A quantitative analysis of aerosols inside an armored vehicle perforated by a kinetic energy penetrator containing tungsten, nickel, and cobalt

Mil Med. 2007 Apr;172(4):393-8. doi: 10.7205/milmed.172.4.393.


These tests were conducted to develop a database that could be used to assess risks to soldiers from exposure to aerosolized metallic particulates when the crew compartment of an Abrams tank is perforated by a kinetic energy penetrator. Quantitative data are reported for aerosols produced by kinetic energy penetrators containing tungsten, nickel, and cobalt. The following are addressed: (1) concentrations and rates of particle settling inside the vehicle, (2) particle size distribution, (3) inhalable and respirable particulates, (4) distribution of aerosol particles by mass, and (5) particle shapes. The scenario described in this report simulates a rare occurrence. The lessons learned, however, highlight a requirement for developing protocols for analyses of metals in body fluids and urine as soon as practical, and also for implementing targeted postdeployment medical surveillance programs that monitor both body burden for respired metals and pulmonary function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols / analysis
  • Aerosols / poisoning
  • Cobalt / analysis*
  • Cobalt / poisoning
  • Confined Spaces*
  • Databases as Topic
  • Explosions*
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / analysis*
  • Iraq
  • Kinetics
  • Military Personnel*
  • Nickel / analysis*
  • Nickel / poisoning
  • Particle Size
  • Risk Assessment
  • Tungsten / analysis*
  • Tungsten / poisoning
  • Warfare*


  • Aerosols
  • Cobalt
  • Nickel
  • Tungsten