If I shot diamond bullets at a tank what would happen?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by darksidZz, Mar 6, 2011.

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  1. darksidZz Valued Senior Member

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    Someone on Omegle was asking me, if I had a gun that fired bullets made of diamond and I used it on a tank, would the bullets penetrate it or not?
     
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  3. ULTRA Realistically Surreal Registered Senior Member

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    A diamond bullet would most likely shatter, thay are hard but brittle. However if you made a tungsten carbide tip with diamonds at the cutting faces, it would penetrate deeply especially wuth a heavy depleted uranium slug behind it. The power of the charge and the type and thickness of the armour would also play a significant role.
     
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  5. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Regardless of the material (and diamond is brittle as ULTRA pointed out) armour penetration is a function of impact velocity as much as anything else.
    When you use the term "bullet" that implies a shoulder arm. A muzzle velocity of ~900 m/sec just won't cut it (at least against a modern tank).
    Modern penetrators (actual tank gun-fired ones) use velocities around the 1,500 m/ sec (and upwards) mark.

    @ ULTRA: tungsten penetrators are actually (just) denser than DU*. The current "preference" for DU is due to DU being "self sharpening", i.e. the abrasion of the material actually maintains the point on the nose (due the crystalline structure of DU) which tungsten does not do (it tends to mushroom).

    * W (Wolfram = tungsten) is around 19.25 gm/ cm[sup]3[/sup] (which will vary slightly with whatever alloy is used) and DU is 19.1 gm/ cm[sup]3[/sup].
     
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  7. fedr808 1100101 Valued Senior Member

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    No. It doesn't matter how sharp it is if its kinetic energy is less then that necessary to penetrate a tank's armor.

    Take the humble 2x4, hardly a projectile weapon. However, a 2x4 thrown by a tornado can penetrate through a brick wall. It cannot possibly be going faster then a hundred and fifty miles per hour, yet it can penetrate a solid brick wall.

    The problem is that the overrall mass of the bullet is not very high. Tank armor is meant to protect against missiles and sabot rounds that weigh much more then the bullet and travel much, much, much faster.
     
  8. jmpet Valued Senior Member

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    Yes. All depends on velocity.
     
  9. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    The people inside the tank would be jumping out to pick up the dimond chips that are spread around their tank to cash them in, a good way to get the people out of the tank, nice!

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  10. ULTRA Realistically Surreal Registered Senior Member

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    Velocity is important to increase the kinetic energy of the projectile. Mass is also critical as is the overall size of the projectile (hence the invention of the sabot round). This being a smaller, shaped projectile fired through a standard barrel using a break-away jacket or spacers. I didn't know DU was self sharpening, but chosse Tungsten as it has the capacity to maintain its shape even when white-hot. It's also very hard, but very strong. The continued use of DU is testament to its effectiveness.
    I think that at the required velocity, much of the diamond would vapourise. If you heat up a diamond and drop it in liquid oxygen, it burns, turning into pure carbon dioxide.
     
  11. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Without getting too deeply into it, once a certain velocity has been achieved it's a question of relative densities (penetrator vs. armour) and penetrator length. Diamond, at a specific gravity of ~3.5 isn't even in the running.
    APFSDS* (and to some extent APDS**) rounds reduce the area of impact (thus giving a higher concentration of the available energy).
    An APFSDS round has a penetration equation close to that for a shaped charge, as opposed to a full-calibre round which uses an equation*** that takes into account diameter, mass and velocity (with "fudge factors" for a couple of other things).
    Penetration is a mix of shear (punching out a plug of armour the same diameter as the penetrator) and plastic flow (pushing the armour out of the way "sideways").

    * Armour-Piercing Fin-Stabilised Discarding Sabot - a long-rod penetrator. Length to diameter is at least 10, with 20 or 30 being not uncommon.

    ** Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot - a pre-WWII French invention, first fielded by the British in WWII. L/D 3-5.

    *** The classic Milne-De Marre. WV[sup]2[/sup]= kd[sup]3[/sup](t/d)[sup]n[/sup], where k is a "figure of merit" (= the fudge factors) as often as not found by looking at actual test shots and seeing how the calculated result varies from the real one.
     
  12. ULTRA Realistically Surreal Registered Senior Member

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    Yes, Dwy is right. And because of developments in armour such as increasingly sloping armour, laminated welded armour, Chobham ceramic armour and reactive explosive armour there have been rapid developments in armout-piercing weapons. Some armour is so tough to penetrate now, that missiles have been developed which fly up into the air when they approach the armour, turn around, and smack the turret from above where the armour is thinner. Other missiles such as the good ol' Maverick were TV guided so you could literally steer them into the engine compartment where there is traditionally less armour.
     
  13. Alex3 Registered Member

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    Tips of bullets made by diamond are usually very sharp and have a strong ability to penetrate easily. The thing is what is the material by which the tank has been made.
     
  14. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    Read the thread before replying, it will save you future embarrassment.
     
  15. DeeCee Valued Senior Member

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    "If I shot diamond bullets at a tank what would happen?"

    Would it compress enough to squeeze down the barrel?
    If you try this get someone else to pull the trigger.

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    Dee Cee
     
  16. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    APFSDS rounds have already been mentioned by Dywyddyr, so there's no reason Diamond couldn't be used as a projectile, just many why we don't.
     
  17. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    What If the tank was also made out of diamonds?
     
  18. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Then it would maybe cost less than a real one!

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  19. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    Yeah, and those dudes at Qinetiq would have an easier time cloaking one,.. they'd be see through

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  20. Odin'Izm Procrastinator Registered Senior Member

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    DU is also pyrophoric which helps drive it through armour.
     
  21. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    No, but please confirm by firing many in to my big sand bucket.
     
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