A new invention may make it a lot easier–and cheaper–to find landmines.
This chemical film can be sprayed on the ground and glows over the spots where it senses explosives.
Landmines are one of the worst remnants of war; they remain long after conflict has ended. There are currently 110 million mines in 64 countries, including many peaceful ones. The good news: People around the world are working as fast as they can on landmine removal–an arduous process that currently costs up to $1,000 per landmine.
Engineers at the University of Connecticut have devised a potential low-tech solution: a chemical system that senses landmines without any high-tech scientific instruments. The system consists of a fluorescent film that senses explosive vapors (found in buried landmines) when applied to areas thought to harbor explosives. If a landmine is present, an ultraviolet light held to the film will indicate its exact location, turning the area of the film over the explosive from fluorescent blue to a dark circle.
There are few limits to what the chemical system can detect–it can sense nitroaromatics, TNT (used by the military), and a number of elements found in plastic explosives, which are typically difficult to detect. It’s fast (it can detect initial vapors in seconds), effective (detecting elements in the parts per trillion), affordable, and lightweight enough that film can be unfurled over a hazardous area like a large piece of paper.
via FastCoExist – Ariel Schwartz
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