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J.S.Fairey
05-23-2014, 10:09 PM
Evening (or whatever time it is where you are) folks.

Just a couple of quickies about explosives here: firstly, if you were a group of rebels with little access to actual weapons, but access to an Amazon warehouse/supermarket/something similar, what would you use to boost your explosives power? Fire extinguishers? Deodorant cans (I'm not sure that would actually work). I've tried searching, but for some reason there's not that much information on home-made explosives on the internet... and I'd rather not search too deeply for fear of what I might find.

Secondly, how much explosives would feasibly be required to blow a hole in a bridge? This bridge, to be precise: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lambeth_Bridge Could a group of rag tag rebels with a small amount of dynamite and whatever they could lay their hands on do that kind of damage?

Yeesh, this post looks dodgy! I swear, this is purely story research, there's nothing untoward going on here!

Thanks everybody.

King Neptune
05-23-2014, 10:15 PM
What sort of hole do you want in the bridge? And does it have to use an explosion?

Don't worry. If had really wanted to punch a hole in the Lambeth Bridge, then you probably would already have done so.

AuthorUnknown
05-23-2014, 10:19 PM
*backs away slooooooowly*

The only thing that's coming to me is gasoline and orange juice makes napalm, thanks Chuck Palahniuk. (FYI, it doesn't really work. Not that I've tried. I swear)

J.S.Fairey
05-23-2014, 10:49 PM
What sort of hole do you want in the bridge? And does it have to use an explosion?

The idea was that a battle was taking place in London, and the rebels would draw the opposition army onto the bridge and then blow it up, before ambushing them and trapping them between the hole in the bridge and the oncoming rebels.

King Neptune
05-23-2014, 11:39 PM
The idea was that a battle was taking place in London, and the rebels would draw the opposition army onto the bridge and then blow it up, before ambushing them and trapping them between the hole in the bridge and the oncoming rebels.

Fertilizer and diesel oil make a dandy explosive, and it's the sort of thing that can be mixed up easily. That's probably your best bet. If you search the internet, then you certainly will find directions with proportions and so on; although any excess will burn quite nicely.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ANFO

J.S.Fairey
05-24-2014, 03:04 AM
Thanks King Neptune, that's really helpful! :)

BDSEmpire
05-24-2014, 05:03 AM
You can read up on loads of nifty things thanks to the Army Technical Manual "TM 31-210 - Improvised Munitions Handbook". It's nice and compact and readily available at Army/Navy Surplus stores here in the US or at least it used to be.

Shaped charges to "cut" support girders and the like and great big piles of thermite would actually be one way to go about this. Happily for your story, both of those are easily available and made from common ingredients. You have to be careful how you order the stuff but it wouldn't be far fetched that over the course of a couple months you could rig up some pretty impressive munitions that would wreck the bridge for regular traffic. It wouldn't destroy it, but put a big damn hole across the thing to deny regular access for a bit.

If you want to play with the conventions a bit and go for a more fun/realistic scenario, have your group of rebels assemble all this stuff thanks to internet recipes and then stand there with a stupid expression on their faces as it fizzles out or emits a dull puff of smoke. If you are George RR Martin then just have them blow themselves up transporting this to their destination because they didn't read the part in the directions where it says "This will blow up in your face, don't ever attempt this at home."

TheNighSwan
05-24-2014, 01:42 PM
*backs away slooooooowly*

The only thing that's coming to me is gasoline and orange juice makes napalm, thanks Chuck Palahniuk. (FYI, it doesn't really work. Not that I've tried. I swear)

Napalm is gelified gazoline; while the orange juice bit seems nonsense, I heard you can actually make napalm pretty easily by letting simply letting expanded polystyrene dissolve in a container of gazoline.

However, napalm is an incendiary weapon, not an explosive; it can explode under certain conditions, but it's probably unfit to destroy or damage concrete structures.

waylander
05-24-2014, 02:28 PM
Napalm also contains tri-alkyl aluminium which makes it ignite in air. Without that all you've got in a sticky oil.

Bolero
05-24-2014, 02:57 PM
Fertilizer and diesel oil make a dandy explosive, and it's the sort of thing that can be mixed up easily. That's probably your best bet. If you search the internet, then you certainly will find directions with proportions and so on; although any excess will burn quite nicely.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ANFO

Not any more it doesn't, at least in the UK and the USA. All ammonium nitrate fertilizers have inhibitors put in them - it is at the bottom of the Wiki article.

waylander
05-24-2014, 03:18 PM
You can read up on loads of nifty things thanks to the Army Technical Manual "TM 31-210 - Improvised Munitions Handbook". It's nice and compact and readily available at Army/Navy Surplus stores here in the US or at least it used to be.

Shaped charges to "cut" support girders and the like and great big piles of thermite would actually be one way to go about this. Happily for your story, both of those are easily available and made from common ingredients. You have to be careful how you order the stuff but it wouldn't be far fetched that over the course of a couple months you could rig up some pretty impressive munitions that would wreck the bridge for regular traffic. It wouldn't destroy it, but put a big damn hole across the thing to deny regular access for a bit.



Much less readily available in the UK, I think

King Neptune
05-24-2014, 05:21 PM
Thanks King Neptune, that's really helpful! :)

If the inhibitors get in the way, then thermite will readily burn through the decking or the support beams, depending on how much damage you want to do.

WeaselFire
05-24-2014, 08:23 PM
A truck full of fuel oil and fertilizer makes a dandy way of taking out a Federal building in Oklahoma...

Grab a copy of the Anarchist's Cookbook for starters. Hit the internet for all the info you will ever need.

Jeff

BDSEmpire
05-24-2014, 09:10 PM
Much less readily available in the UK, I think

13.00 off Amazon.co.uk. Well, assuming you're an Amazon Prime member and don't have to pay for shipping.


That's the scary thing about thermite from a law enforcement perspective - the ingredients are readily available and used in a variety of normal crafting and industrial settings. Happily, few people know how to make the stuff and fewer still make it with mischief in mind.

For shaped charges, the ingredients are a little more difficult to source but that's why you use the recipes in the Improvised Munitions Handbook - they assume you don't have access to normal supply chains for your chemicals.

King Neptune
05-24-2014, 09:35 PM
That's the scary thing about thermite from a law enforcement perspective - the ingredients are readily available and used in a variety of normal crafting and industrial settings. Happily, few people know how to make the stuff and fewer still make it with mischief in mind.


But most of the people who know how to make it, even if they have "evil intent" are rather leery of playing with the stuff. Temperatures of 2500 C can be rather dangerous, especially if you have a substantial quantity.

TheNighSwan
05-25-2014, 02:49 PM
Napalm also contains tri-alkyl aluminium which makes it ignite in air. Without that all you've got in a sticky oil.

There are several variations I think? While self-igniting napalm is a thing, default napalm is indeed "just" sticky oil that requires an external ignition source (like thermite or white phosphorus); as far as I know at least.

King Neptune
05-25-2014, 05:26 PM
There are several variations I think? While self-igniting napalm is a thing, default napalm is indeed "just" sticky oil that requires an external ignition source (like thermite or white phosphorus); as far as I know at least.

A simple match will light napalm quite nicely.

TheNighSwan
05-25-2014, 10:16 PM
Right. Thermite or white phosphorus is just what napalm bombs commonly use, but any source of combustion will do.

cmhbob
05-25-2014, 11:26 PM
I just remembered something from California a while back. There was a fuel tanker that caught fire on a freeway overpass, like maybe on the I-5? It got hot enough to melt the supporting girders, as I recall.

Yep, here it is: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Tanker-fire-destroys-part-of-MacArthur-Maze-2-2575285.php

Can you work this in?

badwolf.usmc
05-26-2014, 08:49 AM
If you want it to be easy, and professional, aim for the embankments.

Bolero
05-26-2014, 02:49 PM
A truck full of fuel oil and fertilizer makes a dandy way of taking out a Federal building in Oklahoma...

Grab a copy of the Anarchist's Cookbook for starters. Hit the internet for all the info you will ever need.

Jeff

Unless the info also includes removing the inhibitor, really doesn't work anymore. The inhibitor was introduced after Oklahoma and also bombings in NI.

Regarding a big fire - well yes, motorways finish being closed for a while if there is an accident and a big fire, big enough to scar or even set on fire the tarmac. Depends on whether you want to close the bridge for a bit, or really, really knock a hole in it. After a big fire or any kind of damage (e.g. double decker bus driving into a railway bridge - repeat occurrence in UK when a bus is sent down a diversion, or the single decker for the route breaks down and someone thoughtlessly sends out a double decker etc) then you have to wait for engineers assessments before the bridge is re-opened.