Good job on this topic sonicbomb!
ER describes the effects perfectly.
I often read that the "neutron bomb" was a political weapon!
Outside of the 1970's US ABM program, the only deployment or rumor of deployment I ever heard of was in Western Europe, with low yield "tank killers" desigfned to irradiate the tank/APC crews.
Uranium tampers give much more bang for the buck and when killing the enemy, who would care about incidentals like fallout?
Ballistic Priscilla (37 kt)
Joined: Mar 21, 2010
Location: Winterthur, Switzerland
Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:05 am
To the Tamper question: always remember that neutrons respond in very much the opposite way to potentially absorbing material than the electromagnetic radiation that we are familiar with. Electromagnetic radiation is generally best absorbed by the heavy elements of the periodic table. So if you for instance make an X-Ray photograph of a rifle cartridge, the Bullet with its lead core will be completly black, the brass casing will be light grey and the powder charge is almost invisible. If you on the other hand take a neutron photograph of the same cartridge, the powder will be black, the casing is still light grey but the bullet is barely visible. So in order to get the neutrons escaping well you need to get a relatively heavy tamper with a low neutron absorbtion. So in my opinion a ER weapon will be just like a small boosted Fission bomb but with the tritium gas seperated from the implosion assembly. The tamper could be something like tungsten.
The only reasonable application of such a weapon is in a limited, strictly tactical nuclear war to limit the yield of the used wepons and still take out armoured troops effectively. This is an unlikely scenario because no one will risk the others to launch the first strategic strike once the first tactical strike is launched. This whould immediately result in a full scale strategic nuclear war.
Additionally the modern day tank killing has OTH capability since there are canister shells for the artillery with intelligent sub munitions that can kill any tank on the battlefield. A barrage with such shells will most likely be ways more effective than a ER weapon detonation and it is far less expensive.
DoYouKnow Grable (15 kt)
Joined: Jun 03, 2010
Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:19 am
Someone in the thread quote Sam Cohen who mentioned x-ray mirrors.
I am familiar with the x-ray mirror of the chandra x-ray observatory which are made to focus x-rays via "grazing incidence", whereby the x-rays paths are modified, *NOT* reflected by the materials making up the mirror. The mirrors are made of metal, although I am not sure about chromium and nickel. http://chandra.harvard.edu/resources/animations/mirror.html
The reason I am not sure such a mirror is needed is because ablation from energy stored photon gas usually drives an inward rocket, and a resulting implosion. The photon gas is quickly dispersed by the hohlraum casing (a good one is made of the element "gold"), and results in even heating of the fuel capsule. A star in a jar, so to speak.
A mirror would be efficient for more precisely focusing the energy, and is mentioned in the Ragheb UIUC site on the nuclear world URL at https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/mragheb/www/NPRE%20402%20ME%20405%20Nuclear%20Power%20Engineering/Nuclear%20World.pdf . Although, such bulky and heavy focusing, as far as is indicated by Carey Sublette in the present version of the Nuclear Weapons FAQ, is not needed. The focus of the aforementioned design is at an "ellipsoid of revolution", and is used to ignite a booster charge of DT, which propagates to the Li6D capsule.
While I am not saying that it's not possible to use these (bulky?) mirror designs, afaik these were not the dominant design in "Mike", the first hydrogen bomb test - at least according to Richard Rhodes and Carey Sublette (which seem to be the main authorities on the h-bomb at the moment).
Edit: I suspect it may be possible to affix a Chandra X-Ray Observatory-style x-ray mirror in place of the tertiary stage of a 3-stage nuke, and ablate away a barrier (as mentioned on nuclearweaponarchive.org for 3-stage designs) at the same time as implosion of the secondary, that funnels x-rays onto the path of the mirror. In that way, you would at least have some sort of ultra-powerful x-ray laser. It might look a little like an active galactic nuclei. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:M87_jet.jpg
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