‘Take aim, press print’ – military tests 3D-printed explosives
Research unit examines the front-line potential of additive manufacturing
Credit: Sebastian Willnow/DPA/PA Images
The government’s military research unit is testing the potential use of 3D-printing technologies in manufacturing explosives.
The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory said that being able to print explosives “offers numerous benefits” for users, “including reducing storage and transport costs, and enhanced performance with reproducibility”.
“Charges can be printed on demand, bespoke to requirements, in novel and intricate designs previously impossible to manufacture,” it added. “Many organisations are looking at different stages of 3D printing, but Dstl is the only place in the UK that is working on an end-to-end process of this kind with high explosives.”
Work on the project is “currently in testing stages”, it said, with efforts primarily focused on examining potential materials and the capabilities of existing printers. Later on, the programme will “move on to examining explosive characteristics of a print including utilising charge geometry to create different explosive effects”.
Being able to understand how the shape of an explosive alters its effect “could lead to bespoke printing for individual missions in a warzone, providing an amplification of an effect with less material”.
A spokesperson for the military research unit claimed it was crucially important that funding continue to be made available for government bodies to conduct this work.
“Without investment, the UK capability would die,” they said. “It’s up to MOD to make sure that doesn’t happen, as industry has limited or no capability in many critical areas.”
The 3D-printed explosives work is part of the Future Energetics Project – a programme backed by £10m of Ministry of Defence funding designed to arrest a “national decline in the energetics sector”.
London Grid for Learning floats potential nine-year deal
Campaign groups Foxglove and The Citizens to launch court case in two weeks if practice is not stopped
Consultation commenced on efficacy of Computer Misuse Act
The ex-prime minister’s sent more than 70 messages to ministers and officials regarding Greensill Capital
PublicTechnology talks to Salesforce about why police forces need to adopt new omnichannel capabilities, offer the public channel choice and the benefits of doing so
It’s been one of the most challenging years for healthcare providers, but Salesforce sees lasting change from accelerated digital transformation