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Australian researchers eye fighting fires with explosives

Published on May 22, 2014 5:26 PM
 
Country Fire Authority (CFA) staff member monitoring a giant fire raging in the Bunyip State Park near Labertouche, some 125km west of Melbourne, during Victoria's deadly Black Saturday fires on Feb 7, 2009. Australian researchers are working on fighting out-of-control bushfires with explosives, likening the process of using the soundwave produced by a blast to blowing out a candle. -- PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian researchers are working on fighting out-of-control bushfires with explosives, likening the process of using the soundwave produced by a blast to blowing out a candle.

Dr Graham Doig of Sydney's University of New South Wales has been examining how blasts can extinguish fires, a technique sometimes used on oil well blazes.

In one test, he detonated an explosion inside a four-metre steel tube to produce a shockwave and rush of air aimed at a metre-high flame fuelled by a propane burner.

"The sudden change in pressure across the shockwave, and then the impulse of the airflow behind it, pushed the flame straight off the fuel source," he said. "As soon as the flame doesn't have access to fuel anymore, it stops burning."

 
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