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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.

Discussions

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TheMeta

8 years ago

what if we use a small hover craft with a Tesla coil in the center to just zap them with a crap lode of power and heat the explosive to the point of detonation without worrying about the trip at all.

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Kiteman

11 years ago

Actually, I've been cogitating on this idea, watching the comments, and I've changed my mind. Given that a mine-field is a very static target, and it's going to get ploughed up by exploding mines, why not clear them the same way that many are laid? Use a cluster-weapon deployment system (air-craft or cruise-missile) to pepper the minefield with purely-kinetic weapons - from a high-ballistic path, scatter a cloud of ball-bearings to hammer the whole field, like one almighty shot-gun blast. No explosives are used (beyond any used in the deployment itself), so even if the field is not completely cleared, the danger is not added to. Or maybe the explosives are vulnerable to beamed energy? Would a microwave beam "cook off" the mines, like shot-gun shells in a fire?

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Big BwanaKiteman

Reply 11 years ago

A lot of fields where laid by hand, mines are fairly safe until you remove the safety pin / device / arm them, and then this in combination with anti demining measures can make it a really dangerous task to remove them the same way they are laid ...... Lots of mines are now designed to survive a blast overpressure type of triggering, since this is the way large military forces like to rapidly clear, or think they have cleared a mine field.....Most people have seen the clearing system that rapidly uncoils huge roll of explosives and then it detonates, it and looks like the ground is rising about 5 feet and then the dust settles, but they don't tell you there are still several mines out there waiting for some poor sap to walk on and lose a leg or a life, but that could reduce military enrollment if people knew the government is putting them in harms way needlessly.... And using a cluster type munition, only some 80 % actually explode as intended, and you might be violating the Wellington Declaration both a) Use cluster munitions; b) Develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions And Yes both the U.K. and Canada have signed it...... While both you and I know it is not par say a weapon, it would still be viewed as one by the government, and other governments... And cluster munitions are a real problem, just as bad, if not worse then land mines.......... You might also, only damage the land mine making removal or disposal very unsafe... I like the beamed energy idea but how far do radio wave penetrate into the ground before suffering huge losses... and with enough watts I think pretty much every thing is vulnerable to RF energy (( and yes they do make some huge magnetron's or gyrotrons in the MW range )) Also if your playing with large amounts of RF power you can locate them by simply looking for induced RF emissions produced from any non linear junctions, even a spring is a effectively a non linear junction.... (( Oh this is some old school, not really talked about soviet bug detection technology ))

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killerjackalope

11 years ago

How about a device that throw a net covered in weights over mined areas, then drags it back in, pulling trip wires, flipping pressure sensors and if the weights were steel you'd assume they'd be enough to set of any magnetic principle ones since tanks aren't magnetized...

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Big Bwanakillerjackalope

Reply 11 years ago

While it's a good idea several mines uses audio sensors, vibration sensors, and the magnetic influence sensors may not detect smaller metallic objects (( you could magnetize them however )) And lots of anti-vehicular mine have huge weight ratings (( 450 Kg area and with sand and dirt eventually entering into them it could be in the thousands of KG's )) But it would remove a large number of antipersonnel mines....

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killerjackalopeBig Bwana

Reply 11 years ago

It would be great for some areas then, not to mention cheap and very easy to implement. I wonder how shooting a shotgun at mines would work, maybe even having a crane over head and dropping stuff or firing things at a mine area, a rock from that height could be the ticket...

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Big Bwanakillerjackalope

Reply 11 years ago

the shot gun, will put you in a danger zone, some mines can spray debris / shrapnel for hundreds of meters, and if you miss this just adds to debris with metalic content, making it that much harder to find other mines... But the crane could be used for lots of applications even winching items horizontally over areas, like large trees, but in all actually until a person enters and clears the area it will never end up being 100% mine free, and even then some mines may still be buried to deep to find from, floods, trees falling on them,wind erosion etc .....

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killerjackalopeBig Bwana

Reply 11 years ago

The shotgun was more an in principle idea... Maybe some kind of heavy vehicle armoured against mines... or even using the cran idea winch a sort of mine plough over the areas....

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trialex

12 years ago

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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CementTruckroyalestel

Reply 12 years ago

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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bumpusCementTruck

Reply 11 years ago

Kind of a "Have a taste of your own medicine" deal.. haha

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Big Bwanabumpus

Reply 11 years ago

Oh and Guant√°namo bay isn't already bad enough you want to see the media coverage a legless terrorist will get and the expense the US government will have to go through to save them when a PMN-type 2 mine doesn't kill them and only maims them ?? CNN would chew on that and spoon feed it to millions for months......... ((( Spend the money helping the people who really need it, put it towards free health care in your own country )))

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endolithCementTruck

Reply 12 years ago

Terrorists?? Landmines are left by regular soldiers, in regular wars. US soldiers dropped 118,000 land mines in Iraq and Kuwait in 1991. Should we have American soldiers wander around the minefields, since they "planted them in the first place"?

Although we've shipped thousands of landmines to Iraq this time, we apparently aren't using them, which is good, but we are using thousands of cluster bombs. Many of these don't explode on impact and have basically the same effect; predominantly killing civilians after the war is over.

Mad cow idea is good, but animal rights groups would think it inhumane, and mad cow disease isn't in the same region as landmines, so you'd have to ship all the cows. :-)

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Big Bwanaendolith

Reply 11 years ago

At least most American area denial mines are easy to locate with low cost equiptment and lots can be cleared with a blast over pressure system, they even have time delayed self destructing mines (( and don't take this as support for land mine use, but there are other countries that make plastic mines you can't detect, they have anti demineing protection, and they last 30 years or more and while they become unstable they can last for hundreds of years ))

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endolithBig Bwana

Reply 11 years ago

Yeah, self-destructing mines are great, especially when the self-destruct system fails.

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royalestelCementTruck

Reply 12 years ago

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

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Firebert010

11 years ago

Unless you made the combustion chamber out of carbon steel, it would surely be destroyed in the blast, given that it was within close proximity of the explosion. These devices would be cheap to make out of pvc, much like a potato gun. However the material wouldn't stand up to landmine shrapnel, so there would be a huge demand if they ended up being practical and actually worked. I'm not sure, maybe that's a good thing. Even so, why not build a wooden platform for mere pennies and pull a rock off of it onto the mine instead of wasting gasoline or butane.

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CementTruck

12 years ago

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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CementTruckich bin ein pyro

Reply 12 years ago

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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KitemanCementTruck

Reply 12 years ago

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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CementTruckKiteman

Reply 12 years ago

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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Big BwanaCementTruck

Reply 11 years ago

Type 72(Chinese) - Small AP only a few lbs if it's old Tellermine 35 (German) - can't find a 35 Tellermine 42 and 43 - Anti Tank mine with 5.44 Kg's of explosives, (( Kiss goodbye to Kitemans cannon Topfmine A, B and C (German) - can't find data Barmine (British) - Anti tank mine with 8.1 Kg of hexogen and most are influence so this cannon wouldn't work but the truck your driving in would

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ich bin ein pyroCementTruck

Reply 12 years ago

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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Big Bwana

11 years ago

Kiteman you might be onto some thing, most AP type mines only need a few Kg's but a AT can be upwards of 450 Kg's (( the amount of force a 5 year old can produce while jumping from three feet, and yes they do set off AT mines, unless they are a magnetic influence type mine )) How ever you might want to add some form of venting the overpressure in the event of a mine explosion, some are shaped charges and this will direct most of the forces straight up and this will shred your pipe and turn it into shrapnel.. But most common mines like a PNM type 2 this wouldn't be a problem, but it's hard to tell whats under the ground, maybe borrowing some of the designs and technologies they use in airport garbage cans, which are commonly built to take and safely direct the energy of a small explosive.... And this would be more cost effective then blowing up flails day after day... Now I need some more info on blast over protected mines.. Info is so dam hard to find on them .....

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Lemon

12 years ago

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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lemonie

12 years ago

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

12 years ago

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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ewilhelm

12 years ago

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

12 years ago

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.