Improvised Explosive Devices and cosmic rays
July 06, 2021
Homemade anti-personnel mines are improvised explosive devices deployed from unconventional local techniques and materials. These rudimentary explosives kill thousands of civilians every year, inflicting grievous physical injuries, spreading fear and disruption across affected communities. Moreover, Colombian mines, made of a combination of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil known as ANFO, may also pack faeces, glass, and plastic scrap for causing infectious diseases on the victims. Therefore, the detection and dismantling of such harmful devices must alleviate the insidious consequences of the internal conflicts that have plagued the country for more than half a century. In this work, we present results that suggest that cosmic rays can be used to detect the type of anti-personal mines used in Colombia. We implement a GEANT4 simulation of an ANFO sphere of NH4NO3+diesel interacting with cosmic rays flux at the Bucaramanga level (959 m a.s.l.). Simulations considered explosives buried into different soil types: dry soil model, two humid soils, and two fertilized soils. The simulation showed that the studied interaction generates emerging electrons, gammas, neutrons, and protons. Notably, protons' energy led to an excess of around 0.58 MeV. This peak is quite pronounced for all soil models, giving a clear indication of the feasibility of using a cosmic ray-based detector for detecting these type of rustic explosive in the different types of soils.
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