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Development of a mechanical means for antipersonnel landmine neutralization



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Antipersonnel (AP) landmines are cheap and simple weapons used in warfare and other armed conflicts. The most effective and accepted form of landmine clearance is by manual demining, but this method is slow, laborious, costly and hazardous. The use of mechanical devices such as chain flails for landmine neutralization and/or area reduction has the potential of greatly aiding landmine clearance. However, mechanical clearance methods have not been fully accepted in the landmine clearance community due to a lack of knowledge and scientific data the actual soil-tool interaction and the landmine clearance effectiveness. The research objective was to develop a mechanical device for the neutralization of AP landmines. The device was to deliver sufficient force to produce adequate ground deflection for detonation of typical antipersonnel landmines at depths up to 200 mm. Other design parameters included design simplicity, high durability with low and ease of maintenance and flexible operation. A design matrix was employed to select an appropriate design for further analysis, resulting in preliminary testing and evaluation of off the shelf mechanisms, namely a Tamper and a Jackhammer. Key parameters included interaction pressure, sensor deflection and duty cycle. It was concluded that a tamper design resulted in superior demining capabilities. A final testing phase was designed and conducted to further research the effectiveness of the device and to determine optimal operational parameters between two shoe sizes and the number of pass applications. A test rig was designed and fabricated to attach the tamper system onto the Terra Mechanics Rig for test automation. Test results revealed that the small tamper shoe configuration performed better than a larger shoe, but only marginally so. Test results also indicated a two pass operation was optimal and that the proper shoe configuration is dependent on the demining environment. Furthermore, the large magnitudes of interaction pressure, deflection sensor displacement and total impulse indicate that the tamper system is capable of detonating AP landmines at depths of up to 200 mm.



mechanical neutralization, demining, antipersonnel, landmine



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering


Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering


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