Chapter 6. Research
Doctor Carol Kane stared at the screen, the odd mix of readings was specific for silicon with trace of a hydrogenated carbon material that covered the silicon.
Mass spectrometry showed a potassium, but in such minute trace that it would hardly be worth mentioning. But she would make sure to bring it up in the discussion at the round table at the change of shift.
It was, oddly, familiar. A distant memory, something she had read or was in conversation about some time in the past.
Long ago, might have been when she was dating a scientist who mixed odd materials for space exploration. Everyday items that they were working with in synthetic combinations.
Silicon as a semi-conductor did not exist . Silicon as an explosive. That was…
‟Oh my god!” She said it out loud as she remembered. The nature of porous silicon, a tiny amount of potassium perchlorate. An adequate oxidizer but many compounds were capable of higher performance, so the amount was curious. It was as if someone would just touch a bristle to a bit of silicon.
But it occurred to her that not a lot would be needed. The hydrogenated carbon would coat the porous silicon that had a small amount of a oxidizer as a kicker.
The silicon would react with atmospheric oxygen and burst into silicon dioxide.
No ash, the fine-grained sand itself, a product of the explosion would become the ‟bullet” of the explosive and embed into the wounds with hideous shredding effect.
With the thought in her head, she turned the scan on to another sample and started along the edges.
Readout showed the material was an ultra strong glass produced in the latter years of the 2010’s.
But on one edge…
THERE! She had it. The primary component of glass, itself was the explosive. Porous silicon would combust in normal atmosphere even without any accelerant. The amphorous hydrogentated carbon coating protected the silicon from the oxygen in the surrounding air. A small electrical charge, perhaps the oxidizer itself, began the process that then consumed the silicon in nano-seconds.
Flipping through pages on her tablet computer, she looked up silicon explosives.
She entered the findings on the report with references.
Picking up the phone, she dialed an extension to another investigator who liked to make things to boom to prove — or disprove— a theory.
The phone picked up on the third ring with a series of noises in the background followed by a pop.
‟Stephen, I’m sending you a report on a series of explosive residue. I have a hypothesis of the material used.”
‟Oh! I like to make exploding things.” Steven Pelon could be heard grinning into the phone. ‟Send the hypothesis to me right away and I’ll get on it.”
‟Well, I have some further writing to do with my findings, and there is a rush on this. This is an ongoing investigation, and a body-count is associated with this.”
‟Get it to me as quick as you can, procrastination is a path that leads only to futility.”
Shaking her head, she smiled inwardly. His Confucian philosophical leanings are often on the mark and entertaining at the same time.
‟Well, I am looking into silicon-based explosives, specifically, something based on a porous silicon. I need yields and briesence.”
‟Silicon? That’s a new one.”
‟I’m sending the findings and a couple of SEM images, now.”
‟Got it. Image is loading.” A pause. ‟Is this for real? Okay, I’ll assign it top priority and I’ll lead the team. This is fascinating.”
Pressing the ‟End” button, Carol broke the connection laughing at the man on the other end. Boys liked cap-guns and firecrackers, this was one boy who got the dream job of using exotic explosives, putting a fuse to them and never get in trouble for doing so.