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.

Learn More

An underwater explosion or UNDEX won't absorb the destruction like air does. Learn why an underwater explosion could harm you more than one on land.

By Robert Lamb

"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

On August 10, 2006, authorities in Great Britain announced that they had arrested several people in connection with a plot to attack airplanes with liquid explosives.

By Tracy V. Wilson

Advertisement

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

Grenades are a devastatingly effective weapon on the battlefield. Find out what happens when a soldier pulls the pin and tosses one of these miniature bombs at the enemy.

By Tom Harris

A Sidewinder missile weaves through the air toward an enemy target as if it has a mind of its own -- and in a way, it does. High-tech "smart weapons" take most of the guess work out of hitting a target. Find out how Sidewinders seek and destroy.

By Tom Harris

Landmines are a deadly legacy of 20th century warfare. Independent sources report that since 1975, landmines have killed or maimed more than 1 million people during peace time. Learn about the technology of landmines and their deactivation.

By Kevin Bonsor

Advertisement

Your most rugged pair of blue jeans can't hold a candle to the cutting-edge blast-resistant clothing and technology. Sure, these fabrics are tough, but can they diffuse bomb blasts?

By Tom Scheve

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.

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

Those same, buzzing insects that seek out molecular hints of the pollen they use to make honey can just as easily detect traces of materials used to bombs. How are honeybees used to find bombs?

By Julia Layton

Advertisement

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

In the first reports released since North Korea announced its underground nuclear test on Monday, officials are saying they have found no evidence of a nuclear signature in the air above the blast site.

By Julia Layton

In what may prove to be the first nuclear explosion since 1998, North Korea claims it has conducted an underground test of a nuclear weapon.

By Julia Layton

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

Advertisement

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

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

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

Advertisement

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

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

Nine countries hold the 13,000 nuclear weapons in the global stockpile. That's less than during the Cold War but it doesn't change the fact that these bombs are still a threat to global humanity. So how do they work and are we close to nuclear war?

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D. & Patrick J. Kiger

What once was "Star Wars" under Reagan is now National Missile Defense under Bush. Learn more about the technology behind the system.

By Kevin Bonsor

Advertisement

When the U.S. Air Force tested the MOAB last year, it tested one of the largest conventional bombs ever built. MOAB stands for Massive Ordnance Air Burst, and it's not for the faint-hearted. Find out how it fits into the U.S. arsenal.

By Marshall Brain

Smart bombs can navigate their own way to specific ground targets with startling accuracy, even in poor weather conditions. Find out how JDAMs and other smart bombs automatically find and hit their targets.

By Tom Harris