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Is there a material known to man that I can tape to a Tsar-Bomba-yield nuclear warhead and find kilometers away after detonation?

This question is quite similar but a nuclear explosion is quite instantaneous. The sun, on the other hand, exposes a material to the same conditions continuously until it disintegrates.

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  • $\begingroup$ I've removed some comments; everyone please keep in mind that comments should not be used for answering the question. $\endgroup$ – David Z Apr 13 '16 at 6:55
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ: My comment was meant to get the OP to admit formulate his question more precisely. It seems to me that what he really wants is to make a nuclear driven canon which propels a solid chunk of matter at incredible speed. $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Apr 13 '16 at 7:12
  • $\begingroup$ Does it have to be whole? There may be some materials that will exist in its entirety but in very small pieces scattered everywhere. $\endgroup$ – Neil Apr 13 '16 at 7:51
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One has to think about what happens in the explosion.

In a conventional explosion, a chemical reaction creates a whole lot of hot gas - that volume is initially contained inertially, and it expands as a shock wave travels outward. Any object on the boundary will experience a larger thermal and pressure gradient; the pressure and flow of matter behind the shock wave propel things outwards. The "heat" is external to any nearby objects, and whether they survive is partly a question of size, melting point and strength.

A nuclear explosion is different. Instead of a chemical reaction creating a large amount of hot gas, the heat is radiated outward by photons, neutrons and other particles. And because the neutron flux is so high, there is a very large heat transfer to any objects in the close vicinity - both the air (think mushroom cloud) and any objects. This means that an object nearby will be heated "through and through", as the neutron flux diffuses through it.

For an object to survive, it would have to have a combination of extremely small neutron cross section, high heat capacity, and high melting point.

I don't believe materials exist with a sufficient combination of these properties.

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  • $\begingroup$ Didn't know about through and through heating before. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – PNDA Apr 14 '16 at 10:34
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short answer no

longer answer it depends on what you mean by survive. The exposure to the intense heat is going to melt anything that is small enough to "tape to a Tsar-Bomba-yield nuclear warhead" the temperatures of fission reactions are used to induce fusion temperatures they are going to far exceed any threshold for a small piece of material and the temperature isn't going to fall off anywhere near fast enough for anything small to survive. If you take it to extremes and have several kilometers of lets say steel then some of it will survive but there is a matter of context required to make that work and i think it's outside of the scope question being asked and becomes a new question about thermal shielding tolerances for temperature falloff.

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