Watching "The Dark Knight Rises", Bane announces halfway into the movie at the stadium that what they have is a neutron bomb. But then at the end of the movie there is an actual nuclear explosion shown as if it was a fission bomb. My understanding was that a neutron bomb only releases highly energetic particles like neutrons so that all organic matter is destroyed by the radiation. I thought the point was to keep buildings/cities/material wealth intact so that at first you deploy a neutron bomb, kill the people in the city, wait for radiation to settle down, and then move in and take over the city. So a neutron bomb shouldn't blast like that with the ability to level a city and everything in it. Is a neutron bomb supposed to "explode" like that? Did I have the wrong idea? Or is it just another case of Hollywood getting the physics wrong? How much of an "explosion" is a neutron bomb supposed to have?


| cite | improve this question | | | | |
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (IANAWS: I am not a weapons specialist) The blast a neutron bomb is similar to that of a large conventional bomb, though I couldn't tell you exactly how large. Essentially a neutron bomb is just an atom bomb with less fissionable material in the core so a chain reaction isn't reached. I haven't seen the movie so I couldn't tell you if the explosion was far too big or not. But there definitely is an explosion, just not as big as a full atomic bomb. $\endgroup$ – Michael Brown Jan 18 '13 at 13:49

A neutron bomb is still a hydrogen bomb, just designed in such a way as to allow much of the neutron radiation to escape, instead of remaining trapped to enhance the chain-reaction.

A neutron bomb explosion would be basically the same as a hydrogen bomb, just with a little less explosive energy, and a little more neutron radiation---making it more harmful to people (especially because its harder to shield from neutrons).

| cite | improve this answer | | | | |
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This: fission/fusion/neutron-spalation rather than fission/fusion or fission/fusion/fission as in a high yield thermonuclear explosive. $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Jan 18 '13 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ The most common designs, as I understand it, were normal H-bombs more or less minus the U238 jacket (final "-fission" step). So yes, as zhermes said, still a big explosion. As a living object, you couldn't really tell the difference before expiring. $\endgroup$ – Phil Perry Jun 23 '14 at 23:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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