‘You’re Hit Before You Even Hear It’: How a Pressure-Cooker Bomb Works

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How a Pressure Cooker Bomb Works

Boston Marathon Bomb Photos

This image from a Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security joint bulletin issued to law enforcement and obtained by The Associated Press, shows the remains of a pressure cooker that the FBI says was part of one of the bombs that exploded during the Boston Marathon. The FBI says it has evidence that indicates one of the bombs was contained in a pressure cooker with nails and ball bearings, and it was hidden in a backpack. (Photo: AP/FBI)

The twin blasts at the Boston Marathon little more than a week ago, which turned a state-wide holiday in Massachusetts into a national tragedy, were days after revealed to be the work of pressure-cooker bombs.

But how do such improvised explosive devices (IEDs) work? CNN's David Mattingly got a first hand look at the inner workings with experts at New Mexico Tech's research arm that replicates bombs used by terrorists.

"...[Y]ou're always worried about copycats," New Mexico Tech Vice President Van Romero said in the clip. "Are more and more people going to be using this?"

Before setting off a pressure-cooker bomb in a test, the crew heads more than a quarter mile away into a bunker to avoid flying shrapnel.

"Wow, that white smokes looks just like what we saw in Boston," CNN's Mattingly said after it was detonated.

Investigating the aftermath, hardware that was placed into the pressure cooker has left holes in plywood that surrounded around the IED. Romero said these pieces can travel as fast as 2,000 feet per second.

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How a Pressure Cooker Bomb Works

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A look at wood near the test bomb after it was detonated. (Image: CNN/YouTube screenshot)

"They'll move faster than the speed of sound," he said.

"You're hit before you even hear it," Mattingly said later in the clip in response to information about the explosive device.

Watch the segment:

USA Today also issued helpful infographics detailing how such an IED is made, the damage it can do, where they can be planted and a comparison of Boston's bombing to other similar events on U.S. soil.

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(Image: USA Today)

Check out more of the infographics here.

Authorities have said the IEDs detonated on the afternoon of April 15 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 200 people, were packed with the explosives, nails, ball bearings and metal shards. They were left in backpacks.

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How a Pressure Cooker Bomb Works

Boston Marathon Bomb Photos

This image from a Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security joint bulletin issued to law enforcement and obtained by The Associated Press, shows the remains of a black backpack that the FBI says contained one of the bombs that exploded during the Boston Marathon. The FBI says it has evidence that indicates one of the bombs that exploded in the Boston Marathon was contained in a pressure cooker with nails and ball bearings, and it was hidden in a backpack. (Photo: AP/FBI)

On Wednesday last week, authorities told the Associated Press a circuit board and the lid of a pressure cooker was found. The lid was found on the roof of a building nearby.

Two suspects were identified last week as Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tamerlan Tsaarnaev, the older of the two brothers, was killed in a shootout with police Thursday night. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was captured by authorities late Friday night after a day-long manhunt in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Reports are that a pressure-cooker device was also said to have been thrown at law enforcement in the confrontation with police between the two suspects Thursday night as well.

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(H/T: Popular Science)

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