New Detection Method For Land Mines is Subject of UB Talk

Release Date: January 14, 1998 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- There are approximately 110 million land mines buried in 68 countries around the world, many of which are plastic and, therefore, not detectable by current technologies.

But an accurate and inexpensive detection method effective for land mines in either plastic or metal casings may be on the horizon as the result of research conducted by Surajit Sen, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, and his colleagues at the University at Buffalo.

Their research will be the subject of a talk to be given by Sen at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 28, in Room 225 of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics complex on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

Sponsored by the UB Sciences Alumni Association of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the talk will be free and open to the public.

The research, which will be published in a scientific journal next month, indicates that weak shock waves sent into granular beds, like soil, will cause acoustic signals containing critical information to be reflected off buried objects, such as land mines.

"What our computer simulations have demonstrated is that when a weak shock wave penetrates into granular media and hits an object, the reflected pulse carries a lot of information about what it hit," Sen said.

The system envisioned by Sen and his collaborators would consist of a special device that would send weak acoustic shock waves deep into soil and detect the pulses that are returned after hitting an object. The pulses would provide information about the weight and shape of the object, which would reveal whether or not it likely is a land mine.

Sen added that a key selling point for the proposed technology would be its low cost, a critical factor in developing detectors for countries where plastic land mines are common, such as Cambodia, Afghanistan and Bosnia.

The Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics comprises the departments of biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geology, mathematics and physics.

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