An explosives expert performs a wide range of tasks, including detonating and analyzing explosives, analyzing detonation sites, and choosing the best blasting materials and techniques for a project. Sometimes, these experts are used on movie and television production sets, but more mundane jobs are the norm. They also work with scientists and technicians in researching and implementing new explosive products and methods.
Explosives experts are found in many industries, including the commercial, public, and military sectors. The commercial sector often uses them to evaluate blasting materials used in engineering and mining operations. In the public sector, they commonly plan and implement the actual blasting needed for demolition; this can include creating holes and channels for gravel and granite mines, swimming pool construction and general excavation projects. The military sometimes employs such experts to advise on explosives manufacturing and applications.
In addition to planning and executing explosions, an experts in explosives are commonly needed to advise on the safe transport and handling of explosive devices and materials. When storage facilities for explosives are being designed and built, an expert is often consulted to recommend the safest materials and design for the project. She is sometimes recruited to detonate abandoned explosives or remove suspected ones from public places.
Construction companies regularly involved in demolition sometimes have a full-time explosives expert on staff. She inspects areas targeted for demolition, determines the best type and amount of blasting material for the job, and decides what safety precautions need to be taken. The expert often takes the next step of strategically placing the explosives into the structure, compacting them, and ultimately setting off the charge.
If drilling holes for insertion of explosives is needed, she decides where the holes are drilled, their depth, and how much powder is needed to effectively complete the job. Common explosives used for these types of jobs include slurries, black powder, aluminum nitrate, dynamite and ammonium nitrate. In some cases, the expert sets up remote detonation equipment to execute the blast.
This can be a potentially dangerous job, and precautions and protective steps are needed to prevent harm to the explosives expert. Protective clothing and equipment should be provided, and emergency medical personnel should be nearby during all explosion projects.
A career as an explosives expert can be rewarding if a person enjoys working in high-pressure atmospheres. It is necessary for this person to have exceptional analytical and planning skills to accurately set up and set off explosives. She also needs to demonstrate a calm demeanor and never veer from logical and responsible thinking.