The containers of napalm bomber are very light and fabricated of aluminum, with a capacity for about 75 gallons of combustible gel. They lack stabilizing fins, and consequently acquire a tumbling motion on being dropped that contributes to the scattering of the combustible gel over a wide area.
While the MK-77 is the only incendiary munition currently in active inventory, a variety of other incendiary devices were produced, including the M-47 Napalm bomb, the M-74 incendiary bomb, and white phosphorous and munitions manufacturing. Production of these devices continued during the Korean conflict, though various demilitarization and decontamination programs were initiated in the late 1950s. Munitions destroyed included M-47 Napalm-filled bombs and incendiary cluster bombs.Napalm is a mixture of benzene (21%), gasoline (33%), and polystyrene (46%). Benzene is a normal component of gasoline (about 2%). The gasoline used in napalm is the same leaded or unleaded gas that is used in automobiles.
Gasoline is a mixture of hydrocarbons, which burn in an engine. It is a clear liquid, made from crude oil that burns and explodes easily. It naturally contains some benzene (which makes gas smell the way it does). Gasoline is lighter than, and floats on, water, but it will not mix with water. It dissolves grease and oil but will not dissolve polystyrene by itself, more benzene must be added to it. If gasoline is inhaled or swallowed, it can be dangerous or fatal. Breathing it results in an intense burning sensation in the throat and lungs, resulting in bronchitis and, eventually, pneumonia and possibly death. Swallowing gasoline results in inebriation (drunkenness), vomiting, dizziness, fever, drowsiness, confusion, and cyanosis (blue color). Benzene is a light, colorless, aromatic liquid made from a variety of raw materials, mostly crude oil and coal. In many ways it is similar to gasoline, of which it is a part. The major uses of benzene are in making plastics and other chemicals, not fuel, although it could be used as one. If benzene is breathed or swallowed, it causes throat irritation, rest lessens, excitement, depression, and, finally, convulsions, which can lead to death. A long exposure to benzene vapors (months or years) leads to bone marrow depression and in rare cases, leukemia. Polystyrene is the white, tough plastic that is used to make cups, plates, and other tableware and food containers. In the pure state it is slightly heavier than water. It dissolves easily in acetone and benzene, but not in gasoline. It is not poisonous; if swallowed it passes unchanged through the digestive tract. But it is possible to choke on it. Heated polystyrene softens at about 185 F. At higher temperatures it turns back into styrene, the chemical from which it was made. Styrene has been tested as toxic to rats. In air, polystyrene melts and burns with a yellow, sooty flame. Styrene itself has a sharp, unpleasant smell that is easy to recognize.Beginning in 1973 the Department of the Navy (DoN) began placing Vietnam era napalm canisters in storage at the Weapons Support Facility, Fallbrook Detachment. The Detachment is located approximately 60 miles north of San Diego, CA. By 1978 all such canisters had been consolidated and placed at the Detachment for storage and maintenance. The stockpile consists of approximately 34,123 individually crated napalm canisters. The canisters are not fused nor do they contain ignition devices. Over time, some of the aluminum canisters have degraded which has resulted in leaks. On-going maintenance of the stockpile includes the identification and repair of leaking canisters, grounds maintenance, and air monitoring. The Department of the Navy (DoN) is undertaking a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) removal action to remove and dispose of the napalm stockpile at the Fallbrook Detachment. The removal action is being taken to remove the potential for release of harmful levels of pollutants to the air which may result as the aluminum napalm canisters continue to degrade over time. Removal and disposal activities began in the Spring of 1998 and will take approximately two years to complete. The removal process involves On-site Demilitarization & Separation: napalm canisters will be decrated, punched, drained and shredded to result in three waste streams, wood, napalm, and aluminum; Containerization and Manifesting: napalm will be containerized in 6000 gallon tankers, aluminum in 55 gallon drums, and wood in 40 cubic yard steel boxes. All applicable state and federal manifesting procedures will be followed; Transportation: will be conducted in accordance with US Dept of Transportation regulations and will occur by truck from the Fallbrook Detachment to a Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton railhead and then by rail to treatment facilities, and finally; Treatment and Disposal: treatment of the napalm and aluminum wastes will occur at GNI, a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C permitted facility located in Deer Park, Texas. GNI will blend the napalm into alternative fuel for use as a substitute fuel at various cement manufacturing facilities. Treatment of the aluminum will occur by solvent cleaning. The clean aluminum will then be sent to a commercial smelter for recycling. Disposal of the wood will occur at a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle D permitted co-generation facility located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where it will be burned to produce electricity and steam.