The CSIR’s Technology for Special Operations (TSO) group conducts underwater explosives (UNDEX) research at a test facility, in order to better understand underwater explosion phenomena. Knowledge gained from these experiments is applied in test and evaluation projects, or in training programmes offered by the CSIR.
The small scale UNDEX facility consists of a 30 000 litre reinforced steel tank supported by a concrete slab. An overhead gantry is used for lifting test pieces and equipment into the tank. The tank is designed to withstand small-scale explosions of up to 10 grams of high explosive.
High-speed photography is used to capture explosive events by using photographic equipment that can capture up to 1,4 million frames per second, allowing researchers to follow the sequence of events, otherwise completely invisible to the human eye.
TSO is in the process of upgrading its data acquisition system and sensor capability, to further enhance this capability.
Currently this is the only UNDEX research facility in South Africa.