A HUGE Nuclear Bomb

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Tristan, Nov 4, 2003.

  1. Stokes Pennwalt Nuke them from orbit. Registered Senior Member

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    No it's not cheaper than Li6. As far as the heavy and fissile transuranics go, it is the cheapest stuff around though, and you're going to need something heavy like DU or possibly Beryllium for a tamper layer if you want your Li6 secondary to cook off. DU is not only a byproduct of the enrichment process to produce the fission primary device (so it's already on-hand when the weapon is near completion) but in the process of reflecting/containing the neutron flux it also undergoes fast fission because the neutron flux is so damn high at the point when the secondary is fusing.

    More bang, less buck. That's why DU is used for tampers. Tungsten and Beryllium work well enough, but they don't give you a nice 40-45% yield bonus from fast fission like DU will, and they are also more costly.
     
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  3. MacM Registered Senior Member

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    Hi Stokes,

    Been a while since we posted together.

    As it happens at the time of the 100MT test, I was a US Army Fallout Prediction/Plotter.

    We went into a closed room for several days and tracked the information about the explosion. It was very interesting and educational.

    I forget the exact figure but I remember that the cloud size was something like 25 KM in diameter (or radius) and cloud height was several KM's high.

    We took the prevailing weather conditions at the time and plotted the theoretical consequences had the bomb been dropped on Paris at that time. The fallout from the plume reached clear across Berlin.

    What was also interesting was that it was so horrific that it suprised the Russians also (scared the hell out of everybody) and they decided to not experiment further.

    More than anythingelse I attribute the backing off on the "Dooms Day Bomb" to their experience with that baby.
     
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  5. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Yes Stokes Pennwalt but in making the small amount of Pu or U235 for the first stage of the bomb, would not make enough refrained U238 for near infinite expandability, you would only be able to support a ratio of U238 to U235 of 100 to 1. Just slaping tons after tons of cheap fusionables around it would still be cheaper. Try to remember were talking about a bomb the size of a large ship.
     
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  7. Gifted World Wanderer Registered Senior Member

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    Pressure is the key to setting it off, WellCooked. The tamper contains the materials, and allows them to reach the pressures and temperatures required to set it off. I'd imagine on a ship, you might be able to get enough steel to do it, but more tanks of lithuim duteuride isn't going to give you the compression you need. I could see the ship actually being several smaller bombs set off at the same time, rather than one giant bomb. I wonder if that would be more efficient.
     
  8. Stokes Pennwalt Nuke them from orbit. Registered Senior Member

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    Heh, that was a few years before my time, MacM.

    WCF: like Gifted said, it's not as simple a matter as just slapping more fuel elements around the pit and getting a linear increase in weapon output. The larger the secondary dry Litnium stage is, the larger a trigger you will need to initiate the fusion. There are a number of aspects regarding the way the substages of nuclear weapons interact with each other that prevent one stage from being scaled beyond a proportion of the others.

    Gifted: It would be, with the exception of the difficulty of it. There is a limit in how close one weapon can be burst to another one. This is because the neutron flux generated in the burst of a weapon, as well as from the reaction of fission fragments and soft X-rays with the atmosphere, can actually penetrate the internal mechanisms of nearby weapons and affect their fuel subassemblies at an atomic level to the point where the weapon will either fizzle or not function at all. This is an effect known as fratricide. In fact, you would need to wait a while for secondary neutron-induced activity to disperse before hitting the same target with another weapon, if you wanted to be absolutely sure it would function correctly.
     
  9. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    I did not say anything about how the bomb was configure did I?
     
  10. weed_eater_guy It ain't broke, don't fix it! Registered Senior Member

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    I wonder what the next step is after nukes? a supernova generator?
     
  11. Gravity Deus Ex Machina Registered Senior Member

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    Next step? Nanobot killers and target specific bio-weapons.
     
  12. Stokes Pennwalt Nuke them from orbit. Registered Senior Member

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    Well yeah, you kind of did. You were talking about adding more fuel to the tamper to increase yield, right? My point was that you can't just add more to the tamper without changing the configuration of the other stages. If you do then you'll just end up scattering the extra U238 that doesn't end up fissioning anyway.
     
  13. DeeCee Valued Senior Member

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    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    You boys know far too much about nuclear weapons.

    Guess your username is no mistake eh Stokes?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    Dee Cee
     
  14. Stokes Pennwalt Nuke them from orbit. Registered Senior Member

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    Heh, my post-grad work at the Naval War College focused on nuclear weapons - both the engineering aspects and tactical applications (effects, survivability, etc.).

    I've considered leaving my current employer and going to work for Westinghouse or somebody in the nuclear power industry, since it's currently on the upswing thanks to geopolitics and environmental issues making coal and oil rather unsavory sources of energy.
     
  15. ProjectOrion Banned Banned

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    Doesn't surprise me much. Both sides were employing fear tactics around that time. The cold war had its cold minds. The Americans considered planting a few bombs on the moon and setting them off to terrify the Russkies. Back then we had Ploughshares and its Russian equivalent which sought construction applications for atomic bombs. Even the chinese got into it.

    "Hey, that mountains blocking the new highway."
    "No prob. Hey Hank, order another mountainbusting nuke."

    Then there was nuking your way to the stars. As in my name sake Project Orion.

    http://www.projectorion.org

    The largest bomb ever built was indeed Russian but the smallest was designed by an American named Theodore Taylor. Big bombs are relatively easy to construct but trying to get that criticality from a small amount of fissile material is tough work. requires quite a bit of lateral thinking. Ted himself is quoted as saying the design of nuclear weapons "...is more of an art than a science."
     
  16. weed_eater_guy It ain't broke, don't fix it! Registered Senior Member

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    project orion seems a bit primitive, don't you think it'd be more practical to develop the means to create a steady nuclear burn rather than lobbing nukes out the back of a ship and holding on tight? just seems a little crude, that's all, maybe when we develop cheaper means of entering orbit, a better engine system for interplanetarywill also emerge
     
  17. Gravity Deus Ex Machina Registered Senior Member

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    I don't think its supposed to be truly high-tech or effecient . . . its supposed to be "awesome" -- its the monster-truck/NASCAR crowds dream space ship!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  18. ProjectOrion Banned Banned

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    In principle, quite right, it's an atomic bomb machine gun. But then chemical rockets are just big fireworks if you think about it. Pulse technology does offer a lot of advantages over steady burn. For one thing you can control acceleration which is something rather difficult to do with current state of the art solid fuel thrusters. In fact, NASA is now looking into pulse rocketry again. A form of rocket drive which hasn't been investigated very much since the V1. Old Putt Putt was a very innovative concept. Those Buzzbombs lacked the power of the V2 which could reach the stratosphere and today is the model for the X prizes Canadian Arrow contender, but the V1 was the first large rocket. Right now NASA believes they can get more power and engine control from a pulse engine and there is no reason to think the performance wouldn't equate to nuclear engines too.

    And ofcourse, steady fusion for rocketry is a long way off if it ever becomes possible at all. Fusion pulse rockets have been possible since the 60's. We could start building one today if we really wanted to. Some might say the plate system is extremely wasteful of energy but when you are dealing with nuclear blasts thats irrelevant. Even without a chamber the Isp is ludicrously high. Single stage to orbit and Mars in a few weeks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2004
  19. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    you know we have several thread more related to the topic of nuclear pulse rocket and nuclear space propulsion in general. Why don't you discuse that there? (use the search tool)
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2004
  20. Norman Atta Boy Registered Senior Member

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    Just explode a small atomic bomb (maybe 15 Kilotons) in the middle of Yellowstone (Home of the world's largest supervolcano, which is approx. 40,000 years overdue) and you'll have the largest nuclear bomb you can imagine!

    Yob Atta
     
  21. Von Axel Not perfect at all Registered Senior Member

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    i heard of a nasty device designed to punch holes in the atmosphere by the means of a massive nuclear explosion in the upper regions of atmosphere... is that possible? and how deadly would it be?

    Norm.
     
  22. Facial Valued Senior Member

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    Those would make great fireworks.
     
  23. Hideki Matsumoto ñ{ìñÇÃóùâ?ÇÕêSÇÃíÜÇ©ÇÁóàÇ ÈÅB Registered Senior Member

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    MacM... Well the Super-bomb you talk about that was detonated by the Russians in the 1960's was called the Tsar Bomba it had a yeild of around 100MT. The detonation site was near the North end of the Kuril islands, actually quite close to Alaska panhandel. The mushroom cloud was seen all around the North Pacific including here in B.C. ! The initial explosion (emp) knocked out radar and electronics 100's of miles away!
    The underwater crater was several 100m deep! The Chinese also developed a superbomb to fit on an ICBM that had even more power about (double stage thermonuclear device) 150MT but never fired it.
    The real threat now is the suitcase nuke developed by the US in the late 1950's. This device was under the project name Davy Crockett. Since this time efforts have been made to further shrink the size of the device to something like a suit case. Yeilds of this type of device range typically 100-300T to 1 KT.
     

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