Release of Explosive-Related Vapors
from Land Mines
DANIEL C. LEGGETT, JAMES H. CRAGIN, THOMAS F. JENKINS, AND THOMAS A. RANNEY
Table 1. Brief descriptions of the land mines tested.
PMA1A. Box-type polyvinyl chloride antipersonnel mine
known to emit vapors of TNT and DNT isomers (Leg-
with loose, hinged lid.
gett et al. 1977). Mines containing RDX or its mixtures
Dimensions: 14.4 6.4 3.5 cm.
Contains 200 g TNT.
(O'Reilly et al. 1973, Jenkins et al. 1973). Mines are
PMA2. Cylindrical polystyrene antipersonnel mine.
Dimensions: 6.4 2.7 cm.
also contaminated with explosive-related chemicals
(ERC) on their surfaces (Leggett et al. 2000), which
Contains 100 g TNT and 13 g RDX booster.
are a source of vapors for many days (Bender et al.
PPM2. Tapered cylindrical plastic (polyethylene?)
1992). These emitted vapors are sorbed and concen-
Dimensions: 12.5 (base) 8.2 (top) 6.3 cm.
trated in soil around buried land mines* (George et al.
Contains 130 g TNT.
1999, Jenkins et al. 2000). The success with which canines
locate buried mines suggests an olfactory process--chem-
TMA5. Rectangular polystyrene box-type antitank mine.
Dimensions: 30 28 10 cm.
ical sensing of airborne vapors or vapor-contaminated
Contains 5300 g TNT and 200 g RDX booster.
particles, or both. Efforts are now underway to develop
electronic sensors for these vapors. This report quanti-
TMM1. Cylindrical metal antitank mine.
Dimensions: 33 9.0 cm.
fies the effect of temperature on the flux of vapors emit-
Contains 5600 g TNT.
ted by several types of mines under controlled labora-
VS-50. Cylindrical plastic antipersonnel mine.
Dimensions: 9.0 4.5 cm.
Contains 43 g RDX.
Tedlar bags (Norton) were purchased from Fisher.
The following types of land mines were provided
Various sizes were used as appropriate for the different
by the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency
land mines. They were modified by cutting off one end
(DARPA): PMA1A, PMA2, PPM2, VS-50, TMA5, and
so the mine could be inserted. We sealed the bags with
TMM1. These are described briefly in Table 1. Two
plastic crimp seals (I2R), then placed them in commer-
each of the anti-tank mines were used in experiments,
cial ice chests in a thermostatically controlled room,
while four or five anti-personnel mines of each type
and closed the lids. Temperatures ranged from 3 to
were employed. All the mines contain TNT as the main
34C for different experiments. Experiments ran from
charge except VS-50, in which RDX is the main charge.
2 to 7 days, depending on the temperature and mine
type. Thermocouples were used to monitor the temper-
ature inside the coolers and readings were periodically
* Personal communication with P.J. Rodacy, Sandia National Labo-
recorded with a data logger. Temperature variation in-