Questions tagged [explosions]

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100
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4answers
35k views

Would a pin head heated to 15 million degrees Celsius kill everyone in a 1000 mile radius?

The YouTube video How Hot Can it Get? contains, at the 2:33 mark, the following claim: A pin head heated to 15 million degrees will kill everyone in a 1000 miles radius. On what basis can this ...
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2answers
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How do we get supersonic bullets?

I recently answered a question on the WorldBuilding forum about grenades and bullets. One of the things that came up was that I argued smokeless powder in a rifle round could detonate, but was ...
45
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2answers
6k views

Cause for spikes in Trinity nuclear bomb test

In Richard Rhodes' book, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, I was reading about the Trinity nuclear test. High speed photos were taken and this one is from <1ms after the detonation. The book mentions ...
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2answers
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In atomic bomb tests under ground, where does the displaced volume of the rocks go?

Underground atomic bomb tests are done in a deep, sealed hole. Not all underground tests eject material on the surface. In this case, they are only noticeable as earthquakes, according to German ...
39
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4answers
6k views

Why exactly do atomic bombs explode?

In atomic bombs, nuclear reactions provide the energy of the explosion. In every reaction, a thermal neutron reaches a plutonium or a uranium nucleus, a fission reaction takes place, and two or three ...
38
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1answer
3k views

Nuclear bomb mushroom cloud with trumpet formation

I have found this specific image here (Loong found out that it is the Soviet Joe 4 test of the 400 kiloton RDS-6 warhead at the Semipalatinsk test site on August 12, 1953): Also an impressive Youtube ...
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6answers
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Is there any aspect of an explosion resulting from a nuclear weapon test that cannot be simulated using super computers?

This Washington Post news article states that with the advent of computer simulation of nuclear tests, live tests are no longer needed. Generally speaking there are 3 aspects of an explosion ...
27
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8answers
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How large would the steam explosion at Chernobyl have been?

So the second episode of the HBO series began to cover the risk of a steam explosion that led to them sending three divers into the water below the reactor to drain the tanks. This occurred after the ...
27
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4answers
41k views

Is a bomb's shockwave strong enough to kill? [closed]

I'm watching a movie, The Hurt Locker, and the first scene shows an IED explosion which kills a soldier. Of course movies don't depict explosions with maximum realism, but I noticed the debris and ...
26
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2answers
3k views

Why does a nuclear explosion have directionality?

It just occurred to me that almost all images I've seen of the (in)famous mushroom cloud show a vertical column rising perpendicular to the ground and a horizontal planar ring parallel to the ground. ...
21
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2answers
6k views

Would an atomic bomb detonate a uranium stockpile? [closed]

If a uranium atomic bomb directly hit a stockpile of weapons grade uranium, would the chain reaction also detonate the stockpile? what about a stockpile of nuclear reactor fuel rods? what about a ...
20
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6answers
3k views

What causes the bucket to launch in the air?

In this video potassium is dropped into the bucket and it reacts with the water present in the bucket causing an explosion within the bucket itself. I don't see how an internal explosion makes the ...
20
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3answers
1k views

Why do nuclear bombs make a mushroom?

Atomic bombs make mushroom. It's well-known and we've seen many images of atomic experiments around the world. My question is, what causes the mushroom shape? Do conventional explosives like TNT and ...
16
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4answers
5k views

What determines the pitch of an explosion?

It's bonfire weekend here in the UK, and everybody is intent on shooting fireworks. I was wondering, what determines the pitch of the sound produced by an explosion? The sound has clearly a ...
14
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4answers
13k views

Can open, unsafe nuclear fusion reaction burn the atmosphere?

I happened to hear people saying that the nuclear fusion bomb tests could set the atmosphere on fire. I have some serious doubts about that - but I have no facts. Nuclear fusion reaction requires $15*...
14
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1answer
286 views

Are “echo” explosions near Earth realistic?

Watch the simulation below for better visualization. Suppose we create an explosion, for example at $2R_{Earth}$ from the center of Earth. Just before the explosion was set off, the explosive was at ...
13
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2answers
2k views

Pictures of nuclear explosions some milli/nano seconds after detonation

Where I can find photos of nuclear explosions just after detonation (before 5-10 ms, the shorter the better)?
13
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4answers
4k views

Why did the apple explode when spun very fast?

This new video from the slow-mo guys captures the explosion of an apple when it is rotated really fast (roughly $109$ rotations per second). But can someone explain me why did it explode? Can we ...
13
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1answer
2k views

Why does paper explode when compressed?

Various videos online show paper/card suddenly releasing energy in an explosion like way and transforming into a brittle material when put under sufficient pressure from presses. Examples are shown ...
13
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2answers
379 views

Why exactly does molten NaCl explode, when it is poured into water?

Why does molten sodium chloride explode, when it is poured into water? $\mathrm{NaCl}$ has high melting point, $1074\,\rm K$ ($801\,\rm^\circ C$). $\mathrm{NaCl}$ has molar mass $58.44\,\rm g/mol$, ...
11
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4answers
5k views

Why do meteors explode?

A report on the Chelyabinsk meteor event earlier this year states Russian meteor blast injures at least 1,000 people, authorities say My question is Why do meteors explode? Do all meteors ...
11
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1answer
3k views

What are the white lines in some nuclear bomb test photos?

What are those white lines connecting the ground to the sky on the left side of this photo? I've see these before in the nuclear bomb test films too. They're apparently already in place upon ...
11
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1answer
14k views

How and why would a glass table break in this manner?

Recently, a relative of mine came to me asking me to explain a strange physics phenomenon. She had 3 glass tables; 2 small and one large arranged neatly such that the small tables were half enclosed ...
10
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4answers
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Explosion in space

I'm curious about what happens if an explosive substance detonates in space. On Earth, I guess a good chunk of the energy released is carried away by shock waves in the atmosphere. But in space, the ...
10
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3answers
4k views

If you throw dynamite into a pool of lava, will it explode or melt?

I was playing a table-top rpg with a friend. It was set... well it was pretty weird, so I won't get into it. Suffice it to say the bad guy had a stick of dynamite and we were on a volcano. I hit the ...
10
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3answers
393 views

Could the end cap of the Pascal B (1) survive its trip through the atmosphere?

In 1957, the US had a nuclear test where a shaft was dug 152 meters into the ground. A 100 mm thick, 900 kg steel plug was installed and welded at the top of the shaft. Under it was 2 feet of ...
10
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1answer
481 views

What happened to this folded paper in a hydraulic press?

The video below apparently shows a man folding an A3 size piece of paper 7 times, putting it under the hydraulic press each time. After 7 folds, on the last press, the paper sort of explodes. What's ...
9
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4answers
817 views

Why does a blast wave travel faster than sound?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blast_wave#Characteristics_and_properties says: "A blast wave travels faster than the speed of sound and the passage of the shock wave usually lasts only a few ...
8
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5answers
916 views

What is the Half-Life of a Large Chunk of Fissile Material?

Uranium-$235$ has a half-life of about $700$ million years and a critical mass of about $52\,$kg. That means if you take a large number of $U$-$235$ atoms, say a $26 \,$kg amount, and put each atom in ...
8
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2answers
6k views

How many grams of explosive are equivalent to the energy in a battery?

In the movie Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Arnie's fuel cells were twice shown to be extremely devastating when their stored energy was released. In real life, how many grams of, say, gunpowder ...
8
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1answer
3k views

How does nuclear war look like from space?

As today's the 29th anniversary of possible Armageddon, had Mutual Assured Destruction taken place, with the USA and USSR exchanging most of their nuclear arsenal, what would someone In low earth ...
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3answers
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2013 Russian meteor event, Sonic Boom or Explosion Boom?

In the lastest meteor event in Russia there was a big BOOM heard long after the meteor had passed. In this youtube video we can see at 4:30 the Meteor passing.. then hearing the BOOM at 7:00 , 150 ...
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3answers
6k views

Why did my thermos flask/jug explode after stirring with a stainless steel spoon?

I always use a thermos jug when making tea. This time I filled the jug with tea leaves and hot water (around 100 degree celcius). I closed the jug and noticed that the tea was too weak therefore I ...
6
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4answers
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How much of the energy from 1 megaton H Bomb explosion could we capture to do useful work?

The world is full of nuclear warheads being stockpiled. Controlled fusion power seems a long way away. Could we put these warheads to better use by exploding them in a controlled way and capturing ...
6
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2answers
2k views

Nuclear bomb power - myth?

I'm not experienced in physics yet (if it helps I've covered as much as acceleration, momentum and energy transfer/chemistry ionic and covalent bonding) but I've heard that the way people compare ...
6
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2answers
12k views

Do brick walls effectively protect against ionizing radiation from a nuclear explosion?

Of course it depends on the distance and the amount of radiation, so let's say its about 10,000 Rad. Now, can wall made of brick protect someone behind it from such radiation ?
6
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1answer
19k views

short circuit an alkaline battery

i'm not doing anything related to physics, but i'm just curious : What really happen when i short circuit an alkaline battery ? some article in the net shown that fire/explosion can be happened when ...
6
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1answer
2k views

What is the name of the temperature limit beyond which an explosion will form a mushroom cloud?

Many months ago I saw a picture that was taken many years ago of an explosion, possibly in the Atlanta area. If I recall the explosion was caused by fuel in railroad cars. However, the explosion ...
5
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3answers
360 views

Is it impossible for reactor grade uranium to be detonated?

So, this is a question that has been puzzling me for numerous reasons. Be it for advocating nuclear power, or getting a bit of nerd rage when watching a sci-fi work, or having an argument with someone....
5
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1answer
852 views

How much pressure would be needed to contain a 1 gigaton nuclear bomb explosion within a sphere of one meter radius?

How much pressure would be needed to contain the largest human exploitable nuclear bomb within a sphere of one radius? Also would it be possible to create a magnetic field that controlled some ...
5
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3answers
2k views

What was the amount of energy released in the 9/11 terrorist attacks?

I read somewhere on the internet that the amount of energy released by the terrorist attacks on the twin towers on 9/11 should have been of the order of 100 tons of TNT. This number surprised me, ...
5
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1answer
1k views

How would the explosion from a Pure Fusion Bomb differ from the explosion from a Fission Nuclear Bomb?

Suppose we have the technology to create high enough temperatures and pressures inside a confined space to fuse together deuterium and tritium, and create a Pure Fusion Bomb. How would the explosion ...
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2answers
1k views

Initial pressure of explosion

I would like to know, if given a TNT equivalent of explosive (or its Energy) is it possible to determine what would be the initial pressure that will be the result of that explosion ? To be more ...
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4answers
14k views

Hydrogen Bomb Mass to Energy?

How much mass is converted to energy when a hydrogen bomb explodes? I remember an eighth grade chemistry class where, by going through the nuclear processes, my teacher estimated that roughly 2g of ...
4
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1answer
464 views

Was the Strontium-90 found in Godzilla's footprints a by-product of nuclear fusion?

In the movie Godzilla at one point the scientists discover a residue of Strontium-90 in Godzilla's footprint. In the ensuing report to the Diet a scientist announces that this is evidence that ...
4
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2answers
357 views

What prevents fissile materials from fully undergoing nuclear fission?

As I have realised, most of the Uranium and Plutonium inside an Atomic Bomb do not actually fission together, even if the critical mass is used. In fact, for Little Boy, only 1.09 kg out of 64 kg of ...
4
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3answers
304 views

What's driving the bucket up?

Just saw this cool video from Plymouth University, which I actually found through Matthen's blog. They fill a plastic bottle with liquid nitrogen, screw the cap on, drop it in a bucket full of warm ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Antimatter bomb

I stumbled upon this wikipedia article on antimatter weaponry. Being greatly appalled by the sad fact that large sums of money are being wasted on this, I could not stop myself from thinking for a ...
4
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2answers
297 views

Was Chernobyl Explosion a Small Nuclear Detonation?

The Chernobyl reactor was designed to produce a maximum of 3.2 megawatts of power. It is now estimated to have produced 3.2 gigawatts of power in the final second of its life. The original ...
4
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2answers
337 views

How would a nuclear explosion look in vacuum?

Approximately, how does the specific luminosity, $L_\nu(t)$, of a nuclear explosion in a vacuum look as a function of frequency and more importantly, time? Assume the observer is very far away. If ...

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