Electromagnetic Waves from TNT Explosions


Experimental observations indicate that electromagnetic (EM) radiation is emitted after the detonation of high explosives (HE) charges. The movement of ionized atoms, particles and electrons seems to be the underlying cause. Expansion of the detonation products (DP) drives a strong (~1 kb) shock in surrounding air. This forms an intense thermal wave (T ~11,000 K) with duration of ~20 microseconds. Such temperatures create significant ionization of the air. According to Ohm’s Law, movement of ionized patches generates current; and according to the Biot-Savart Law, such currents induce electric and magnetic fields. We investigate these effects through numerical simulations of TNT explosions. A high-order Godunov scheme is used to integrate the one-dimensional conservation laws of gasdynamics. An extremely fine grid (10 microns) was needed to get converged temperature and conductivity profiles. The gasdynamic solution provided a source current, which was fed into a time-domain Green’s function code to predict three-dimensional electromagnetic waves emanating from the TNT explosion. This analysis clearly demonstrates one mechanism—the Boronin current—as the source of EM emissions from TNT explosions, but other mechanisms are also possible.

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Kuhl, A. , White, D. and Kirkendall, B. (2014) Electromagnetic Waves from TNT Explosions. Journal of Electromagnetic Analysis and Applications, 6, 280-295. doi: 10.4236/jemaa.2014.610028.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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