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Encyclopedia > Time bomb (explosive)
A classic time bomb: a bundle of dynamite sticks with a wind-up alarm clock as timer
A classic time bomb: a bundle of dynamite sticks with a wind-up alarm clock as timer

A time bomb is usually an improvised explosive device comprised of a power source, often a battery, detonator, explosive charge, and timer, which substitutes for a fuse or trigger. Depending upon the design, the bomb can be set to detonate any time between a few minutes and several days after it has been secreted within the target area; also, a fake fuse, which serves no actual purpose in the bomb, can be implanted as a failsafe in case of discovery; the discoverer, thinking that the bomb is harmless as the fuse is not lit, may carry the bomb on their person to report it to authorities, unaware that it will still explode. The delay allows the person placing the bomb: Dynamite is an explosive based on the explosive potential of nitroglycerin, initially using diatomaceous earth (Kieselguhr) as an adsorbent. ... A digital clock radio with digital tuning A wind-up, spring-driven alarm clock A basic digital clock radio with analog tuning An alarm clock is a clock that is designed to make an alert sound at a specific date and/or time. ... Munitions rigged for an IED discovered by Iraqi police in Baghdad, November 2005. ... Four double-A (AA) rechargeable batteries In science and technology, a battery is a device that stores chemical energy and makes it available in an electrical form. ... A detonator is a device used to trigger bombs, shaped charges and other forms of explosive material and explosive devices. ... This article is concerned solely with chemical explosives. ... A simple digital timer. ... In an explosive device, a fuse (or fuze) is the part of the device that causes it to function. ... A US Army 45 Colt. ... Detonation is a process of supersonic combustion that involves a shock wave and a reaction zone behind it. ... The term Fail-safe is used to describe: A device which, if (or when) it fails, fails in a way that will cause no harm or at least a minimum of harm to other devices or danger to personnel. ...

  • to move away from the blast radius to avoid hurting themselves
  • to move away to be more difficult to be identified as the planter of the time bomb
  • to place the device when nobody is present, and set it to detonate when victims are expected to be around.

Compare with devices where the delay is shorter (eg. 4–5 seconds for a hand grenade); or other methods of triggering, such as by remote control, or some kind of sensor, such as air pressure (altitude/barometric), radar, vibration or contact (landmine or trip-wire mine), and the case of a suicide attack, where no delay is needed. For the alcoholic beverage sold in New Orleans, see hand grenade (drink). ... The Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb produced in the United States. ... A television remote control A DVD player remote control A remote control is an electronic device used for the remote operation of a machine. ... Air pressure can refer to: Atmospheric pressure, the pressure of air environmentally Pressure of air in a system Air pressure is the pressure of the atmosphere pushing down on the earth. ... Altitude is the elevation of an object from a known level or datum. ... Schematic drawing of a simple mercury barometer with vertical mercury column and reservoir at base A barometer is an instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure. ... This long range Radar antenna, known as ALTAIR, is used to detect and track space objects in conjunction with ABM testing at the Ronald Reagan Test Site on the Kwajalein atoll[1]. Radar is a system that uses radio waves to determine and map the location, direction, and/or speed... Oscillation is the variation, typically in time, of some measure as seen, for example, in a swinging pendulum. ... U.S. Army soldier removes fuse from a Russian-made mine to clear a minefield outside of Fallujah, Iraq. ... A tripwire is a passive triggering mechanism, usually/originally employed for military purposes, although its principle has been used since prehistory for methods of trapping game. ... A suicide attack is an attack in which the attacker (attacker being either an individual or a group) intends to kill others and intends to die in the process of doing so (see suicide). ...


Construction and usage


Explosive charge

The explosive charge is the main component of any bomb, and makes up most of the size and weight of them. It is the damaging element of the bomb (along with any fragments or shrapnel the deflagration might produce with neighboring objects). Most explosives cannot ignite with simple sparks; they require a source of heat high enough to start the combustion (or chain reaction in case of nuclear explosives), which makes them easy and safe to store and handle. A fragment is a computer graphics term for all of the data necessary needed to generate a pixel in the frame buffer. ... A sectioned Shrapnel shell displayed at the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa For other uses, see Shrapnel (disambiguation). ... Combustion or burning is a complex sequence of chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant accompanied by the production of heat or both heat and light in the form of either a glow or flames. ... A chain reaction is a sequence of reactions where a reactive product or by-product causes additional reactions. ...


Timers have varied through the years. Early time bombs use wind-up alarm clocks, which trigger the bomb when the alarm rings at the set time. Modern timers are electronic; on the low-tech end of the scale, cheap wrist watches are used and the bombs are triggered when the alarm beeps at the set time, and, on the high-tech end, sophisticated programmable devices such as dismounted computer laptops are used and the bombs can be triggered at a relative or absolute time (see Programming the timer below). A digital clock radio with digital tuning A wind-up, spring-driven alarm clock A basic digital clock radio with analog tuning An alarm clock is a clock that is designed to make an alert sound at a specific date and/or time. ... The term low-technology is a description of those crafts and tools whose inception (typically) predates the Industrial Revolution. ... In naval parlance, watches are a timekeeping convention. ... Beep may refer to: Beep (sound) BEEP, Blocks Extensible Exchange Protocol, a framework for creating network application protocols Beep (SWBLW), a one-of-a-kind switcher locomotive built in 1970 by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. ... High tech refers to technology that is at the cutting-edge—the most advanced technology currently available. ... A laptop computer, or simply laptop (also notebook computer or notebook), is a small mobile computer, which usually weighs 2. ...


The detonator is the source of heat that will start the combustion (or chain reaction in case of nuclear explosives). It is itself an explosive, with a lower ignition point than the main explosive charge. The detonator itself is ignited by another even lower source of heat, usually an electrical spark. A well-made bomb has a detonator just large enough to ignite the main explosive charge, but small enough to minimize the bomb's total size and weight.

Power source

Almost all power sources are electrical batteries. They supply power to spark the detonator, and, in case of electronic timers, supply power to the timers as well. A well-made bomb has a battery just strong enough to spark the detonator, but small enough to minimize the bomb's total size and weight.

Assembly and activation

Diagram of a simple time bomb
Diagram of a simple time bomb

Time bomb in a pipe. ... Time bomb in a pipe. ...

Connecting the wires

Explosive charges can be grouped in one single bundle (to maximize the explosive damage) or grouped in several ones spread across an area (to demolish a building, for example). Each explosive bundle (whether single or multiple) has a detonator, and two wires link from each detonator to the timer and the power source. Another wire links the power source to the timer. Extra care must be taken when the detonator is being connected to the power source; if a short circuit happens, the detonator might be sparked prematurely and the bomb blows up in the bombmaker's hands. A massive crane is used to demolish this tower block in northern England Demolition is the opposite of construction: the tearing-down of buildings and other structures. ... For other uses, see Building (disambiguation). ...

Bundling the components

In a typical, compact time bomb, the detonator is placed in the center or on top of the explosive charge. The timer and power source are placed on top or to the side of them. The components are then wired and taped together, usually with electrical tape or any other strong tape. In the case of multiple explosive bundles, each bundle has its explosive charge and detonator taped together first, then each bundle is placed at its designated location, and, when all bundles are placed, they are wired together to the timer and power source. Electrical tape, standard black Electrical tape, color coded (grounding) Electrical tape is a type of pressure-sensitive tape used to insulate electrical wires and other material that conduct electricity. ...

In the case of a bomb concealed inside a container (briefcase, box, bag, etc), the components are arranged and attached in the shape of the container before being placed inside it. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... An empty corrugated box An elaborate wooden box Boxes are highly variable receptacles. ... For other uses, see Bag (disambiguation). ...

Programming the timer

Old wind-up alarm clocks and wrist watches are set to explode when the currently displayed time reaches a certain set time. It is usually to set to an exact "xx hours and yy minutes" time, and are mostly used to destroy one or many targets at a specific time, such as a train passing at a station at the same time everyday. They are used when a target's passage at a certain point is known, regular and predictable. An SP freight train west of Chicago in 1992. ... Passengers bustle around the typical grand edifice of Londons Broad Street Station in 1865. ...

Bombs with modern timers are more flexible and easier (more intuitive) to program. They can be set to explode "yy minutes and zz seconds" from any given time (usually the current time). They are mostly used in an improvized way, without knowing or being capable to predict a target's passage, or to destroy non-moving targets such as parked vehicles and buildings. They can be compared to grenades, but with much more explosive force. The Trikke is a Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) This article is about the means of transport. ... Grenade may refer to: The well-known hand grenade commonly used by soldiers. ...

Of course, the time between the bomb's programming and the bomb's explosion must be long enough to allow the bomb planter to walk away from the blast site before it explodes, preventing injury to himself.

Planting the bomb

Open bombs are placed directly on the target, or around it if the target is very large. They can be placed on the ground or on a wall or side of the target. When the timer is set, the bomb planter walk away from the bomb to a cover (a location which protects him from the bomb's blast) and waits for the bomb to explode before proceeding his course. In military combat cover can either refer to a barrier (usually already at the scene of battle) which can be used for protection or concealment, or it can refer to the shielding or protection of persons on the battlefield (usually on the move) by those with either superior training/equipment...

Concealed bombs are carried with their container (briefcase, box, bag, etc) to the blast location, and dropped silently next to a more-or-less inconspicous object such as a bench, a table or a cart. Most passer-bys will not notice the container, and those who see it will most likely walk by without picking it up, thiking that the next person who passes by will bring it to the lost and found. Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Benches Snow covered park bench Classic garden bench Bench may refer to several things: A long backless seat, typically used for sitting at an outdoor table for casual eating. ... Look up table in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A simple wooden cart in Australia A cart transporting watermelons in Harbin, China. ... Lost And Found is a Christian rock band from the United States. ...

When the timer reaches the programmed time

When the timer's alarm rings or countdown reaches zero, an electrical circuit is closed and power is fed to the detonator(s), igniting them and causing the bomb to explode. The timer, power source and wires are destroyed (vaporized) in the explosion, but there are some cases where some pieces remained intact after the blast, providing clues to forensic investigators. An electrical network or electrical circuit is an interconnection of analog electrical elements such as resistors, inductors, capacitors, diodes, switches and transistors. ... Look up Clue in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Forensics or forensic science is the application of science to questions which are of interest to the legal system. ...

Time bomb defusal

Time bombs are very difficult to defuse if they are well-made. Bomb defusers face not only the stress of time running out, but also the complexity of the electronic circuits and possibility of additional timer or power backups. Cutting a wrong wire may cause the countdown to accelerate or trigger an immediate explosion. Sometimes a special algorithm might be triggered, such as one causing the countdown to stop momentarily then resume several seconds later, fooling the bomb defuser that the bomb has been defused, lowering his guard. In medical terms, stress is a physical or psychological stimulus that can produce mental or physiological reactions that may lead to illness. ... In information technology, backup refers to the copying of data so that these additional copies may be restored after a data loss event. ... In mathematics, computing, linguistics, and related disciplines, an algorithm is a finite set of well-defined instructions for accomplishing some task which, given an initial state, will terminate in a defined end-state. ...

Whatever method is used, whatever wire is cut, as long at the end no electricity from the power source can reach and spark the detonator, the bomb can no longer explode and is considered neutralized.

In popular culture

Representation of a custom user-made C4 bomb model for the computer game Counter-Strike
Representation of a custom user-made C4 bomb model for the computer game Counter-Strike

Time bombs are very common in action/thriller TV series, cartoons and films, where heroes often escape the blast area or defuse the bombs at the very last second (often performing a spectacular stunt). C4 or C-4 can mean: C4 chicano rapper C4 carbon fixation, a pathway for carbon fixation in photosynthesis. ... Counter-Strike (CS) is a popular team-based mod of Valves first-person shooter (FPS) Half-Life. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... The thriller is a broad genre of literature, film, and television. ... A television program is the content of television broadcasting. ... Cartoons started in the 1930s and 40s. ... Film may refer to: photographic film a motion picture in academics, the study of motion pictures as an art form a thin skin or membrane, or any covering or coating, whether transparent or opaque a thin layer of liquid, either on a solid or liquid surface or free-standing Film... Heroine (female hero) redirects here. ... It has been suggested that Improvised Explosive Device Disposal be merged into this article or section. ... An under 16s motorbike display team perform a potentially dangerous stunt A stunt is an unusual and difficult physical feat, or any act requiring a special skill, performed for artistic purposes in TV, theatre or cinema. ...

Such TV series include:

Notable films of recent times include: Knight Rider was a popular US-American television series that ran between September 26, 1982, and August 8, 1986. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...

Classic films include: Die Hard: With a Vengeance, the third film in the Die Hard series starring Bruce Willis as policeman John McClane, adds Samuel L. Jackson as Zeus Carver, Willis reluctant partner. ... The Peacemaker is a 1997 thriller and action movie starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... New Police Story Chinese DVD cover New Police Story (Chinese: 新警察故事) is a 2004 Hong Kong crime-action film, directed by Benny Chan. ...

They are also the subject of computer and video games, where the player must plant a time bomb or defuse it, depending on which faction he belongs to in that game. For the Ian Fleming novel, see Goldfinger. ... This article is about computer and video games. ... A faction is a special interest group. ...

Such games include:

Musical references include: Counter-Strike (CS) is a popular team-based mod of Valves first-person shooter (FPS) Half-Life. ... Sonic Adventure 2 ) is a video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, developed by Sonic Team for the Sega Dreamcast, and later ported as an update to the Nintendo Gamecube. ... Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (commonly abbreviated MGS2) is a stealth-based game that was developed and published by Konami for the PlayStation 2 in 2001. ... Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory (ET) is a freeware first-person shooter (FPS) computer game, and a standalone sequel to Return to Castle Wolfenstein, created by Splash Damage. ...

The explosives most often used in those works of fiction are C4 and dynamite, though other explosives such as gasoline & fertilizer mixtures, TNT and nuclear explosives are also common. Rancid is a punk band formed in 1991 in Berkeley, California, by Matt Freeman and Tim Armstrong. ... Godsmack is a band formed in 1996 from Massachusetts. ... Preparing C-4 explosive C-4 or Composition C-4 is a common variety of military plastic explosive. ... Dynamite is an explosive based on the explosive potential of nitroglycerin, initially using diatomaceous earth (Kieselguhr) as an adsorbent. ... Gasoline or petrol is a petroleum-derived liquid mixture consisting mostly of hydrocarbons and enhanced with benzene or iso-octane to increase octane ratings, used as fuel in internal combustion engines. ... Spreading manure, an organic fertilizer Fertilizers (British English fertilisers) are compounds given to plants to promote growth; they are usually applied either via the soil, for uptake by plant roots, or by foliar feeding, for uptake through leaves. ... R-phrases S-phrases Related Compounds Related compounds picric acid hexanitrobenzene Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 Â°C, 100 kPa) Infobox disclaimer and references Trinitrotoluene (TNT) is a chemical compound with the formula C6H2(NO2)3CH3. ... A nuclear explosive is an explosive device that derives its energy from nuclear reactions. ...

The stereotypical electronic time bomb includes 2 important wires, one red and one blue (or sometimes green instead of blue). Cutting one wire will accelerate the countdown and detonate the bomb, while cutting the other will stop the countdown and prevent the bomb from detonating. In all cases and scenarios, cutting the red wire stops the countdown, contrary to the popular belief that cutting that red wire will detonate the bomb prematurely (since the color red is commonly associated with danger, restriction and avoidance).[citation needed] In modern usage, a stereotype is a simplified mental picture of an individual or group of people who share a certain characteristic (or stereotypical) qualities. ...

See also

It has been suggested that Improvised Explosive Device Disposal be merged into this article or section. ...


External links

Guide which tells how to build timing devices:

  • http://stream.paranode.com/imc/portland/media/2003/09/271507.pdf

Video links



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