Measurement and Testing

  • Field Detection Technologies for Explosives

Field Detection Technologies for Explosives

Jan 05 2021 Read 622 Times

The harm that terrorist attacks bring to humanity, both in the loss of life and the instability to the economy, means that numerous steps have been taken and much time and money invested in researching and evaluating new detection technologies by reliable equipment. Early detection of these substances is one of the most effective ways to prevent attacks using explosives from occurring as this high-level reference book, Field Detection Technologies for Explosives, explores. Written in a style that makes complicated technologies easy to understand, this book covers the principles, instrumentation and applications of current technologies used to detect explosives in the field.

Field Detection Technologies for Explosives ( traces the discovery of ‘black powder’ 2000 years ago as it marked the beginning of the use of explosives and the large-scale manufacturing processes, transportation links and sophisticated methods of developments that followed. Some powerful explosives can be manufactured with very few chemicals that are readily available on the mass market requiring no government control, meaning they can be manufactured by amateurs as well as the military services and industrial applications. They are also somewhat easier to obtain than chemical and biological warfare agents, the internet provides a wealth of information as to how to make them and they can be easily concealed and carried under clothing and in luggage.

This book, divided in Explosives Trace Detection Technologies and Bulk Detection Technologies, will explore the current field detection technologies for explosives, focusing on the principles and basic instrumentation (rather than complicated equations). Technologies discussed include ion mobility spectrometry, chemiluminescence, mass spectrometry, X-ray, neutron and quadrupole resonance and millimetre wave imaging technologies. Dogs remain the most effective explosives detectors due to their ability to identify explosive vapour at very low levels, lower than any detector equipment. However, dogs tire and can lose their sensitivity over long periods, hence why organisations worldwide have established numerous programmes and invested millions in explosive detector equipment to improve security. A key area of investment is the installation of equipment at airports to screen baggage, but also cargo containers at harbours and border crossings to prevent the transfer of explosives between countries.

Due to the fast-moving nature of this industry with new technologies being discovered and tested daily, some technologies discussed are not commercially available yet.

The author, Dr Yin Sun, who has worked in the fields of analytical and environmental chemistry and analytical instrumentation for more than 20 years and focused on the research and development of anti-terrorism detection technologies for 10 years, has included a list of explosives given by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and US Department of Justice for easy reference.

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