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10 June 2005 Phenomenology of dynamic thermal signatures around surface mines
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The ability to detect buried land mines under a wide variety of environmental conditions is an important Army requirement. Both for interpreting signatures of mines and to ensure appropriate modeling of mine and background signatures, it is important to understand the phenomena that result in different signature patterns. The dynamic signatures can change quickly in time due to changing meteorological conditions and their impact on the mine, the soil, and on the mine-soil interaction. In field tests, infrared measurements of surface and near surface mines have shown anomalous concentric thermal signatures around the mine. The cause of these irregularities is not known. We conduct numerical multidimensional finite element calculations to investigate interactions between the meteorological conditions, the mine, and the nearby soil to elucidate the cause for these signatures. Both in-situ temperature measurements and model results show that thermal interactions between the mine and the soil are responsible for the signatures. The warm area around the mine in the nearby soil is predominant primarily at night. The warm ring effect is most likely to exist in dry soil and for mines whose heat capacity exceeds that of the soil, resulting in thermal dominance of the mine in the coupled mine-soil thermal regime. Wet soils are less likely to display the thermal contrast of the warm ring. Improved understanding of physical interactions between the mine and the background may facilitate improved discrimination between signatures of mines and of false alarms.
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M. Albert, G. Koh, G. Koenig, S. Howington, J. Peters, and A. Trang "Phenomenology of dynamic thermal signatures around surface mines", Proc. SPIE 5794, Detection and Remediation Technologies for Mines and Minelike Targets X, (10 June 2005);

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