Experimental Assessment of Two Exothermic Systems to Neutralize Landmines
DEFENCE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT SUFFIELD (ALBERTA)
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During the late 1990s, Defence Research and Development Canada-Suffield investigated a variety of principles and techniques to neutralize land mines, including the use of exothermic reactions aimed at burning the land mines, as opposed to detonating them. During a six-week period ending in June 1998, trials were conducted with two thermite-based mineunexploded ordnance UXO destruction systems, one marketed by CILEvan and one by Dew Engineering. All mines tested were partially or fully exposed. Both thermite systems caused most metallic mines to detonate after variable periods of burning. Thermite was generally more effective against mines with a smaller amount of explosive antipersonnel AP mines and mines with Bakelite or plastic casing materials. The CILEvan product, being a loose powder, was more adaptable to unusual surface contours. The solid DEW unit was less suitable for surfaces that were uneven or not level. Both systems are considered non-explosive and nonflammable by current transport and storage safety regulations. Their unit costs are comparable to military pattern explosives. This study indicates that thermite might be applicable in limited circumstances only--perhaps where the mines are exposed or removed, unfused, and when disposal explosives are unavailable or difficult to obtain.
- Physical Chemistry
- Land Mine Warfare