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UD coastal scientist receives $1 million federal grant to study undetonated explosives on beaches

University of Delaware


It’s a story that sometimes plays on local news: a person walks on the beach and he, she or their dog come across what looks like a bomb, a shell or a grenade.

“They are often remnants from WWII and from training exercises," said Jack Puleo, a coastal scientist at University of Delaware who studies the activity of undetonated explosives on beaches.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has identified more than 400 locations within formerly used defense sites that contain these objects underwater.

“We’re trying to understand if one gets close to shore, is it likely to get up onto the beach? And if it does get up on the beach, what’s it likely to do? Is it likely to move back offshore, does it bury in place, or is it likely to sit right up on the surface?” said Puleo.


Puleo has just received a $1 million dollar grant from the Department of Defense to answer these questions.

The four-year grant will be spent on building surrogates that mimic the shape, density and characteristics of these potentially hazardous war artifacts. The surrogates will be equipped with sensors to track their mobility.


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