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Biodegradable Landmine
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In this era of politically correct anti-personnel devices...

I would like to propose a solution to a problem facing today's conscientious Dictators. The land-mines that are sown so casually today, are often forgotten. Having performed their rightful role of quelling insurrection and eliminating war correspondents, they have a nasty habit of blowing up your own troops 10 years on. How often have you said, "I'm sorry, the dog ate my minefield map".

My solution is to make the fuse or perhaps the whole mine biodegradable. The landmines could still be bought in the same quantities, large, family-size or economy. This has one added advantage, the chemicals used are based on fertilizers (see explosive root growth). This will also lead to simpler purchasing as mines, would then be available from all good garden centres.

riposte, Mar 22 2001

Explosive Root Growth http://www.discoverycube.org/res_nit.htm
(remember: Always ask an adult to help you...) [riposte, Mar 22 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Biodegradable Landmines (1995) http://www.zeta.org...s/landminesdoc.html
Presented at the PARARI Ordnance Conference, March 1995, Canberra, Australia [jutta, Mar 22 2001]

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       Perhaps, the landmines could incorporate a small piece of cheese [patent pending]. As it matures, the scent would become irresistable, thus attracting that other peril of war - Rats.   

       The unfortunate rodents would gnaw at the mine, either triggering or disarming the device. Our furry friends would thus be helping to rid us of this menace (and themselves).
riposte, Mar 22 2001

       *sniff, sniff* "Y'smell that, boy? That's whut they call 'cheese'. Any smart soldier /knows/ not ta go anywhere near a field of cheese."   

       Hey, Peter, don't most landmines "go off without warning" intentionally? heh. I would think that if forgotten landmines went off for no apparent reason (as in, without being stepped on, meaning that there were not a body in the area to do the stepping), that that would help solve the problem. If they're just blasting at random but not killing people, then they're taking care of themselves, right?
absterge, Mar 22 2001

       And what is to prevent any collateral damage from the popping fields? Better they turned into duds for tree food.
wasraw, Mar 22 2001

       Ideally, they'll explode right before the beginning of planting season, thus auto-plowing the field.
hello_c, Mar 22 2001

       Any one else read this as "ELZ and Mine" and ignore it the first time through?
centauri, Mar 22 2001

       Make it so the top layer exposes bread crumbs, that'll take care of the pigeons
thumbwax, Mar 22 2001

       But seriously, materials exist that lend themselves to this purpose. Plastics containing free-radical generating compounds maintain their strength over long periods, then disintegrate over a few weeks as a result of a chain reaction. [1] When the explosive is no longer encased the explosion causes less damage. [2] A trip mechanism that has degraded will no longer trigger the device...   

       [ooh, what happened there] Sorry, folks. I completely lost it for a moment. The reason that mines don't rust away is because, they are plastic and metal-detectors would be considered unsporting...
riposte, Mar 23 2001, last modified Mar 26 2001

       custard powder filled mines? that can expolde AND biodegrade (i think)
chud, Apr 07 2001

       Biodegradable landmines... There are many landmines made of wood (ie. TMN-42, MZD-10 used by former Warsaw Pact countries) though I don't know if much has been decided about what happens when they rot. My experience with landmines would suggest to me that, as these mines are usually detonated by having weight break through the top of the wooden housing and striking a small plate on the primary fuse, they would still be capable of detonating, though it would be far more difficult. That's not much consolation if 7.5kg of high explosive detonates under your feet, entering you into the "Infamous Red-Mist Society", though.   

       As far as mines that detonate spontaneoulsy, NATO employs a range of mines that are magnetically influenced, and while i've never seen one go off, rumour has it they are sensitive enough to be set off by the fillings in someone's teeth. Seems kinda random-like to me.
mighty_cheese, Sep 08 2001

       Modern mines are actually programmed to go off after some period of time. Of course this does not apply to the old ones buried in the fields but if ever an industrialized country dropped some of them, they would include this feature. Still, they *are* dangerous. Imagine the following scene: Two months after the war, the chieftain of some remote village shouts out: "10..9..8..7..6..5 the mines from the last war are going off! everybody duck!"
Saruman, Jun 08 2002

       I thought that the wealthier nations already had policies (though not formal commitments) to use only self-disabling mines. Such mines cost a bit more, though.
wiml, Jun 09 2002


       i remember hearing the in parts of africa they already use traind rats in mine clearance.
j paul, May 30 2011

       my understanding is that modern landmines used by industrialized nations can be turned on and off by radio transmitter and maybe can be found in a similar way after burial
EdwinBakery, May 31 2011

       my understanding is that modern landmines used by industrialized nations can be turned on and off by radio transmitter and maybe can be found in a similar way after burial
EdwinBakery, May 31 2011

       Even a " smart mine " is still a concealed explosive device waiting to blow somebody up. Nothing is certain ecept that more civilians are injured and killed by landmines than active combatants.
Alterother, May 31 2011

       //more civilians are injured and killed by landmines than active combatants// I wonder what that statistic is like for bullets.
mouseposture, Jun 01 2011

       //modern landmines used by industrialized nations can be turned on and off by radio transmitter//   

       cite ?   

       Anybody got a working link for a biodegradable landmine ?
FlyingToaster, Jun 01 2011

       [mouse] I'm sure the ratio is lower but still horrifyingly high. Alas, nobody has yet found a method of fighting a 'clean' war. I'm working on it, though, and I'll get back to you when I've got a working hypotheosis.
Alterother, Jun 01 2011

       // I wonder what that statistic is like for bullets. //   

       Very location-dependant. In most urban firefights, the ratio is not good, particularly if anything bigger than man-portable small arms are used.   

       // I'll get back to you when I've got a working hypotheosis //   

       Thanks, we could do with a laugh.
8th of 7, Jun 01 2011


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