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The fireball, an extremely hot and highly luminous spherical mass of air and gaseous weapon residues, occurs within less than one millionth of one second of the weapon's detonation. Immediately after its formation, the fireball begins to grow in size, engulfing the surrounding air. This growth is accompanied by a decrease in temperature because of the accompanying increase in mass. At the same time the fireball rises, like a hot-air balloon. Within seven-tenths of one millisecond from the detonation, the fireball from a 1-megaton weapon is about 440 feet across, and this increases to a maximum value of about 5,700 feet in 10 seconds. It is then rising at a rate of 250 to 350 feet per second. After a minute, the fireball has cooled to such an extent that it no longer emits visible radiation. It has then risen roughly 4.5 miles from the point of burst.
For this reason, if you use plutonium to fuel a bomb you need to use the more sophisticated "implosion" method. With this approach the nuclear fuel is shaped into a sphere (called the "pit"). Conventional explosives are put around it. When these are detonated the force of the explosion squeezes the pit into a supercritical mass long enough for the explosion to take place. While the principle sounds easy, it is difficult to actually make it work. The pit cannot simply be surrounded by high explosives. The shock wave that compresses it must be precisely spherical, otherwise the pit material will escape out through a weak point. To create the necessary explosive force in a perfect sphere, shaped explosive charges (sometimes called explosive lens) are used. The "fatman" bomb the leveled Nagasaki in World War II used 32 charges arranged around the pit like the faces of a soccer ball. In order to create the spherical shock wave it isn't only necessary to get the charges in the right position with the right shape, but they must be detonated at exactly the right time. A charge that detonates late will create a hole in the shock wave through which the pit can escape.
Implosion designs also require a neutron trigger or "initiator" to flood the pit with neutrons during detonation. In "fatman" this was done with a small sphere with layers of beryllium and polonium separated by thin gold foil placed in the center of the pit. An implosion design may also include other layers between the explosives and the pit to create a more powerful explosion. These include a "pusher" (designed to increase the explosive shock wave hitting the pit), a "tamper" (to help the pit from blowing apart too quickly once the explosion starts), and a "reflector" composed of a material that will reflect neutrons back in the pit increasing the amount of fission. In some bomb designs these functions are integrated into a single layer of material.
The "gun" is the simplest way to build a nuclear weapon. The atomic bomb used on Hiroshima during World War II used this approach. The weapon consists of a tube (much like the barrel of a gun) with half the nuclear charge fixed at one end and the other half (the moving half) at the opposite end. A conventional explosive charge was placed behind the moving portion which can be thought of as the "bullet." When the conventional charge is detonated, the bullet races down the tube and slams into the fixed charge at the other end (referred to as the "spike"). Once the two halves of the nuclear fuel are brought together and held together long enough, the chain reaction starts, the fuel goes supercritical and the explosion takes place.
While the gun method is easy to engineer, it has some drawbacks. The biggest one is the need to make sure the two parts of nuclear fuel come together rapidly enough. As the two sections get about an inch apart, they will start exchanging neutrons that might start a chain reaction. If the two parts go supercritical before they get close enough, the force of the energy released will blow them apart before the main explosion gets underway. This type of failure is known as a "fizzle."
Ok, so its not really a flame then. Its just f*cking hot air.
…occurs within less than one millionth of one second of the weapon's detonation.
The key lies in making it go as high on the "criticality chart" (can't think of the right word) as quick as possible.
originally posted by: LABTECH767
a reply to: intrptr
Exactly it is made up of the same type of energy though it is as you know different in one fundemental way, it is product of fission rather than fusion.
I was always curious about Neutron Bomb's, I think but don't know that maybe they are something similar to controlled form of the Fizzle Zaphod58 mentions when a bomb misfire's.
originally posted by: Ericthedoubter
a reply to: Zaphod58
So does the explosion burn all the organic material within,or is it "disassembled"at the molecular level?(Need a better term)
This bronze Buddha was melted by heat from the Hiroshima bomb. Bronze melts at around 1600 degrees F. The temperature on the ground beneath the exploding Hiroshima bomb reached about 7000 degrees. Hiroshima Peace Museum, Hiroshima, Japan. November 13, 1984.