for the simple reason that combining the two components means you are in effect setting up a small munitions factory. If the explosive goes off prematurely you get a fizzle.

TATP is so notoriously unstable that one of the cues Israel uses to identify likely 'engineers' - bomb makers is noting who is missing a finger or two.

There are some binary explosives that are used commercially. Ammonium Nitrate/Fuel Oil (ANFO) is widely used in mining and was the explosive Timothy McVeigh used in the Oklahoma City bombing. But ANFO requires confinement to go off properly and the raw materials both have a pretty powerful smell. The prospects for chemical detection are pretty good.

No comments: