View Full Version : Biggest Bomb Ever Designed


OilIsMastery
10-19-08, 09:56 AM
The Soviets tested a 50 megaton bomb "Tsar Bomba": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwlNPhn64TA

The shock wave was so powerful it orbited the Earth 3 times.

But apparently the US tested a 100 megaton bomb: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJixvAYPxE0

Scary stuff...:bugeye:

Syzygys
10-19-08, 12:03 PM
Well, McNamara is wrong, I think he remembers incorrectly, or it was a very,very secret project:

"By contrast, the largest weapon ever produced by the United States, the now-decommissioned B41, had a predicted maximum yield of 25 megatons, and the largest nuclear device ever tested by the US (Castle Bravo) yielded 15 megatons (due to a runaway reaction; the design yield was approximately 5 Mt). For comparison, the theorised supervolcanic explosion of Lake Toba, in Indonesia, some 75,000 years ago, is estimated to have been equivalent to 1 gigaton of TNT, and therefore twenty times larger than the detonation of the Tsar Bomba device, and the asteroid impact which formed the Chicxulub Crater, was an event larger than Tsar Bomba's yield by some six orders of magnitude; it released an estimated 500 zettajoules (5.01023 joules) of energy, approximately 100 teratons of TNT, on impact."

Anywhere I read, the Tsar Bomb was the biggest ever exploded. McNamara might be saying the US designed a bigger one, but I don't think the US tested it....

MetaKron
10-19-08, 12:51 PM
As I understand it, once you have a really good fusion explosion, the explosion can be made arbitrarily large by packing as much U-238 around the device as you dare.

Carcano
10-19-08, 04:37 PM
The Soviets tested a 50 megaton bomb "Tsar Bomba": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwlNPhn64TA

If only we could slow that reaction down...and make electricity out of it.

MetaKron
10-19-08, 04:54 PM
If only we could slow that reaction down...and make electricity out of it.

I'll look around and see if anyone has. You do of course realize that fission makes the really big pop. Fission, fusion, then an arbitrarily large fission reaction that might be helped along by more lithium bricks.

kevinalm
10-19-08, 06:11 PM
Nah, nobody does it that way. You just use the fusion stage as the trigger for a _really_ big fusion stage. Fission, fusion, FUSION. ;) Of course you can always pack in a few hunderd pounds of U238 if you don't want anyone living in the fallout zone for the next millinium or so.

MetaKron
10-19-08, 09:44 PM
I didn't know that more uranium made that much difference in the fallout. I thought that the truly dirty fallout came from ground bursts. Also, if it burned a vein of gold, cobalt, or zinc there would be hell to pay.

kevinalm
10-19-08, 11:01 PM
The main source of radioactivity in fallout is fission fragments, so the primary factor is how much fissionable material is present. You can get some radioactivation of soil, etc. by neutron capture, but that is very minor. The main problem with a ground burst is that the vaporized soil and dust gets sucked into the fireball, where it mixs with fission frags and helps the radioactive material settle out much quicker. You get concentrated dose of fallout nearer to ground zero, over a smaller area.

The main difference between 'clean' and 'dirty' nuclear weapons is what portion of the yield is fission and what portion is fusion. An efficient fission trigger using a minimum of fissionable material and a large fusion yield would be called a 'clean' bomb.

Now it might be possible to pack in certain easily neutron activated elements/isotopes in a large fusion bomb to additionally enhance fallout, and I think there has some speculation on that possibility especially in scifi, but afaik no one has been silly enough to build such a device. Well, one can hope. ;)

Echo3Romeo
10-20-08, 06:04 PM
Now it might be possible to pack in certain easily neutron activated elements/isotopes in a large fusion bomb to additionally enhance fallout, and I think there has some speculation on that possibility especially in scifi, but afaik no one has been silly enough to build such a device. Well, one can hope. ;)
The closest test of a salted weapon was by the British in 1957 during Operation Antler, in South Australia. The weapon being tested was jacketed in cobalt for the purposes of determining yield by observing the incidence of neutron-induced activity during measurements after the fact, and some Co-60 was produced, but the quantity of it and its propagation were deemed insufficient to support further interest in the concept.

Like you said. Modern 2.5 staged, U-238 tampered, fission/fusion/fission weapons already dirty enough to fill an area denial role, and the uranium jacket has the added benefits of increasing efficiency of the fusion stage through neutron reflection and adding to weapon yield through fast fission. A purpose-built contaminant specific weapon wouldn't be worth the trouble.

MetaKron
10-20-08, 10:25 PM
A "purpose-built contaminant specific weapon" would be designed to deny an area to living things for a controllable period of time, which is why they would be more likely to use zinc than just about anything else, because it's cheap and has a shorter half-life. One of the biggest drawbacks that I can see is that it would tend to go somewhere else besides where you want it to go. Extremely low yield nukes would do the best job.

I hope they're right if they're saying that the cobalt jacket is not quite the nightmare that we thought.

Echo3Romeo
10-21-08, 10:59 AM
Well, any salting element chosen for its half life would constitute a "controllable" amount of time for persistence of residual fallout and rainout. Co-59 is generally regarded as the element of choice due to its abundance in nature (100% of natural cobalt) and the fact that the transmuted Co-60 has a good balance of significant half life (5.2 years) and gamma emission intensity (50 curies/g) making it a royal pain in the ass for a decon team to deal with. When Szilard proposed the idea of a salted bomb, he suggested a Co-59 tamper, because he was making a point that it would be possible to cover the earth with fallout disseminated via the prevailing winds. That distribution process would take a few years, so the half life of Co-60 was ideal for that purpose.

You're right about an element with a shorter half life being easier to deal with, in a military sense. Salted weapons would have the same problem as chemical weapons and biological weapons do. Persistent effects hamper mobility of the aggressor in the target area as much as they do the enemy, and any fighting force worth a damn puts a premium on mobility, because lethality peaks when you're on the move. And of course, extraneous factors like meteorological conditions (fallout/rainout dispersal) and composition of soils and structures around the hypocenter (neutron induced activity) make using even a relatively small nuclear weapon in a tactical scenario difficult, salted or not.

How about Au-197 as a salting element? Its half life is only 2.7 days, and it also occurs 100% naturally. A B61 jacketed in solid gold...now that would be pimp.

MetaKron
10-21-08, 12:12 PM
Gold would work, it would just be expensive, probably too expensive for large areas. Cobalt is cheap but it would probably poison an area for too long. The Wiki on zinc says that salting with zinc would significantly increase the radioactivity of the fallout for several days. This contradicts the 244 day half-life of Zn-65. That half-life means a hot time for years. I would say about 30 half-lives before an area can be considered to be not contaminated by a given salting agent.

Diode-Man
10-21-08, 07:26 PM
I bet the biggest bong ever made could load a whole bucket of marijuana into the bowl. Wow, just think!

haha

k sorry off topic


I do oppose detonation of nuclear weapons, they give the Earth and all on it shorter life.

Echo3Romeo
10-21-08, 08:32 PM
I do oppose detonation of nuclear weapons, they give the Earth and all on it shorter life.
You seem to be surprisingly sure about that.

MetaKron
10-22-08, 12:46 PM
Back to the uranium-jacketed devices: Do they create significant long-term radiation hazards or do they accomplish the goal of forcing people to stay in shelters for a few weeks?

Walter L. Wagner
10-22-08, 01:00 PM
The more Uranium, the more fission product. The fission product is the same stuff that's in fuel-rods after a reactor's used up the fissionable U-235. The fusion bombs also fission the U-238 -- but the fission product is the same [almost, not quite exactly] as for U-235. More U-238, a bigger bomb and more fission product. And it's nasty stuff. Isotopes with varyious half-lives, which is why they want to bury fuel rods for millenia, not weeks. Of course, with respect to the US fuel rods, they could do what France does, and ship 'em to Japan for processing to extract the Plutonium for more fuel, etc.

Echo3Romeo
10-22-08, 02:58 PM
Back to the uranium-jacketed devices: Do they create significant long-term radiation hazards or do they accomplish the goal of forcing people to stay in shelters for a few weeks?
Short answer: 3-5 weeks until it's safe enough to live around. Radioactivity will persist for years and years afterward, above the detection threshold of instrumentation, but not intensely enough to pose a risk to plants, animals, or people. That said, much depends on composition of soils and structures around the hypocenter and burst height. For a lot more information on what is a fairly complex set of interactions, I would recommend reading chapter nine (http://www.princeton.edu/~globsec/publications/effects/effects9.pdf) (PDF) of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons (http://www.princeton.edu/~globsec/publications/effects/effects.shtml). This book was written (and re-written) by the US DOE during the Cold War to be a de facto bible about all the awesome and scary things the weapons can do. It is by far the most authoritative source on the subject. The biased tripe that FAS et al. pushes can't begin to compare.

cosmictraveler
10-22-08, 05:51 PM
I'd say that Ishtar was the biggest bomb I've ever heard about. :rolleyes:

Mr. Hamtastic
10-22-08, 06:13 PM
Hmm biggest bomb... supernovae?

DwayneD.L.Rabon
10-29-08, 05:25 AM
The biggest bomb ever made in the world or its histroy was made by the Nazis in world war 2.

It was a nuclear bomb made of 2,000 tons of Uranium.

The US bombs that were dropped on japan weighed only 3 to 10 pounds of uranium according to the US militrary.
So 2,000 tons of Uranium was enough uranium to blow a whole in the earths crust and form a new european land mass from the spewing lava, which could have been called the mother land a new europe.

The only reason that it was not detonated was because of defects in targeting, cause by tampering from a scientist on site to prevent the blast. U.S troops arrived only 24 hours before the eventual discovery of the tampering scientist Oslo would have occured.

Oslo words when US troops arrived, " its good you got here i would not have lasted another day before they figured it out."

DwayneD.L.Rabon

rpenner
10-29-08, 06:16 AM
Um, roll to disbelieve?

DwayneD.L.Rabon
10-29-08, 06:22 AM
Well Rpenner
you can look it up and read about it.

Appearantly the Nazis where really big on gathering up uranium ore.

DwayneD.L.Rabon

rpenner
10-29-08, 06:30 AM
No, I cannot.

You did not indicate where I could look it up. You did not indicate the date and location of the action. You did not indicate the delivery mechanism of a bomb that weighted more than 2000 tons (SI tons or Imperial short tons?).

To research your deficient claim, I would have to become an expert on every person involved in WWII, which is simply beyond my capabilities, being a mere human. (wink!)

Oli
10-29-08, 07:01 AM
The biggest bomb ever made in the world or its histroy was made by the Nazis in world war 2.
No, the Nazis didn't manufacture any nuclear bombs.


It was a nuclear bomb made of 2,000 tons of Uranium.
Duh, yeah. And how were they going to deliver it?
2,000 tons?
Hardly. The Nazis didn't have anywhere near that amount of uranium at all.


So 2,000 tons of Uranium was enough uranium to blow a whole in the earths crust and form a new european land mass from the spewing lava, which could have been called the mother land a new europe.
Pure crap.


The only reason that it was not detonated was because of defects in targeting,
Defects in targeting?
Do you speak English at all?

rpenner
10-29-08, 07:11 AM
For comparison, the Apollo rockets and the largest fixed-wing aircraft max out at about 250 tons of payload. A V-2 had a payload of less than 1 ton. The British "Grand Slam" bomb weighted only 11 tons. (All from Wikipedia articles of good standing.)

kevinalm
10-29-08, 11:04 AM
The Nazi's never even got a reactor working, let alone a bomb. And my understanding is that the consensis of the American scientists reviewing the Nasi reactor design is that it was so bad that if they had gotten it to go critical, the entire research team would probably have been fried by the almost complete lack of sheilding.

MetaKron
10-29-08, 02:51 PM
The Nazi's never even got a reactor working, let alone a bomb. And my understanding is that the consensis of the American scientists reviewing the Nasi reactor design is that it was so bad that if they had gotten it to go critical, the entire research team would probably have been fried by the almost complete lack of sheilding.

Totalitarian governments are generally ruled by those who do not tolerate scientific accuracy. Japan seems to sort of be an exception.

kevinalm
10-29-08, 07:46 PM
The major problem was that some time around '42 the German government had pulled almost all support for nuclear research, relegating it to a very low priority project. There were maybe a dozen or so workers involved seriously, and most of them part time.

quadraphonics
10-29-08, 08:44 PM
For comparison, the Apollo rockets and the largest fixed-wing aircraft max out at about 250 tons of payload. A V-2 had a payload of less than 1 ton. The British "Grand Slam" bomb weighted only 11 tons. (All from Wikipedia articles of good standing.)

That's great, but there are ships with payload capacities that easily exceed 2000 tons. The Soviet doomsday device that was supposedly contemplated as part of the "dead hand" system would have been transported that way.

More generally, a weapon of that magnitude does not actually require a delivery system, since it destroys all possible targets on the planet regardless of where it is located upon detonation. For that reason, devices above a certain yield are sometimes referred to as "backyard bombs."

fedr808
10-30-08, 01:44 PM
As I understand it, once you have a really good fusion explosion, the explosion can be made arbitrarily large by packing as much U-238 around the device as you dare.

A fusion bomb is the biggest badest bomb in all of human history. It has the power of several hundred fission bombs it's own size. And they are massive.
Yet only 6 countries have created them and know how to, USA (first), Russia (second), Britain, France, Israel (though they dare not admit it), and some other country.

fedr808
10-30-08, 01:46 PM
No, the Nazis didn't manufacture any nuclear bombs.


Duh, yeah. And how were they going to deliver it?
2,000 tons?
Hardly. The Nazis didn't have anywhere near that amount of uranium at all.


Pure crap.


Defects in targeting?
Do you speak English at all?

Dude thats hilarious, "defects in targeting" It's a freaking nuclear bomb you cant miss. The US missed nagasaki by several miles and still roasted 90,000 people. You really cant miss. Also i think he meant 2,000 tons of raw uranium ore. And very little weapons grade uranium come out of ore. like a tiny amount.

Oli
10-31-08, 07:59 AM
It's a freaking nuclear bomb you cant miss.
That would be why the US and USSR spent so much time and effort reducing the CEP of their ICBMs then, neh?
Accuracy counts...:rolleyes:

kevinalm
10-31-08, 12:54 PM
Dude thats hilarious, "defects in targeting" It's a freaking nuclear bomb you cant miss. The US missed nagasaki by several miles and still roasted 90,000 people. You really cant miss. Also i think he meant 2,000 tons of raw uranium ore. And very little weapons grade uranium come out of ore. like a tiny amount.

The Nagasaki bomb was off its intended target point by about 2 mi. The total destruction radius was only about 1 mi. Basically, they missed. Also, because of where it did detonate the geography (hills, etc.) sheilded a lot of the city. The high death toll was in part due to residential areas hit hard because the bomb _was_ off target.

As to a German bomb, like I said before, they simply were no where near the point of knowing how to build one, let alone building one. Their interest in uranium ore was to try to build a reactor for preliminary research, and they hadn't even gotten to the point of starting a chain reaction in that. And the reactor design sucked, to put it buntly. ;)

DwayneD.L.Rabon
11-02-08, 01:40 AM
No, the Nazis didn't manufacture any nuclear bombs.


Duh, yeah. And how were they going to deliver it?
2,000 tons?
Hardly. The Nazis didn't have anywhere near that amount of uranium at all.


Pure crap.


Defects in targeting?
Do you speak English at all?



Do You Oli Bath in your Crap,

Why so Feeble minded Oli, you have weak brains or a lack of education on the issues. Do you speak dog language?

Echo3Romeo
11-04-08, 10:00 AM
I remember seeing something on the History channel a while back about a Nazi plan to fly a bomber across the Atlantic and airburst a "dirty bomb" of natural uranium over New York City. In order to disseminate the contaminant by high explosive, the bomb itself was quite large and heavy, both due to the amount of uranium used as well as the mass of the HE deflagration charge. Of course it wasn't what we could call a "nuclear" weapon, but it raises the possibility of some confusion.

Has anybody else heard of this? I can't find a source for it so I could be totally off base.

kevinalm
11-04-08, 11:15 AM
Nothing I've ever heard of. My gut feeling is that it's wrong, or maybe it was just speculation as to what sort of 'radiological' weapon WW2 german technology was capable of. From what I have seen on the state of Nazi nuclear research, it doesn't seem like something they would dream up or think worthwhile. Natural uranium is relatively tame, radiation wise.

Nasor
11-04-08, 11:56 AM
I remember seeing something on the History channel a while back about a Nazi plan to fly a bomber across the Atlantic and airburst a "dirty bomb" of natural uranium over New York City. In order to disseminate the contaminant by high explosive, the bomb itself was quite large and heavy, both due to the amount of uranium used as well as the mass of the HE deflagration charge. Of course it wasn't what we could call a "nuclear" weapon, but it raises the possibility of some confusion.

Has anybody else heard of this? I can't find a source for it so I could be totally off base.
Seems unlikely. "Dirty bombs" aren't really nearly as dangerous as TV would have you believe. You could probably kill some people with it and you would probably raise the odds of everyone in the area eventually developing cancer by 5% or so, but you aren't really going to do much damage with anything like that.

Also, uranium would be a bad choice for such a weapon because U238 isn't a radiation hazard. You would need to enrich it so that it had a large concentration of U235, and if you're able to do that, well, you might as well use the U235 to make a fission weapon. As I recall the Nazis weren't even trying to enrich uranium, they were trying to make plutonium in a breeder reactor (and failing miserably). But someone correct me if I'm wrong there...

kevinalm
11-04-08, 12:57 PM
They really hadn't gotten to the point of trying to breed plutonium. They hadn't even started a chain reaction in a pile yet. If you've seen pictures of their attempt you know that was probably a good thing for the researchers. Something like baling wire and chewing gum by way of a tinkertoy set. :D

It had blocks of unenriched uranium tied on dangling wires like widely spaced beads on a string. Something like 15 or 20 of these strings hung from a frame which was to be lowered into a pool of heavy water. Control was to be by raising and lowering the assembly into and out of the pool. And not much sheilding. Scary.

The main difficulty was not having an adequite supply of heavy water.

MetaKron
11-04-08, 03:20 PM
I doubt if their scientists wanted to seriously work on making an atom bomb.

Echo3Romeo
11-04-08, 06:57 PM
I know it would be a shitty weapon from even a conceptual standpoint, but the Germans liked to pump one of those out every now and then.

Oli
11-06-08, 03:45 AM
Why so Feeble minded Oli,
You'd know about having a "feeble mind"


you have weak brains or a lack of education on the issues.
Wrong.


Do you speak dog language?
Beside the point: I wasn't posting to dogs...:rolleyes:

Walter L. Wagner
11-07-08, 01:16 PM
Yet only 6 countries have created them and know how to, USA (first), Russia (second), Britain, France, Israel (though they dare not admit it), and some other country.

Would that "some other country" be China, perhaps, the world's largest country?

nietzschefan
11-07-08, 04:41 PM
Nazi's were CERTAINLY working on the bomb. They were completely fucked over in a clandestine raid on their heavy water production and the project was scraped.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwegian_heavy_water_sabotage

The worst testing done was by the U.S and USSR in the atmosphere, denied to this day, these tests were LARGELY responsible for the initial creation of the hole in the ozone layer. These tests may have doomed us. The tzar bomba was actually a lot more safe than the atmosphere tests, though I understand it pretty much smashed a hellova lot of windows in Finland...amazing.

Xylene
04-05-09, 02:39 AM
The biggest bomb ever made in the world or its histroy was made by the Nazis in world war 2.

It was a nuclear bomb made of 2,000 tons of Uranium.

The US bombs that were dropped on japan weighed only 3 to 10 pounds of uranium according to the US militrary.
So 2,000 tons of Uranium was enough uranium to blow a whole in the earths crust and form a new european land mass from the spewing lava, which could have been called the mother land a new europe.

The only reason that it was not detonated was because of defects in targeting, cause by tampering from a scientist on site to prevent the blast. U.S troops arrived only 24 hours before the eventual discovery of the tampering scientist Oslo would have occured.

Oslo words when US troops arrived, " its good you got here i would not have lasted another day before they figured it out."

DwayneD.L.Rabon

2000 tons of uranium in one bomb, Dwayne? I sure would like to see some sort of reference to that, if you could find one. I would like to see you come up with a reference for the scientist Oslo, who just happens to have the same surname (or given name, you didn't make that clear) as the capital of Norway. As for delivery, how were they going to manage that? Short of loading it on a ship and sailing it across to Britain/US/wherever/to set it off? The British were straining the limits of 1940's aircraft technology getting an Avro Lancaster to fly an 11-ton bomb to Germany--even these days, we don't have the capability of carrying 2000 tons anywhere by air, unless the military have some phenomenal machine I haven't heard of yet.

Uno Hoo
04-06-09, 12:19 AM
What I read was that a German physicist designed ( as in, not made ) a device which needed 40,000 pounds of natural Uranium in order to develop a runaway chain reaction. It is an ongoing matter of controversy whether the physicist ignorantly thought that a device needed that much Uranium or was knowingly misdirecting the Nazi war effort.

What I read was that the Nazis were discouraged after digesting the report and did not actually construct, or, try to construct, the device.

My guess is that the Nazis never actually tried to build the 40,000 pound device.

Oli
04-06-09, 12:34 AM
2000 tons of uranium in one bomb, Dwayne? I sure would like to see some sort of reference to that, if you could find one.
You won't get a reference from Dwayne.
All of his "facts" are inventions of his own manufacture, fuelled by delusion.

PieAreSquared
04-06-09, 12:46 AM
this is a pretty thorough site

http://www.nuclearweaponarchive.org/

PieAreSquared
04-06-09, 01:16 AM
this is one of our new little sweeties.. been through some revs... dial-a-yield

http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Weapons/B61.html

we still keep a few of these 9 meggers on hand

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B53_bomb

fedr808
04-06-09, 08:49 AM
Would that "some other country" be China, perhaps, the world's largest country?

No im pretty sure it is another EU country, though im not perfect so i could be wrong.

fedr808
04-06-09, 08:51 AM
As to a German bomb, like I said before, they simply were no where near the point of knowing how to build one, let alone building one. Their interest in uranium ore was to try to build a reactor for preliminary research, and they hadn't even gotten to the point of starting a chain reaction in that. And the reactor design sucked, to put it buntly. ;)


20-20 hindset. of course.