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Patented research remotely detects nitrogen-rich explosives
Date:4/17/2014

MANHATTAN, KAN. A Kansas State University engineer has developed a patented technique that improves military security and remotely detects improvised explosive devices. The same technique could help police during drug searches.

William Dunn, the Steven M. and Kay L. Theede chair in engineering and department head of mechanical and nuclear engineering, and his research team have created a template-based system that identifies explosives hidden underground or in car trunks. The distance detection method called stand-off bomb detection improves safety, particularly for soldiers in combat zones.

"We want to keep people out of harm's way," Dunn said.

Dunn's engineering team has spent several years developing a method to detect car bombs. The latest research involves improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, which are chemical explosives that can be left in places such as suitcases or cars.

The majority of chemical explosives are nitrogen-rich explosives, Dunn said. While 25 explosives contain high nitrogen content levels, four types of explosives do not.

Dunn created a template-matching technique called signature-based radiation scanning to determine the presence of explosives. The template-matching technique works similar to a bar code. Dunn's team has created templates for nitrogen-rich explosives and if a material matches one of these templates, then it potentially contains nitrogen-rich explosives.

To detect explosives, soldiers can place a sensor on an unmanned vehicle or aircraft that travels ahead of troops and tests road surfaces and other areas for IEDs. The sensor uses the template-matching method to search for the presence of explosives. The sensor then uses red, green or yellow lights to communicate back to soldiers who are in a safe place. The red light tells soldiers that nitrogen-rich explosives are present, while a green light means there are no nitrogen-rich explosives and a yellow light mean
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Contact: William Dunn
dunn@k-state.edu
785-532-5628
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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