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Explosives

Get the science behind the inner workings of bombs, missiles and handheld weapons, including grenades. Learn how they work and how they are used to inflict maximum damage.

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How Dirty Bombs Work

This week, U.S. officials said they dispatched scientists in December to search for dirty bombs in five U.S. cities, after learning of possible New Year's Eve terrorist attacks. Learn all about these crude weapons.


The Mother of All Bombs is Big But It's No Nuke

The U.S. dropped the most powerful non-nuclear bomb it's ever used in combat on Afghanistan in April 2017. HowStuffWorks digs into the ramifications. See more »

Using Glowing Bacteria and Lasers to Detect Landmines

New research suggests using genetically engineered bacteria to detect landmines. Learn more in this HowStuffWorks article. See more »

The Simple Difference Between Ballistic Missiles and Cruise Missiles

What's the difference between a ballistic missile and a cruise missile? Learn more about missiles in this HowStuffWorks Now article. See more »

Russia Once Built a Doomsday Device Nicknamed 'Dead Hand'

During the heart of the Cold War, the Soviets developed a nuclear weapon activation system called Dead Hand. BrainStuff explains how Dead Hand worked. See more »

10 Terrorist Plots That Failed

Can you name 10 terrorist plots that failed? Learn about failed terrorist plots at HowStuffWorks. See more »

How Controlled Detonations Work

Some bombs require planned, intentional explosions, or controlled detonations. Learn how experts conduct controlled detonations at HowStuffWorks. See more »

How does the military intercept missiles?

How does the military intercept missiles? Learn how the U.S. military intercepts missiles at HowStuffWorks. See more »

Can you really outrun an explosion?

Can you really outrun an explosion? Find out if you can really outrun an explosion the way action movie heroes do. See more »

How Bomb-sniffing Dogs Work

Bomb-sniffing dogs risk life and paw each day to protect the public. Find out how bomb-sniffing dogs work at HowStuffWorks. See more »

How the Star Wars Program Didn't Work

The Star Wars Program is now generally regarded as risky and unrealistic. Why didn't President Reagan's Star Wars Program work? See more »