Feeds

Boffin fights fire with EXPLOSIVES instead of water

They'll huff and they'll puff and they'll blow your blaze out

New hybrid storage solutions

When you blow out a candle, you stop the fire by separating the flame from its fuel source.

A boffin in Australia likes that idea so much he's tested explosives as a means of creating a huge puff of air to keep bushfires away from the foliage on which they feast.

The video below shows the experiment in action.

At right is a metal tube wherein resides “det cord”, essentially a hose filled with Pentaerythritol tetranitrate, the stuff used to make Semtex and other explosives. At left is a metre-high flame made by a propane burner.

The vid was shot using the “shadowgraph” technique that captures action in transparent media like air. This technique was chosen by Dr Graham Doig from the University of New South Wales' School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering because it allows him to watch the shockwave produced by the explosion.

Let's roll tape …

Impressive, no?

Doig has declared the test a success, saying it shows that “As soon as the flame doesn't have access to fuel anymore, it stops burning.”

Just how to deploy the explosives is Doig's next conundrum. He wonders if helicopters could lower a fire-extinguishing canon to the top of a forest canopy and not only extinguish fire but knock loose any fuel. Such an approach would work well in Australia, where fires often move through the crowns of oil-rich eucalyptus trees.

There's obviously lots more work to do on this idea, as it has massive “what could possibly go wrong with that?” potential. On the upside, fighting fire with fire often does the trick. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.