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Home Made Explosives (HME), how to understand the threats and model the risk?

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posted on 12.01.2022, 12:46 authored by Francis HalleuxFrancis Halleux
Within the scope of countering the threat of Improvised Explosive Devices, HME constitute a major public security concern, requiring specific risk assessments for first responders such as Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams. An initial literature review helped identify current HME threats worldwide, i.e. the synthesis of peroxide explosives and/or the mixing of highly energetic pyrotechnics.
Following a first study on Urea Hydrogen Peroxide as a potential emerging threat, Flash Powder (FP) is now investigated, considering the ease of manufacture combined with the availability of its precursors. FP can also be directly extracted from well-known fireworks, which are still widely available despite strong regulation efforts. These materials are much more than “just pyro’s”. Because of their explosive output, flash compositions have become attractive and largely misused by experimenters, ranging from backyard hobbyists to insurgents.
Flash powder has been studied in the literature, but mainly in the context of regular applications. Research data are still lacking when it comes to performance as an explosive. After initial chemical, physical, and thermal characterization, sensitivity and performance assessments will be executed, including free-field and underwater firings and heat flux measurements.


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