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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Israel's Iron Dome defense system is capable of intercepting — and destroying — thousands of incoming rockets targeting civilian areas. Here's how the sophisticated system works.

By John Donovan

In 1961, the Soviet Union detonated the biggest, most powerful nuclear bomb ever built. One of the cameramen who recorded the event said it sounded "as if the Earth has been killed."

By Patrick J. Kiger

The Manhattan Project built the city of Oak Ridge in rural Tennessee, where secret facilities produced uranium-235 for the atomic bomb.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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Sand turned to glass at White Sands Missile Range. What do we know today about the remnants of the world's first nuclear blast?

By Mark Mancini

Bombs are complicated to build so they aren't a common go-to method of madness for criminals. But would you know one if you saw one?

By John Donovan

The Kim Jong Un regime continues to demonstrate its desire to threaten the U.S. and its allies with nuclear-armed ICBMs. But can any of these missiles actually reach the U.S. mainland?

By Julia Layton & Sarah Gleim

Sheltering in place could give you the best chance of surviving a nuclear attack.

By John Perritano

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The MOAB is the largest nonnuclear bomb ever used by the U.S. So what makes it OK to drop this bomb and not a nuclear warhead? We dive in to find out.

By John Donovan

With tens of millions of active landmines still buried around the globe, scientists are looking for efficient and safe methods to remove them.

By Laurie L. Dove

Despite the phrase "going ballistic," the term "ballistic" refers to how a missile travels through the air, not its explosive capability.

By Patrick J. Kiger

How did it work? Is it still around? The BrainStuff team investigates.

By Allison Loudermilk

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Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, an estimated 54 other attacks on the U.S. have failed. And these are only the ones we know about. Some, like the underwear bomber and the shoe bomber, live on in infamy. Others are more obscure.

By Laurie L. Dove

It's a delicate, hair-raising business that usually ends in triumph, but can, in certain circumstances, end in tragedy. Welcome to the world of a bomb squad technician. It's explosive.

By William Harris

In 2013, North Korea said it had readied missiles for potential strikes on U.S. military bases. The U.S. government said it was ready to intercept them. But what does that really mean?

By Patrick J. Kiger

The massive explosion at a fertilizer operation in the town of West, Texas, raised the question: With the tremendous amount of fertilizer the world blows through, are accidents like this a frequent occurrence?

By Kate Kershner

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"Die Hard" films' John McClane (not to mention a long line of other Hollywood action heroes) never met an explosion he couldn't outrun. In real life, it's not so easy to sprint away from a blast.

By Chris Opfer

You probably have no idea what explosives smell like. But dogs can be trained to detect that distinctive smell, even if it's just wafting through the air.

By Susan L. Nasr

Back in 1983 when the Cold War was in full swing, the U.S. was looking for an effective new tactic to deter a nuclear strike. The "Star Wars" missile defensive initiative, however, wasn't it. Why not?

By Jonathan Atteberry

Suicide bombings are chillingly logical. By hiding explosives on a willing carrier, individuals smuggle death into densely populated areas. But are these bombers strictly a modern phenomenon?

By Robert Lamb

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You may have thought militaries stopped using napalm after the Vietnam War thanks to the United Nations, but this incendiary weapon lives on in modern warfare. Has it also been used in Iraq?

By Jacob Silverman

Whether you call it a homemade bomb, a booby trap or an improvised explosive device, an IED is simple to make, easily hidden and extraordinarily destructive. Why are these deadly devices one of the No. 1 killers of soldiers in Iraq.

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

Javelin missiles cost up to $80,000 each. So how does the U.S. Army afford to train its soldiers to fire them?

By Jonathan Strickland

Do you feel your job is unfulfilling? Maybe you should consider becoming a nuclear detective. These modern Sherlocks might just stop nuclear war from happening.

By Robert Lamb

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Taking a hit from an explosion probably isn't on your to-do list. But if blasts were all around you, would water or land stop your lungs from imploding?

By Robert Lamb

Fallout shelters were once all the rage during the height of the Cold War in America. This gallery depicts some of the most common features of fallout shelters.

By Rick Mayda