# Questions tagged [explosions]

For questions about explosions (rapid volume expansions associated with an enormous release of energy to the outside).

309 questions
Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
41 views

### What would be the effect of a nuclear explosion occurring on a beach or close to the surf?

So nuclear explosions in water tend to have different effects as water is denser than air and incompressible(and if I'm not mistaken it tends to absorb a significant amount of blast energy). But I ...
• 439
62 views

### Calculating gigaton range blast wave properties

One of the biggest arguments against large nuclear devices is that most of the energy escapes into space. My limited understanding is that this happens because when the shockwave is still in the ...
136 views

### Deflecting a lunar mass with consecutive nuclear explosions [closed]

I'm looking for help in determining the amount of deflection an object with a mass of roughly $7\times10^{22} \,\text{kg}$ (a lunar mass) needs from colliding with a planet. Let's stipulate that the ...
72 views

### Can we use thermonuclear explosion to fight climate change? [closed]

Nuclear war can create nuclear winter, which is opposite to global warming. Can we detonate thermonuclear (because they don't create radiation) bombs somewhere to decrease global temperature?
43 views

### Why is velocity proportional to radius in a spherical explosion?

While doing problems on spherically symmetric explosions, I noticed I had been intuitively assuming that velocity scales linearly with radius of the "shell" under consideration. To be more ...
• 145
64 views

### Will a nuclear blast just above the surface of an asteroid push it, or just heat it and maybe produce outgassing?

Will a nuclear blast just above the surface of an asteroid push/nudge it, or just heat it and maybe produce outgassing? In other words, would nukes be actually useful to deflect asteroids?
• 111
44 views

### Is the inertia of the inwards pressure of any difference in the implosion type nuclear bomb?

In a fissile nuclear bomb, such as the gadget in the trinity test, uses an explosion to create an inwards pressure to compress plutonium from a non-critical-state, into a super-critical-state. So you ...
• 768
48 views

### It is possible to estimate the height of an explosion by its looks?

There's various social media postings (e.g. on reddit or on Twitter) saying this is what an exoatmospheric intercept (by an Arrow) missile looks like (I took 4 frames from the video, in case you don't ...
58 views

### Why do some nuclear tests feature what seems to be an additional fireball on top?

Have a look at this frame from footage recorded during Operation Hardtack I - Test POPLAR Clearly the bit on top is extra hot, and it seems to be above the main fireball, or at least not part of the ...
34 views

### Relation between blast wind and overpressure

Suppose we have the ambient air pressure, density, speed of sound and blast overpressure. How can we use this data to get the speed of the blast wind? Currently I simply assume that 50% of the wave's ...
482 views

### The relationship betwen Equivalent Megatons and Yield

This article defines a concept called Equivalent Megatons (EMT) and gives a formula of calculating it in terms of Yield (measured in megatons). In evaluating the destructive power of a weapons system,...
• 33
131 views

### What does a symmetrical explosion mean in the context of preventing accidental nuclear weapon trigger?

I just watched a video entitled This Is the Real Risk We Face with Nuclear Weapons. In the video, it referenced a "broken arrow" incident where a US B-52 was carrying a nuclear weapon met ...
1 vote
129 views

### How is it that underground nuclear tests create huge caverns without violating conservation of mass?

If a multi-megaton underground nuclear test 500m down in deep hard rock detonates, we’re told that it will leave a rather radioactive cavern in its wake (I’m just using Gnome as an example, I’m not ...
• 129
48 views

### Explosive lenses and timing: don't the triggers have to be synchronized or do the lenses make the arrangement more forgiving?

I do not know if this is physics or engineering, but it is complex engineering I think at least. (In the implosion fission bomb first tested at Trinity and used in Nagasaki. Not the gun type.) A big ...
• 2,262
9k views

### What exactly is the fireball caused by a nuclear bomb?

This seems like a pretty simple question, but I can't seem to come up with a satisfactory answer. When a nuclear bomb is detonated a large fireball forms. What is the fuel that drives this fireball? ...
• 487
1 vote
56 views

### Non-zero probability that detonating a nuclear bomb sets off atmospheric fission chain reaction [duplicate]

After watching Oppenheimer I am under the impression that there is always a non-zero probability that the detonation of an atomic/nuclear bomb will set off a chain reaction of fission in Earth’s ...
190 views

### Hyper-saturated blue colour in underwater explosions?

I've been looking at underwater explosions from various US navy shock trials: e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yV0eyP4nO20 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PS2whGDzmzg If you go frame by frame ...
• 117
66 views

### Is one singular nucleus with no help whatsoever powerful enough? [closed]

A dude has the power to split a nucleus. But this nucleus doesn't hit anything, it just explodes, and that's that. He explodes the atom. He can let the nucleus explode, or he can absorb it. I was ...
3k views

### Behavior of air in a submersible implosion

I hope that this community could help to clarify some unproven but widespread claims regarding the implosion of the Titan submersible. Background: The 2023 Titan submersible incident created a wide ...
• 39
1 vote
442 views

### How close to a lightning strike to be perceived at 140dBP, or to risk permanent hearing loss?

I was caught in an electric storm last night while camping. The time between flash and thunder must have been 3 seconds or less at least five times. (The nearest hill peak which could have been ...
• 111
3k views

### What experimental evidence shows that the "explosion" model of the Big Bang with an explosion at a single point of space is wrong?

A popular misconception in the layman public is that the Big Bang was some sort "explosion" at a single point of space, where originally all matter was concentrated and then it "...
• 2,837
541 views

### In nuclear weapons, why does levitating a pit improve compression?

Levitated pits were introduced after after solid pits. In this design the tamper is separated from the fissile with an airgap. From the Nuclear Weapon Archive: The original Fat Man pit design used a ...
266 views

### The sign of the energy released by an explosion

On a simple system with no external force, we can calculate the energy released by an explosion as the difference of the sum of the kinetic energy before and after. With kinetic energy $K_i$ (initial) ...
• 117
117 views

### Spallation neutron sources + wakefield particle accelerator + U-238 for generation of Pu-239 [closed]

I am looking to combine the principles of spallation neutron sources, wakefield particle accelerators, and neutron absorption to enable anybody to create large amounts of plutonium using relatively ...
64 views

### What if you ejected a cone of material from the Earth out into space?

For calculation purposes, let's say it's a cone with cone angle (at Earth's center) of 30 degrees, that extends down to the outer surface of Earth's solid inner core, and the entire mass is ejected ...
• 131
51 views

### Modelling the Sound of a Gun's Smokeless Powder Explosion

I am seeking to synthesize the sound of a gunshot. I am aware the firing of a gun is made up of many parts, but I would like to handle the explosion of smokeless powder in the bore first. Here's what ...
• 21
173 views

### How does the second stage of a fusion bomb create and maintain the needed pressure?

My understanding of the second stage of a thermonuclear bomb is as follows: X-rays from the first stage compress the "tamper", thereby igniting the fission sparkplug, and that the resulting ...
• 1,828
203 views

### Light from a nuclear explosion in space

If someone detonates a one megaton nuclear bomb in space, how far will it be visible to the naked eye? Of course, I am aware that there is no medium in space that can glow, so all the light would come ...
505 views

### Laser induced explosion (detonation)

I have a question involving quite the wacky (and silly) hypothetical. It's a part of an ongoing argument I'd like to settle. Of course, I have no background in physics which is why I came here, so I ...
• 21
212 views

### Is it safe to heat completely sealed vacuum container for a long long time?

I am currently making vacuum fryer, and was wondering this question. Normally, when you apply heat for a long time in a completely sealed container, the gas will expand, and pressure will be built and ...
49 views

### What is a relatively simple/heuristic formula to find the yield of an explosive given the peak overpressure and the mass of the charge? [closed]

Suppose one can experimentally determine the two parameters mentioned in the question, are they enough for a good approximation of the yield of the explosive? I am thinking there are some ways to do ...
• 166
1 vote
786 views

### Simulated nuclear blast using electric arcs

"Nuclear bombs" have some distinct associated phenomena. They produce loud bangs. They produce bright flashes of light. They produce bursts of gamma radiation. These phenomena are diagnostic ...
230 views

### Under pressure, why do some things explode and some liquify? [closed]

For example, diesel under compression (heats and?) explodes; refrigerant under compression cools and turns from a gas into a liquid. Is it just simply that different fluids behave differently under ...
• 105
1 vote
949 views

### How powerful is the smallest possible nuclear blast? [closed]

At the risk of drawing unwanted official attention to myself, I'm curious.  It is alleged that a tactical warhead had little or no effect on six persons less than six kilometers away.  What is the ...
• 369
1 vote
109 views

### Describe a nuclear bomb near a black hole relative to a bomb in open space, due to $E=mc^2$

The energy of a nuclear bomb is described by $E=mc^2$. Near a black hole we have tremendous time dilation, so the rate of time and the speed of light is slower relative to open space. To an outside ...
• 4,836
126 views

### Disappearing cola in a hot car

I unadvisably left an unopened can of cola in my car on a very hot, sunny day. The top blew off and when i recovered the can it was clean and dry inside. Except for a few sticky droplets on the ...
89 views

### Would a dense city impact the radius of a nuclear bomb?

There’s plenty of sites out there where you can choose a nuclear bomb, pick a location, and see the radius of destruction. I noticed that the radius size of a bomb dropped in the heart of NYC is ...
• 125
1 vote
56 views

### Can nuclear bombs intended for mass destruction also be used to deflect asteroids? [closed]

As far as I know, there are two possible uses of nuclear bombs: for mass destruction and for deflecting asteroids. Can those two things be achieved with the same bombs? Or must they be designed in ...
• 1,448
6k views

### Neil de Grasse Tyson on Nukes and Radiation - What the Heck Is He Talking About?

Last week Neil de Grasse Tyson was on Bill Maher's show and the topic of nuclear weapons came up. Tyson said, "modern nukes don't have the radiation problem.... They're a different kind of weapon ...
• 482
86 views

### Does a fission bomb end up causing fusion of ambient elements or remain parts of the bomb itself?

Given the heat and pressure, is there some reason why a relatively small amount of atoms of various elements in the atmosphere or soil or in the metals used to make to bomb itself do not fuse? I do ...
• 2,262
1 vote
396 views

### "Lowest yield" atomic weapon possible [closed]

I would ask that folks be tolerant of my ignorance in this field. When discussing tactical and strategic nuclear weapon yield I wonder about what is the lowest possible fission weapon is possible. A &...
• 119
36 views

### If someone dropped a conventional bomb on a stellerator, what would happen?

Let's say we have a stellarator outputting a steady 200 GW of electrical power. If someone dropped a conventional bomb / explosive / shell on it that was just enough to breach plasma containment, how ...
• 131
556 views

### Does water undergo thermolysis if a nuclear device detonates within it?

I caught a glimpse of the Wahoo nuclear test, an underwater test as part of Operation Hardtack I, and I wondered; that's a LOT of thermal energy going directly into the surrounding water, with this ...
• 290
109 views

### Would an ICBM be visible while travelling towards it’s destination?

From the ground, would an ICBM warhead on terminal approach be visible to the naked eye before it detonated? I'm thinking it would be at reentry speed so would look like a big fireball.
• 103
1 vote
246 views

### How much do tunnels extend blast waves from explosives?

As was discussed in the comments, I've crossposted this question to here, and am cross-linking them: https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/234669/how-much-do-tunnels-extend-blast-waves-...
79 views

### With blast injuries, how much of the damage is from rapid decompression? [closed]

If a person or creature suffers a high explosive or low explosive blast, how much of their injuries will be due to the sudden decompression immediately after the shockwave? Sudden decompression can ...
96 views

### Would it be possible to make a Gun type nuclear bomb using Isotopically pure Plutonium-239 [closed]

I know that it's normally not possible to make a gun type nucelar bomb using plutonium due to high rates of spontaneous fission. But that's primarily due to the plutonium 240. If you instead used ONLY ...
• 2,918
763 views

### Would splitting an atom create an explosion if there are no suitable atoms nearby?

I've seen in many stories where someone has powerful telekinesis or something similar as a power and threaten to split an atom and create some massive nuclear explosion. From my understanding, this ...
80 views

### How can an explosion knock debris into orbit?

In Kurzgesagt's video on the Chicxulub impact, the narrator says that some of the debris from the impact was knocked into an orbit, where it would stay for thousands of years. According to this answer,...
• 1,405