Byon February 27, 2008 8:00 AM
The Telegraph reported today that some explosives experts were able to make a bomb using 100ml bottles and several clear, odorless liquids. Unfortunately, they don’t provide any additional details (though given the nature of the study, I have trouble blaming them). Furthermore, this bomb appears to be able to blow a good-sized hole in an airplane.
The commenters on Schneier’s Blog present a few arguments as to how it’s possible though no one knows for sure. Infosponge posits that there is a chance this is the triacetone triperoxide scare of a few years ago, but I doubt it. They have video, which could easily have been faked, and the Register does a report on this scare that references the one from 2006.
How feasible is this attack? Well the explosives expert used under 14oz of fluid, which is in the range of what one or two people could carry on to a plane in the US. The chemicals apparently aren’t hard to get your hands on. A poster calling himself Len links to a patent which uses simple Hydrogen Peroxide and Sulforic Acid. It’s not out of the realm of possibility. Hydrogen Peroxide has been used for decades as a rocket fuel.
Can a mere 14oz do the damage depicted in the video? I can’t say. I’m not a chemist. Still, if Liquid Explosives can be built in small amounts, from easily obtainable chemicals, what is the point of the liquid ban? The damage depicted was impressive, and very likely to bring a plane down. I understand why the TSA put the rule in place, but if this story is true (and I’m unable to verify it), then the liquids ban appears to really be nothing more than massive security theater.