Resources:Sandia National Laboratory, www.sandia.gov Team Technologies Inc., http://www.team-technologies.com/

Soldiers in Afghanistan have a new weapon in their battle against improvised explosive devices (IED) which kill and injure more troops in that country than any other weapon. The device, dubbed the Stingray, is made of clear plastic and carries water with an explosive in it. When that explosive is detonated, it creates a shock wave that travels through the water and accelerates it inward toward a concave opening. This forms a thin blade of high-speed water with enough power to slice through a steel IED. And behind the blade of water is a slug of water that penetrates the IED and tears apart its inner workings.

These events happen in microseconds, so developers had to rely on computer simulations and high-speed photography to ensure the disruptor would create the right shape for the water blade. The final version need not be placed in direct contact with the IED to work. It comes with plastic legs that can attach in various ways, letting it be placed correctly to disable a bomb. It’s also built so robots can easily place it near IEDs or other targets.

The technology was licensed to Team Technologies Inc. in Albuquerque. It sent 3,000 of the disruptors to Afghanistan this past summer. In the future, the device could be used by law enforcement and airport security agencies.

For a video of the water disruptor in action, go to: http://tiny.cc/oi9dh. md

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