The science of explosives | DW Documentary

Few discoveries have shaped the history of humanity as much as explosives. This science documentary focuses on the destructive and the positive powers of dynamite, TNT and their ilk.

From the mini detonations of airbags that protect motorists from injury, to movies’ special effects to the highly complex demolition of a high-rise: explosives figure in our daily lives much more frequently than we might think.

Modern life would be inconceivable with explosives. Material for new roads or rail systems is quarried using explosives. Airbags inflate in milliseconds and save lives – thanks to tiny explosions. Many cars are now fitted with pedestrian protection systems that function according to the same principle.

In the United States, researchers are using explosives to create new substances and nanoparticles that could revolutionize motor technology. These substances are extremely durable and heat-resistant, as well as being excellent electrical conductors. The nanoparticles facilitate the manufacture of more powerful electronic components, and can thus significantly reduce the time it takes to charge batteries.

These super materials can only be created thanks to the high pressure and temperature created during detonation. Explosives unleash powerful forces in millionths of a second – and this film explores the many diverse ways humans have founf to harness this extraordinary force.

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