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Nuclear Weapons - The 4th generation is coming soon

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posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 07:11 AM
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Here's a quick list, briefly explain the previous generations of nuclear weapons.

  • First generation nuclear weapon: "Atomic" (fission) bombs destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, ending World War II.

  • Second-generation: "Hydrogen" (fusion) bomb, the workhorses of U.S. and Russian arsenals. Uses a fission bomb to start the fusion reaction.

  • Third-generation: "X-ray laser" (directed-energy) and "neutron" (enhanced-radiation) weapons). A bust. The laser didn't work, and the neutron bomb found no military use. 3rd Generation Nuclear Weapons

  • Fourth-generation: Anything not invented, especially fusion bombs started without fission, but not simply a modified existing weapon. Could use many physical principles; may not be possible or practical.


OK so we've established that a 4th generation weapon is one that does not need fission to trigger fusion. Let's have a look at what ways fusion can be initiated without fission

  • Molecular and Metallic Hydrogen
    When hydrogen is squeezed by about 1 million atmospheres of pressure, theory says the electrons will start to flow easily, making a good conductor or even a superconductor. This "metallic hydrogen" will, again theoretically, store immense amounts of energy.

    A 1977 report (Molecular and Metallic Hydrogen, M. Ross and C. Shishkevish, Report R-2056-ARPA, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California, May, 1977), said metallic hydrogen would have 35 times the explosive capacity of TNT and could be "useful in nuclear weapons."

    In 1996, metallic hydrogen was apparently synthesized at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, home of the thermonuclear bomb. In 1998, LLNL experimenters shocked deuterium (a hydrogen isotope with one neutron) with a giant laser, producing a material with metal-like superconducting properties.

    Some interesting information on Metallic Hydrogen : www-phys.llnl.gov...

    So-called "metallic hydrogen" is believed to have an energy density of about 270 kJ/cm3 which would be about 35 times more energetic than TNT. It could be used as a powerful "conventional" (non-nuclear) military explosive. A bomb containing one ton of metallic hydrogen would then be equivalent in destructive potential to 35 tons of ordinary TNT. It could also be used to make nuclear weapons much more compact, possibly even obviating the use of a fission trigger (fission makes the bomb radioactively dirty, and the materials required for the fission trigger are very expensive and hard to obtain; a design with no fission trigger would make cost proportional to explosive power, but could also prove to be a proliferation nightmare).

    members.dancris.com...

  • Z-Pinch Machine
    A Z-pinch machine forces intense current through a fine, cylindrical wire mesh. The current vaporizes the wires, forming a plasma -- an ionized gas -- and creates a huge magnetic field that accelerates the plasma inward, toward the Z axis. When the plasma becomes unstable, it creates a brief, intense X-ray shower, which does the compressing. - just like the fission trigger in an H-bomb.

    A z-pinch is so named because it creates a magnetic field that, as it contracts around ionized gas, pinches it vertically along (to a mathematician) the z-axis.

    For periods of ten-billionths of a second this fall, a massive accelerator at Sandia National Laboratories consistently emitted intense bursts of more than 40 trillion watts of X-ray power. The highest power pulse was more than 160 trillion watts -- more than 30 times the combined output of the Earth's utility plants.
    The accelerator, known as PBFA-Z (Particle Beam Fusion Accelerator, Z-Pinch version), produced increasingly powerful bursts of energy -- 1.0 megajoules in early October, 1.2 megajoules in mid-October, and 1.8 megajoules in November. A megajoule is a million joules -- a unit of energy

    Neal Singer, a Sandia spokesman, described the effort as "an experimental machine that could possibly -- if enlarged -- produce usable electrical power through nuclear fusion." As a trigger for a nuclear device, he says, it would be "very unworkable. We're talking a machine of several hundred tons."

    Former nuclear-weapon designer Ray Kidder, however, admits to concern about technologies that could replace the heavy capacitors powering the pinch, particularly a Russian gadget that generated electricity with conventional explosives. "Some technology they were putting in was excellent," he says. "I consider their latest design ... ingenious."

    Kidder, who says most fourth-generation nuclear weapons are speculative at best, suggests banning the combination of high-explosive current generators and fusion research. "That's where you better start watching out, because if it worked, it might actually prove to have lethality."

    Technician Dolores Graham uses tweezers to build an array of wires, each 1/10 the diameter of a human hair, that form a target about the size of a spool of thread (between horizontal metal rings) for Sandia's huge Z accelerator.


    RAW POWER: Electrical discharges illuminate the surface of the Z machine, the world's most powerful X-ray source, during a recent accelerator shot. By early 1998, the Sandia National Laboratories accelerator had achieved temperatures of 1.8 million degrees, close to the 2 to 3 million degrees required for nuclear fusion. In the last 18 months, breakthroughs have enabled the machine to increase its power output roughly seven times.



www.sandia.gov...
www.sandia.gov...


mod edit:


Link

4) Most of all, do not use ALL CAPS in posts and thread titles.


[edit on 12-12-2005 by UK Wizard]




posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 05:23 PM
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This is a really interesting post, I hope someone more experience than me can reply!



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 05:25 PM
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Originally posted by Solarity
This is a really interesting post, I hope someone more experience than me can reply!


I'm glad you liked it.
I just hope more people reply as well, seems the mentally challenging threads get the least reply



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 05:29 PM
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Hydrogen bombs with none of the radioactive side effect means they can be used liberally without fear of prolonged contamination.

That would sum up the ideal weapon for the military.



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 05:35 PM
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^^^ Not to mention, it would be far easier to produce H-bombs without the need for U235 and P240. It would make any country with a reasonable degree of technology able to produce them.

Even metallic hydrogen has enourmous power by itself. 37 times more powerful than TNT by density.



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 07:05 PM
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excellent post mad scientist.

the implications for weapons proliferation are indeed frightening. I am sure this type of weapon research is irresistable to the military but if sucessful this must surely be some of the most highly sensitive information in existance.

If this knowledge on workable 'clean' fusion explosives without the pain of assembling a fusion trigger got out of the box the world would become a staggeringly more dangerous place



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 07:14 PM
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Originally posted by Raideur
Hydrogen bombs with none of the radioactive side effect means they can be used liberally without fear of prolonged contamination.

That would sum up the ideal weapon for the military.


A pure anti-matter bomb would be able to do that. It would also be far more poweful then any H-bomb of equal size.

The US Airforce looked into anti-matter for weapons but the program has since went black or was shut down.



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 07:32 PM
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I have indeed heard of these hydrogen weapons you mentioned, I know a friend who made miniturized versions of this and he "used" them to "blow-up mailboxes"

Wouldn't weapon treaties still apply for a WMD like this? this IS a weapon that can pottentionally be used for mass-destruction right?

indeed very interesting post, worth a WATS in my book


BTW, Mad Scientist, I thought you got banned, did you get unbanned? well good to see you back



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 07:32 PM
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Originally posted by ShadowXIX
A pure anti-matter bomb would be able to do that. It would also be far more poweful then any H-bomb of equal size.


Well if it were possible to make. The physics behind building a weapon out of antimatter is far beyound the cutting edge state of technology today. First of all how do you produce industrial quantites of anti-matter and secondly how the hell would you contain it. If it were a magnetic field it would have to be big - too big for a bomb.



The US Airforce looked into anti-matter for weapons but the program has since went black or was shut down.

Research would still be conducted at one of the US High Energy Physics labs, it would require an investment of billions per year just to get started.
I hvae heard anti-matter weapons and other equally exotivc weapons referred to as ' blue sky ' weapons - not sure exactly what that means.

PS. You might find this interesting ANTIMATTER Explosive Calculator



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 07:41 PM
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Antimatter looks almost too good for the American military to ignore. With something this powerful, they would be fools not to be doing research into the possible uses of it.


The energy from colliding positrons and antielectrons "is 10 billion times ... that of high explosive," Edwards explained in his March speech. Moreover, 1 gram of antimatter, about 1/25th of an ounce, would equal "23 space shuttle fuel tanks of energy." Thus "positron energy conversion," as he called it, would be a "revolutionary energy source" of interest to those who wage war.

It almost defies belief, the amount of explosive force available in a speck of antimatter -- even a speck that is too small to see. For example: One millionth of a gram of positrons contain as much energy as 37.8 kilograms (83 pounds) of TNT, according to Edwards' March speech. A simple calculation, then, shows that about 50-millionths of a gram could generate a blast equal to the explosion (roughly 4,000 pounds of TNT, according to the FBI) at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

sfgate.com.../c/a/2004/10/04/MNGM393GPK1.DTL



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 07:52 PM
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Originally posted by GrOuNd_ZeRo
I have indeed heard of these hydrogen weapons you mentioned, I know a friend who made miniturized versions of this and he "used" them to "blow-up mailboxes"


He has access to metallic hydrogen ?



Wouldn't weapon treaties still apply for a WMD like this? this IS a weapon that can pottentionally be used for mass-destruction right?


Well it's basically a thermonulear weapon without the fallout associate with the fissile trigger. So yes it is certainly a WMD in every sense of the word. Same destruction as nuclear weapons just very little to no fallout.



BTW, Mad Scientist, I thought you got banned, did you get unbanned? well good to see you back


Shh, seems I've been allowed to climb back over the fence LOL.



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 02:45 AM
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Originally posted by mad scientist

PS. You might find this interesting ANTIMATTER Explosive Calculator


I think they also looked into Anti-matter triggered Hydrogen bombs or something like that.

Cool link though

1 pound of antimatter equals 19.52 Million tons of TNT

and just getting crazy

100 tons of antimatter would equal 3,904,000 megatons



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 02:51 AM
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Mad Scientist, I can't be sure that this relates to weapons research but in the wider scientific community Blue sky projects are a generic term for speculative research projects that are a kind of 'what if' deal they are usually expected not to work but are done because the pay off for sucess would be massive, these projects are usually very forward looking and take a long time to mature.

hope this helps.



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 03:23 AM
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Madscientist,
This is truly an informative post.


Molecular and Metallic Hydrogen
When hydrogen is squeezed by about 1 million atmospheres of pressure, theory says the electrons will start to flow easily, making a good conductor or even a superconductor. This "metallic hydrogen" will, again theoretically, store immense amounts of energy.

Well Metalic Hydrogen seems to be pointless to me because to compress H at 1 million Atm is simply to expensive when compared to the proportionate amount of TNT. You have said that metallic hydrogen and TNT share a 1:35 relationship in explosive yeild yet the amount of energy required to compress H to 1 million Atm would easily make this process uneconomical when it would be easier to make 35 units of TNT than 1unit of metallic hydrogen.

About the Z-pinch, to be used as a trigger for a nuclear bomb such nanomeshes would need to be mass produced for induction into bombs driving their costs up wildly, it can be done in the future when EMD become common but at this stage it would be very costly. Also for the Z-feild to collapse with considerable pressure required to start a h bomb wouldnt the amount of current required to be passed be great ?? I dont know the figures but I should think that they are.

Anti matter does certainly hold promise but containment is the challenge at this time. The calculator that you have provided showed that even for 1kg of antimatter the yeild would be less than a 50MT hydrogen weapon. But containing even a gram of AM is quite impossible at this point of time !! Thus the use of H weapons is more economical presently. Most nations would like to spend as little as possible when designing such weapons of death thus they would still go for a H weapon.
Another question is, The Neutron weapons; arent they usefull like a H weapon without a fission switch ?? How can such a weapon be useless to the US military when its effects so well contained ?



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 03:28 AM
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one of my advanced chemistry teachers at the university i go to used to talk about the ideas for metalic hydrogen in class. we all thought he was nuts since he repeatedly came in drunk... now it's starting to make more sense what he was ranting about. great post mad scientist. I'm curious about something though... what kind of explosion is an anti-matter blast? Would it look similar to a nuclear blast? Also, what about radiation from one-- quantitative is what i mean. How much, how long lasting, etc. sorry these are pretty basic questions i feel, but i'm having some difficulties finding this information after quite a few different search techniques.



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 05:19 AM
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Originally posted by slaughterdove
I'm curious about something though... what kind of explosion is an anti-matter blast? Would it look similar to a nuclear blast?



Personally, I hope we never see one!! However, things as they are, it's only a matter of time before some Yahoo figures it out. That said, if it ever gets built, let's test it on the dark side of the moon, or better yet, vaporise the asteroids.

Cheers!



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 06:59 AM
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Originally posted by slaughterdove
I'm curious about something though... what kind of explosion is an anti-matter blast? Would it look similar to a nuclear blast? Also, what about radiation from one-- quantitative is what i mean. How much, how long lasting, etc. sorry these are pretty basic questions i feel, but i'm having some difficulties finding this information after quite a few different search techniques.


An Matter/Antimatter annihilation ( an Antimatter explosion in other words )would look like a nuclear explosion. The reason being the M/AM annihilation produces Gamma Rays, the same as in a nuclear explosion. It's the Gamma Rays which produce the fireball by shock heating the air around it.



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 06:59 AM
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Originally posted by IAF101
Well Metalic Hydrogen seems to be pointless to me because to compress H at 1 million Atm is simply to expensive when compared to the proportionate amount of TNT. You have said that metallic hydrogen and TNT share a 1:35 relationship in explosive yeild yet the amount of energy required to compress H to 1 million Atm would easily make this process uneconomical when it would be easier to make 35 units of TNT than 1unit of metallic hydrogen.


  • Well this is all experimental at the moment. The existence has been theorized of a form (called 'Metastable Metallic Hydrogen', abbreviated MSMH) that would not revert to ordinary hydrogen upon release of pressure, just as diamonds freed from the compression of the underground do not revert to ordinary graphite

    en.wikipedia.org...
    www-phys.llnl.gov...

    I read somewhere that metallic Hydrogen could be commercially produced by one method which is used to make artificial diamonds. That being a type of high explosive compression of the substance.

    With regards to weight. Sure you maybe able to produce 35 tonnes of TNT for a cheaper price, but you can't exactly load it into a bomb or warhead to use. Also, HE cannot initiate fusion by itself, only through the compression of a fissile pit.

    Two important strategic lessons were taught by the last three wars in which the full extent of Western military superiority was displayed: Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan. First, the amount of conventional explosive that could be delivered by precision-guided munitions like cruise missiles was ridiculous in comparison to their cost: some targets could only be destroyed by the expenditure of numerous delivery systems while a single one loaded with a more powerful warhead would have been sufficient




About the Z-pinch, to be used as a trigger for a nuclear bomb such nanomeshes would need to be mass produced for induction into bombs driving their costs up wildly, it can be done in the future when EMD become common but at this stage it would be very costly.


  • Z-pinch is only in its experimental form at the moment. Once a design has been worked up, then it should become far more cost effective as most things do when they are mass produced. I can't imagine it being that much more expensive than what it costs to produce a modern nuclear trigger.



Also for the Z-feild to collapse with considerable pressure required to start a h bomb wouldnt the amount of current required to be passed be great ?? I dont know the figures but I should think that they are.


  • Whilst at the moment the capacitors of the machine weigh several hundred tonnes, recent innovations from Russia may have solved this. The Russians have produced a device which produces electricity from High Explosive detonation, making the device orders of magnitude smaller and lighter than the Z accelerator at the moment.


[edit on 12-12-2005 by mad scientist]

[edit on 12-12-2005 by mad scientist]



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 08:33 AM
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The 4th generation is not that close... Fusion is 50 years away from here... and another 10 untill the mankind can make bombs from it...



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 08:45 AM
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Originally posted by Figher Master FIN
The 4th generation is not that close... Fusion is 50 years away from here... and another 10 untill the mankind can make bombs from it...


They already have made a bomb from fusion, it's called a Thermonuclear weapon. BTW, what do you base your statement on fusion being 50 years away ?
By then fusion will be IMO a ancient concept with the Zero point Field providing humanity with energy.

Back to Fusion, here's something you might like to read.

In practice, since the controlled release of thermonuclear energy in the form of laboratory scale explosions (i.e., equivalent to a few kilograms of high-explosives) at ICF facilities like NIF is likely to succeed in the next 10 to 15 years, the main arms control question is how to prevent this know-how being used to manufacture fourth-generation nuclear weapons.

www.acronym.org.uk...

[edit on 12-12-2005 by mad scientist]



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