From the Office of Naval Research
By combining several metals with standard manufacturing techniques, High-Density Reactive Material (HDRM) has the potential to dramatically increase the explosive impact of most weapons with little or no compromise in strength or design.
Unlike conventional munitions, the innovative materials approach integrates the casing with approved warhead explosives for increased lethality.
In addition, the unique design for fragmenting warheads allows release of chemical energy after impact, increasing the probability of a catastrophic kill.
© 2011 Revolutionary Material Dramatically Increases Explosive Force of Weapons, Office of Naval Research (10 August 2011) (paragraph split)
Some people in our perpetually-at-war culture will be happy — but I have doubts
I don’t see this as a particularly desirable use of science and engineering.
In a saner policing-oriented world, we would benefit from more precisely targeted and constrained explosives. Increasing the kill-diameter (as the ONR implies this development does) and the hit-lethality of our weapons seems to go the wrong way.
If bomb-making terrorists get their hands on the new technology, there’s going to be hell to pay. The likelihood of that happening appears to me to exceed their chances of getting their mitts on nuclear weapons.
The moral? — Greed outstrips our ability to think clearly
One has to wonder about the military-industrial complex’s big-picture sanity.
With IEDs and left-over mines making the world an already overly hazardous place, this particular bit of life-destroying engineering is innovation where we least need it.