MIT students to investigate chemical makeup of IED
| 02.28.2006 | 07:22:13 | Views: 2990 | ID:
February 28 '06: Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will receive $3 million from the Department of Defense to research new methods for dismantling improvised explosive devices, also called IED's, the Boston Globe reported Tuesday. Using the federal grant, students at MIT will analyze "the molecular interaction of explosive materials," with the goal of finding ways to "short-circuit them before they can cause harm."
Keith Nelson, a chemistry professor at MIT told the Globe, "We are studying the microscopic mechanisms that are characteristic of the core materials that bad guys use in IED's. ... There is a whole set of things that have to happen to get [a detonation] and we are studying the chemistry in small amounts of energetic materials."According to Global Security, IED's "can be almost anything with any type of material and initiator. It is a 'homemade' device that is designed to cause death or injury by using explosives alone or in combination with toxic chemicals, biological toxins, or radiological material." IED's are also the chosen weapon of the Iraqi insurgency and other terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. The Globe reported, "Composed of leftover Iraqi Army mortars, artillery shells, TNT, and a variety of other explosives available in postwar Iraq, IED's pose perhaps the most troublesome problem for US troops and commanders." "Skilled insurgents have disguised IED's as rocks or tucked them inside roadside debris and dead animals," the Globe continued. "The bomb detonators have ranged from remote-controlled devices activated by a nearby cellphone to thin, nearly invisible trip wire and sensors the size of postage stamps imbedded in the road." MIT will get the funding through a program called the Multidisciplinary University Research Program (MURI) which works inside the Department of Defense. Along with MIT, Washington State University and Michigan Technological University will take part in the $30 million project.
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