Biggest Bomb Ever Designed

Discussion in 'Architecture & Engineering' started by OilIsMastery, Oct 19, 2008.

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  1. OilIsMastery

    OilIsMastery Banned

  2. Syzygys

    Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you

    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 (5.0×1023 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....
  3. MetaKron

    MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    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.
  4. Carcano

    Carcano Valued Senior Member

  5. MetaKron

    MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    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.
  6. kevinalm

    kevinalm Registered Senior Member

    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.
  7. MetaKron

    MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    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.
  8. kevinalm

    kevinalm Registered Senior Member

    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. ;)
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2008
  9. Echo3Romeo

    Echo3Romeo One man wolfpack

    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.
  10. MetaKron

    MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    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.
  11. Echo3Romeo

    Echo3Romeo One man wolfpack

    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 that would be pimp.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
  12. MetaKron

    MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    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.
  13. Diode-Man

    Diode-Man Awesome User Title

    I bet the biggest bong ever made could load a whole bucket of marijuana into the bowl. Wow, just think!


    k sorry off topic

    I do oppose detonation of nuclear weapons, they give the Earth and all on it shorter life.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  14. Echo3Romeo

    Echo3Romeo One man wolfpack

    You seem to be surprisingly sure about that.
  15. MetaKron

    MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    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?
  16. Walter L. Wagner

    Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker

    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.
  17. Echo3Romeo

    Echo3Romeo One man wolfpack

    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 (PDF) of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons. 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.
  18. cosmictraveler

    cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always.

    I'd say that Ishtar was the biggest bomb I've ever heard about. :rolleyes:
  19. Mr. Hamtastic

    Mr. Hamtastic whackawhackado!

    Hmm biggest bomb... supernovae?
  20. 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."

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