Title

Characterizing the Performance of Pipe Bombs

Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

1-1-2018

Abstract

Pipe bombs of steel or PVC fragment in reproducible patterns when similarly configured. The power of the explosion correlates with number, mass, and size of the fragments recovered, where a large number of small, low-mass fragments indicate a high-power event and vice versa. In discussing performance, describing pipe fragmentation pattern by fragment weight distribution mapping (FWDM) or fragment surface area distribution mapping (FSADM) was useful. When fillers detonated, detonation velocities of ~4.4 mm/μs were measured. In such cases, side walls of the pipe were thrown first; the average fragment velocity was ~1000 km/s. In deflagrations, the end cap was first thrown; fragment velocities were only ~240 km/s. Blast overpressures varied; at 10 feet, 2 × 12 inch steel pipes containing ~550 g of detonable mixture produced overpressures of 5–6 psi; similar nondetonating pipes produced less than 2 psi. Maximum fragment throw distances were 250–300 m, with an average of ~100 m.

Publication Title

Journal of Forensic Sciences

Volume

63

Issue

1

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