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View Full Version : dramatic ways to disable a bomb - liquid nitrogen



melindamusil
12-02-2013, 07:08 AM
I've been researching how to defuse a bomb (the best summary of what I've found is in this article, for those who are interested (http://gizmodo.com/5827453/how-to-defuse-a-bomb)).

I'm not entirely surprised, but at the same time frustrated, that bomb techs virtually never actually "handle" bombs - it's all done with robots and water cannons. I'm trying to create a tense, dramatic scene - bad guy has left a bomb in a crowded area and there's no time to evacuate everyone, but I fear that I'm dangerously close to "cut the blue wire!"

Many years ago, when I was studying physics, I remember having lots of fun with liquid nitrogen - dipping stuff in it, then shattering it. Could a bomb tech pour som liquid nitrogen on the bomb to disable the fuse/detonator/battery, or at least make more stable (safer to handle)?

Any other ideas of ways to dramatically disable a bomb?

jclarkdawe
12-02-2013, 07:32 AM
Defusing isn't usually going to be very dramatic. Safely letting it go off is.

One of the best I've seen was on NASH BRIDGES when they drive the bomb car into the Bay before it explodes. How about 20 helium balloons to float it away, having it explode 2,000 feet up? You do have a shrapnel problem. Anti-personal and you can drive a truck over it. Water curtain to block the explosion in the important direction. Throw the bomb into an alley.

Rule to remember is that explosive devices go up and out until meant by stronger force or they run out of energy. In the Boston Marathon bombing, a mailbox provided significant protection. Same thing happened with Adolf Hitler.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

bookworm92
12-02-2013, 01:19 PM
IMO, you can still keep the tension with a robot disarming a bomb. Would making a pressure sensitive bomb work? A mistake could cause the bomb to blow up.

Trebor1415
12-02-2013, 03:15 PM
IMO, you can still keep the tension with a robot disarming a bomb. Would making a pressure sensitive bomb work? A mistake could cause the bomb to blow up.

Yeah, but if the robot dies, who cares?

Trebor1415
12-02-2013, 03:20 PM
I've seen the "lidquid nitrogen to freeze the timer" trick done a couple times on movies or TV. It was done on "LOST" when there was a bomb on the freighter. They kept hit the timer with fire extinguishers to freeze it so people could get off the ship. Of course, the character doing this knew that he'd die eventually because he never knew exactly when they'd run out of stuff in the extinguisher.

Personally, I'd do a little more research to see if the liquid nitrogen trick would actually work, even if current procedures mean no one would ever actually do it. If it would work, theoritically, and the drama works in the story, than do it.

Sometimes you have to research how things really work in the "real world" and then decide when you are going to deliberately go with "drama/story" over "realism." In my opinion, this could be one of those times.

bookworm92
12-02-2013, 03:31 PM
Yeah, but if the robot dies, who cares?

Loss of millions of dollars of equipment for a cash-strapped bomb squad? I don't think those robots come cheap. Not to mention, the fore of the blast can send debris outwards, injuring people.

Torgo
12-02-2013, 03:36 PM
I'm pretty sure they tried the liquid nitrogen trick on Mythbusters - ah, here it is (http://mythbustersresults.com/toilet-bomb). Seemed to work pretty well.

King Neptune
12-02-2013, 05:04 PM
I agree with the squirrel. Use a bunch of helium balloons to lift it away, so that it will explode thousands of feet up.

robjvargas
12-02-2013, 06:02 PM
Loss of millions of dollars of equipment for a cash-strapped bomb squad? I don't think those robots come cheap. Not to mention, the fore of the blast can send debris outwards, injuring people.

A robot is used because the loss of a robot is less costly (and not just in dollars) than the loss of a bomb disposal expert. You can replace a robot in a few weeks. Experience takes years.

Remember that not all bombs are timed. So the Liquid nitrogen *might* be used to freeze a pressure trigger, or a slow down the response of a photosensitive trigger. Also, the robots aren't used (so far as I'm aware) when time is of the essence.

In close quarters, in a hurry, in places where the robot's camera might not reach for a good enough view, there's all kinds of reasons a robot won't be the way to go.

Torgo
12-02-2013, 06:14 PM
Remember that not all bombs are timed. So the Liquid nitrogen *might* be used to freeze a pressure trigger, or a slow down the response of a photosensitive trigger. Also, the robots aren't used (so far as I'm aware) when time is of the essence.


As the Mythbusters test indicates, the LNO isn't so much slowing down the timing mechanism as freezing the battery powering the trigger.

Cella
12-02-2013, 06:17 PM
Make sure he's wearing a tactleneck.

Russell Secord
12-03-2013, 02:37 AM
This may be the opposite of what you want, but I had an idea. The bomber adds a remote control to the timer. The bomb tech pushes a button (or whatever), and the timer stops--not because of the button but because the bomber's watching and flips a switch. The bomb tech turns away and tick tick tick, the timer resumes the countdown. It could be a demonic version of Simon Says.

I'm sure there's a reason this wouldn't work, because I've never seen anyone do it. Suppose the explosive is a stack of bricks, something like C4. What's to keep the bomb tech from carving the bricks away from the detonators? The bomb would still go off, but the explosion would be much smaller.

Another impractical idea. The timer is controlled by a circuit board, in effect a small computer (like everything else these days). Convince the computer that it's hooked up to a virtual bomb and then remove the real bomb. Or introduce a virus. Or hit it with a DDOS attack ("use this one weird trick to eliminate the voices in your head").