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Where do these diamonds come from?

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    I watched the current episode of Guns & Ammo TV Thursday night and they showed a short clip on “Big Ballistics” at a test range run by New Mexico Tech at Socorro, New Mexico, which is a ways south of Albuquerque.  The facility has the acronym of EMRTC, or the Energetic Materials Research Testing Center, apparently a section at NM Tech, otherwise known as New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

    EMRTC does research and testing for governments and industries, with a focus on large ballistics and explosives.  They showed several videos of howitzer-class guns firing and explosions, using their really high-tech cameras.  They can track a projectile emerging from a cannon and follow it as it spins down range.  Most of these high-speed cameras use spinning-mirror technology and now they can use it to pan across the projectile path as it moves up to several hundred yards (?) downrange.  You can watch the label on the projectile rotating as it spins.  The image is such that the projectile is perfectly centered in the frame throughout the period of the video clip.  Incredible.

    They showed a clip of a saboted projectile (presumably depleted uranium) impacting barriers and explained that they were working on optimal sabot design as well as researching the best propellants and such.

    I thought that at least some of you would find that interesting, but what I thought was most interesting for us was a high-speed video of an explosive fired down a pipe, which was packed with graphite.  The objective is to produce diamond particles for polishing in industry.  Huh?  Who’d athunk it?

    For those who are dubious about firing an explosive down a pipe, consider that there is a great deal of science in shaped charges, which can focus the destructive effects of a charge to a point where the most damage (or desired effect) can be done.  I once saw a video of a shaped charge being set off and aimed at a 1″ thick steel plate about six feet away.  The charge blew a one-inch diameter hole in the steel plate, as if somebody really good with a blow torch had at it.  I think they could just as well aim it down a pipe.

    How do shaped charges work?  Beats me, as it defies everything I thought I knew about pressure following the path of least resistance.  I do wish I was young enough to go to that school. Blow shit up for a living?  Rats.  I hate being old.

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