Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'd like to know what theoretical methods for initiating a fusion detonation without a fission trigger exist, and which would be the most practical in the near future. I'd also like to know how small A fusion bomb might be practical under those circumstances. For instance I think you could probably initiate a fusion detonation if you collide 2 suitable masses into each other at a couple hundred miles per second, but that wouldn't be practical from a weapons standpoint. I'm thinking maybe laser initiated fusion or some kind of explosive magnetic compression or combinations or a host of other things I probably haven't even considered.

share|improve this question
    
laser could be used!! But see the problem is to reach Lawson's criteron hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/nucene/lawson.html, you need to get a high temperature 5000K in a confinement. laser can heat up things, but it would not remain confined! For lasers to work, you need a super fast, energy guzzling laser, which can supply MW's of energy in a microsecond.... –  Vineet Menon Feb 15 '12 at 10:12
    
Microseconds are way too long. We do this with nanosecond pulses. –  Colin K Feb 15 '12 at 12:46
    
I thought I remembered reading an article about a laser initiated inertially confined pellet, the laser ignites the interior of the pellet , and the exterior shell is a metal that is compressed magnetically at the same time, the object being to crush and contain and enhance the temperature and the density to achieve a thorough fusing event. I tried to Google for the article but I've had no luck finding it so could've just been my imagination! But it still seems like a good idea. What you guys think? –  Todd Burkett Feb 15 '12 at 23:36
    
@ToddBurkett: inertial confinements are for controlled fusion. I don't expect bombs to be made by that. –  Vineet Menon Feb 16 '12 at 4:46
    
Please tell me your interest is just theoretical! 8-)} –  Keith Thompson Dec 21 '13 at 21:55
add comment

1 Answer

I will make this into an answer since the comment format is too constrained.

It is instructive to read the wiki article on the hydrogen bomb. It is evident that to get a bomb by fusion one needs the high temperatures generated by the fission core plus the compression that feeds the plasma of hydrogen, for fusion to happen. These needs cannot be satisfied by lasers or magnetic fields.

A bomb cannot be made out of a setup that is studying and will be used for fusion as an energy source. Pellets and lasers etc work on too small a volume to sustain a nuclear explosion if the density of the gas is not dramatically increased. Take the ITER design, it cannot be made into a bomb. Nor the pellets and laser designs., the volumes are small and fusion can be sustained by continuous feeding, but no high enough pressure in a large scale can be achieved with these methods; so no explosions.

So, fortunately, there is no known method now that a fusion bomb can be made without the extraordinarily complicated A bomb in its core.

share|improve this answer
add comment

protected by Qmechanic Dec 21 '13 at 17:34

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.