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Flash and Awe: A Better Stun Grenade Protects the Good Guys

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Old 10-10-2008
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Flash and Awe: A Better Stun Grenade Protects the Good Guys
Say you're a SWAT cop about to rescue hostages, or a soldier trying to extract your buddies from a terrorist hideout. You can't just charge in with guns blazing, so you throw the bad guys off with a nice stun grenade: It creates a deafening bang and a mighty flash without lethal shrapnel. Sounds great, but the force of the explosion can still injure the very people you're trying to save. A couple of years ago, Sandia National Laboratories, which has been developing stun grenades for decades, found a solution to this problem — the fuel/air distraction device. Traditional "flash-bangs" work by igniting a mixture of aluminum and potassium perchlorate. Pull the pin and a few seconds later the cocktail explodes from inside its housing. But yank the pin on the new stunner and a gas starts combusting, which pushes out and ignites a cloud of powdered aluminum. The result is what you see on the test stand above: a blinding burst of light accompanied by a boom of up to 170 decibels — about as loud as a shotgun — but very little blast pressure. Sandia has licensed the device to Defense Technology (a subsidiary of arms maker BAE Systems), which hopes to bring it to market by year's end. There's never been a safer time to be held against your will.For more, visit video.wired.com.

Wired.comhttp://feeds.wired.com/~a/wired/topheadlines?i=VEZjbC
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