What makes pipe bombs so dangerous compared to other improvised explosives?


What makes pipe bombs so dangerous compared to other improvised explosives?

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Nothing makes them inherently more dangerous.

An explosive device has two primary mechanisms for causing damage/injury: blast effects and fragmentation.

Blast effects are caused by the shock wave created by the rapidly expanding gasses from the explosives.

Fragmentation is material that is part of the device (primary fragmentation) or around the device (secondary fragmentation).

What you are most likely thinking of is pipe bombs made with metal pipe. These tend to break into larger, heavy chunks because most IEDs do not use high-power explosives, they use what the builder has at hand. A high power explosive will normally break the container into smaller pieces. But pipe bombs can also be made with PVC pipe.

Either way a pipe bomb has some sort of primary fragmentation. But other types of devices have the same fragmentation characteristics. Either from using a metal or solid container or by adding material to the device to create the fragmentation.

The piece’s of metal pipe are hard and sharp flying in unpredictable manner. It is possible to detonate the pipe bomb accidentally while building it. Never mess with explosives.

Pipe bombs are improvised devices. You get a metal pipe with threads on either end so you can screw on caps. The pipe is filled with things like nails and ball bearings and other stuff like that plus the explosives. When it goes off, the explosive sends the other contents out a long distance in all directions.

The issue with pipe bombs, nail bombs and other names that these things get called, are the projectiles. The explosion will cause local damage, but the projectiles are going so fast they rip into and through bodies causing injuries in more people around them than would be just from the explosion.

There can be other things added to coat the projectiles. Thing like rat poison that often are strong anticoagulants means that wounds may bleed more than they would, or other substances causing other types of problems

They cause explosion PLUS further injuries/deaths/damage than would occur with the same amount of explosive

Bc they can be relatively small and hidden easily. A dirt truck parked in an unusual area is far more obvious than something placed under side of a vehicle parked along side the street with other cars. So less likely to be detected prior to chance of detonation

Two things. Burst strength and shrapnel.

Think about the loud pop when a balloon breaks vs letting the air out slowly. Containing the explosion in the pipe until it reaches the rupture pressure for the pipe concentrates the force of lower power explosives into more like a pop than a woosh. This is similar to why fireworks that go pop are contained in a tube that’s designed to break.

When the pipe reaches its burst strength, it’s going to come apart, and those bits of metal are going to go flying. While some pipe bombs contain additional shrapnel, the metal pipe itself becomes dangerous.

If you’ve ever watched a video of a flintlock rifle being shot, that initial poof next to the operators head is uncontained gunpowder burning, but the bullet going flying is all of that force being contained and released in a focused way. Granted those are different volumes, but the whoosh by your head is significantly safer than the metal bit sent flying by a contained explosion.

A bunch of ignited gunpowder just flashes. A bunch of gunpowder sealed in something and ignited increases pressure until it bursts its container. The more pressure the container can hold before bursting, the bigger the boom. Gunpowder is stored in containers that are purposely designed very weak so there can be no boom if accidentally ignited. A seam will pop open under the slightest pressure, and the gunpowder will just burn.

A hefty metal pipe plus the end caps is just a container that is easily available, easy to craft into a bomb, and strong enough to create a big boom, plus the metal creates shrapnel. A pipe bomb using PVC pipe is still a pipe bomb, but it won’t be as powerful, the shrapnel not as deadly.

But a pipe is not necessarily any more dangerous than other gunpowder-based explosives.

Availability of material and difficulty of tracking.

Pipe bombs are not more dangerous from an explosive yield point of view but rather are more dangerous as in they are “easy” to make.

Because of their uniform shape it’s also extremely easy to tape additional shrapnel to the body of the pipe.

I saw a design one time, I do not know if it was ever built, of a pipe bomb put into a Pringles can filled up with 2 mm steel BBs.

Easily attainable, easily usable, and very difficult to trace back.

Honestly I feel that we’re lucky people are using guns and not pipe bombs

I wouldn’t say they’re more or less dangerous than other IEDs. They are easy to make and conceal. Won’t raise many red flags getting materials, can stay under the radar of law enforcement. Nasty things.