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No patent on this one. Answered

I have an idea. It could be a good one, and it could be a useful one. It could even be a money-spinning one, but I want to spread it instead of earn from it.

What I'm thinking of was inspried by potato cannons:

Imagine a combustion chamber of reasonable size, say a gallon volume. Cylindrical, it is domed at one end t withstand internal pressure, but the other end tapers to a narrow outlet.

The idea is that an explosive mixture in the chamber (anything handy, but gasoline/air, ethanol/air and butane/air are the most likely) is ignited by a spark, just like a potato cannon. There is no ammunition, though.

The tapered pipe (I hope) concentrates the blast to release a "bullet" of rapidly-moving gases.

The whole cannon points down at the ground, the muzzle only a few inches from the ground. The detonation is triggered via a long cable (metres long). The "gas bullet" hits the ground with a large enough force to simulate the step of a human or animal, or the passing of a tyre. This triggers the landmine left months ago under the soil.

My idea is, in effect, a low-tech device, capable of being built and repaired by semi-skilled locals, from scavanged materials, in war-torn areas. With a bit of training, a small team could use one to safely pound a mine-field hard enough to trigger the mines and make the area safe to live in. The cannon would be damaged by explosions, but not so badly that it would need repaired after every use, and it could be easily fixed with scrap from the nearest wrecked landrover.

Would this work? Or would they need solid ammunition, say lumps of timber or rocks wrapped in rags to make a seal? That would need a staight (not tapered) barrel, but it's the same idea.

I don't have the space or equipment to make one myself, and land-mine charities won't tell me how much force is required to trigger a mine, but most of you reading this are in the US, and it seems you have an easier time finding this kind of thing out.

Run with the idea, chaps. Build one if you can, and ship it to somebody who needs it, or come up with better plans than my rough idea, and post them to those who need them.

17 Replies

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Lemon (author)2007-03-21

How about they go up in a big plane and drop a big rock? :) I like the cow idea, they're going to die anyway. But I reckon Kiteman's idea is not all 'hot-air'. :) If you built these big enough, I think this might be a go-er. You can use compressed air for added power and efficiency. Try it.

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CementTruck (author)2007-03-07

Most anti-personnel mines are triggered by tripwire, while anti-tank/vehicle mines are triggered by weight. On the anti-vehicle mines, a plunger is depressed when a heavy weight rolls over it. This arms the mine, and as soon as the weight is off the plunger, it springs upward and sets off the explosion. There are a few "tremor" triggered mines, I'm sure, but the enemy wants the the victim within close proximity when the detonation occurs, hence the type of triggering device. The only way your idea would work is if your "air cannon" fires the air slug down onto the plunger of the mine, but without any mass, it still might not set it off.

My Credentialsfrom 1986-1995 I.Y.A.A.Y.A.S.!!! Cheers

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user

what if there was a really big guy and he pressed down the anti tank mine?

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user

According to the War Department, there were footsoldier casualties in WWII that were attributed to AntiTank mines. It was hypothesized that a running footsoldier, with a full backpack, a carbine, extra ammo, a full canteen, etc., etc., could produce enough pressure on the heel of his foot to activate the plunger of an AntiTank mine. (shrug)IMHO: I cannot believe that a fully burdened running soldier can produce 33.7 tonnes (the weight of a Sherman tank) of force on his heel. It is more plausible that intrepid german soldiers improvised several AntiTank mines by weakening/removing the plunger springs to allow anything to set them off.

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Kiteman (author)CementTruck2007-03-13

You're forgetting that pressure is force per unit area. 33T spread over the tracks, is (guessing) 3T/sq.m = 30kg per 10sq.cm patch.

It's very easy for a foot-soldier to reproduce that kind of pressure under a single foot.

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CementTruck (author)Kiteman2007-03-13

Good argument. After some quick internet searches, I came up with the following. Clear case of "Open mouth insert foot" on my part. Type 72(Chinese) - requires 300 kg to detonate. Tellermine 35 (German) - requires 180 kg on the center of the mine or 90 kg on the edge of the mine to detonate. Tellermine 42 and 43 - 100 to 180 kg Topfmine A, B and C (German) - 150 kg Barmine (British) - 140 kg

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user

33.7 tons thats like impossible for any1 to lift neverless carry and etc: a way of showing people you look smart but you dont know much

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trialex (author)2007-03-07

I really liked the idea from a few years ago to round up all the cows with Mad Cow Disease, and rather than slaughtering them, let the wonder around in landmine infested areas.

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Tetranitrate (author)trialex2007-03-12
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royalestel (author)trialex2007-03-08

Now THAT is an inspired idea.

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CementTruck (author)royalestel2007-03-08

Cows? Why not use known terrorists that are currently incarcerated? They, or their cohorts, probably planted them in the first place.

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royalestel (author)CementTruck2007-03-09

Um, still thinking doomed to die cows would be better. Call me a bedwetter, if you want.

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lemonie (author)2007-03-08

The main issue is this: if you know whre the mine is (to aim at it) it can be dealt with. But finding them is the tricky part. L

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jtobako (author)2007-03-07

landmines are made so that something like this doesn't always work. in WWII, they used a minesweeper made up of long chains that would slap the ground hard enough to set off mines, and new mines were quickly designed to avoid this.

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CementTruck (author)jtobako2007-03-07

This method is still in operation today. The device is called a Hammer Flail or Mine Sweeper.

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ewilhelm (author)2007-03-07

I don't know about the mines, but what you're describing sounds like an enormous diesel engine to me, and these types of things are used as pile drivers for buildings. Diesel needs no spark, just compression, so if you take a chamber, fill it with diesel and oxygen, and drop a mass on it to compress the mixture, it will explode. The mass is shot upwards, more fuel and air are introduced, and mass falls, and the cycle repeats.

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LasVegas (author)2007-03-07

It all depends on the mine itself. Any triggering device you could think of has been used to trigger mines. You'd be better off asking a frenchman though. They're still cleaning up from WWII.

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