A UMR professor’s invention that uses the power of water to disarm land mines has been chosen as one of Time magazine’s top inventions of 2002.
Dr. David Summers, Curator’s Professor of mining engineering and director of the Rock Mechanics and Explosives Research Center at UMR, and his research team developed the machine, called ELADIN (for Eliminating Landmines by Aqueous Detection Identification and Neutralization). ELADIN uses high-pressure waterjets to detect and disarm explosives without setting them off. The invention is featured in Time’s Nov. 18 issue, which features the best inventions of 2002.
Summers’ device is based on a simple concept — that of a child’s water pistol. "When a child gets a hold of a water pistol and is spraying things at random, the child probably doesn’t notice that when the water hits different surfaces it makes a different noise," says Summers. The use of waterjets will not only make it easier to find land mines, but also will make it possible to destroy them without causing an explosion, he adds.
"By using a waterjet we focus on the humanitarian side of demining," says Summers, who also is director of UMR’s High Pressure Waterjet Laboratory. "We are trying to help find a way for countries to get rid of land mines without the danger that is normally involved. These mines are the causeof many civilian casualties."