Liquid blade disables IEDs in Afghanistan

Researchers at Sandia National Labs have developed a “liquid blade” capable of disabling improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The device – which shoots a blade of water and penetrates even steel – is currently being shipped to US troops deployed in Afghanistan.

“The fluid blade disablement tool will be extremely useful to defeat IEDs because it penetrates [them] extremely effectively,” Sandia Labs spokesperson Greg Scharrer told PhysOrg.

“It’s like having a much stronger and much sharper knife.”

So, how does it work?

Well, according to Scharrer, the portable clear plastic device is filled with water along with (controlled) explosive material. 

“When detonated, [it] creates a shock wave that travels through the water and accelerates it inward into a concave opening. Therefore, when the water collides, it produces a thin blade.

“[And] immediately behind the precision water blade is a water slug, which performs a general disruption that tears everything apart.

“[This] allows you to have a high-speed, very precise water blade and do precision type of destruction on whatever improvised explosive device it’s going up against.”