Date:1 February 2013
No padlock or chain can withstand a blast from a new torch being developed for police and soldiers.
A Metal Vapour Torch (MVT) is the size of a torch, but packs the punch of a light sabre. The tool is made for police and military personnel to cut through bolts, chains and
padlocks at high speed. The handheld device’s blade of flame can slice through a 12 mm steel bar in less than a second. The MVT, developed by Energetic Materials & Products of the US, uses solid fuel and an oxidiser, making it lighter and more compact than traditional gas-powered oxy-acetylene torches. Company CEO Dennis Wilson says that the torch will cost about R1 300 in the USA – a competitive price for police departments – and cartridges will go for R450 each. A preproduction version of the MVT will be shipped soon; user feedback will help shape the production model. – David Hambling
How it works
1. At the heart of the MVT is a reaction between copper oxide and precisely graded particles of magnesium and aluminium that produces a 2 800-degree jet of flame.
2. The jet has higher energy density than a gas flame, and the cutting action is the result of a combination of heat and abrasion by particles of metal oxide.
3. A rectangular carbon-fibre nozzle shapes the jet into a flat blade for cutting through bars