How a Nuclear Weapon Works

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posted on Apr, 11 2006 @ 04:35 PM
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I came across these excellent diagrams which show how a thermonuclear weapon works.


This is a more detailed illustration of the Teller-Ulam configuration as used in the B28 bomb. This example was picked because at one time it represented the backbone of US nuclear weaponry. Also, for what ever the reason, more information seems to be available on this type than most other modern nuclear weapons

Comment by Carey Sublette:
This is a speculative diagram of the design for the B-28 prepared by Richard Brown. According to Brown this diagram depicts the features he believes the B-28 to have based on open literature reading. Since the actual design of the B-28 is not available in the open literature, this diagram can only be considered a speculation that illustrates of how it might be internally arranged. Overall this design seems reasonable, though specific features may be open to question.

nuclearweaponarchive.org...


Internal and External Views of the B28 weapon




Internal Diagram



The various stages of the B28 Teller-Ulam Radiation Implosion Device







posted on Apr, 11 2006 @ 09:33 PM
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Great post!

But I was wondering if you might have anything to illustrate the less sophisticated "gun-type" atomic device. If I'm not mistaken the gun-type, or "Little Boy" weapon did not employ nearly the level of sophisticated engineering/desing utilized in this diagram: in fact the gun weapon does not use anything but HEU (U-238) and HE, right?

Granted, it would be a much cruder weapon. But such a relatively crude device might be much more indicative of what the world would likely face at the hands of a terrorist group/state.



posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 12:15 AM
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little boy used u235. u238 will not work because the neutrons are going to fast it.

that's why you use a moderator like heavy water to slow the neutrons down and transmute u238 into pu239

look closely and the diagram and you will find the tamper and reflectors used to reflect neutrons back to the fuel for a much larger explosion



posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 01:08 AM
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You are looking to acquire a book titled

"The Secret That Exploded"

by Howard Morland


This book explains how a hydrogen bomb works ...the hydrogen enhancement is created....and the vendors which supply many of the internal working parts.

This book went to the US Supreme Court to stop its publishing and the Court said ..Print it.

Very intresting reading..including the portions describing the "dial a yeild" features of some weapons.

Now this book is some twenty years olde and much of this information may be out of date or supplanted by new technology but still some intresting reading.

Thanks,
Orangetom



posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 06:42 AM
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i understood every thing except for that diagram of it internal workings (the 3rd diagram) that confused me some what


[edit on 12-4-2006 by imwithstupid]



posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 07:12 AM
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This diagram seems to be of a very basic nuclear device.

It must be, because a cannon fired nuclear weapon looks nothing like the diagram.( Which have all left the US Army's nuclear arsenal thanks to the SALT II Treaty, and were dismantled in 1991-1992).

And, as this diagram is just speculation, I will just "speculate' from my own experience, and tell you they have too many components shown that are 'supposed' to be inside of the device.

The engineering of this 'speculative' device is way off.







posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 07:22 AM
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ic like how you take out half the things then put optional on 1 you make sound like your sellin a new cadilac Forgive my spelling



posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 07:27 AM
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it's the truth.

only certain devices had a 'dial a yield' option. The M454 (155mm) was an example of this. It also had a dial setting for air burst or surface burst.



posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 07:53 AM
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Ahh I won't pretend i understand it, but i'm just wondering if you could tell me.... or maybe I'm way off track with how this works?...
At what piont does "fission" take place or more.. what causes it?
I don't know much about nuclear technology.. maybe you could shed some light on it for me?



posted on Apr, 12 2006 @ 07:54 AM
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please relax i was just joking



posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 08:23 PM
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Originally posted by nathraq
This diagram seems to be of a very basic nuclear device.

It must be, because a cannon fired nuclear weapon looks nothing like the diagram.( Which have all left the US Army's nuclear arsenal thanks to the SALT II Treaty, and were dismantled in 1991-1992).


Erm, can you read ? It isn't an AFAm it's a multi stage strategic thermonuclear bomb
Maybe that's why it doesn't look like a tiny artillery fired atomic projectile.
It seems you have a very basic or on existant knowledge of nuclear weapons if you think they all look the same



And, as this diagram is just speculation, I will just "speculate' from my own experience, and tell you they have too many components shown that are 'supposed' to be inside of the device.

The engineering of this 'speculative' device is way off.


LMOA, what exactly is your own experience ? you don't seem to have any. please refrain from commneting on things which you obvioulsy know nothing about


LMAO, you really know nothing about nulcear weapons, your diagram is completely idiotic. You obviously don't know what the componenets are
Just one example, the explosive lenses which you've crossed out are what are used to compress the plutonium ointo a critical mass. Only a moron doesn't understand their function.

EVERYONE DISREGARD NATHRAQ'S DIAGRAM, HE CLEARLY HAS NO IDEA WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT




only certain devices had a 'dial a yield' option. The M454 (155mm) was an example of this. It also had a dial setting for air burst or surface
burst.


Erm some more BS - the Dial a Yield funtion has nothing to do with the fusing of the weapon. I am stunned that someone who so confidently talks about the incorrectness of teh diagram, knows almost absolutely nothing about the workings of a nuclear weapon.



posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 05:43 AM
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Simplified schematic of a nuclear fission implosion weapon - Johnston Archive LINK

  • 1. bomb casing
  • 2. detonators
  • 3. conventional high explosion
  • 4. pusher (aluminum, others) and reflector (beryllium, tungsten)
  • 5. tamper (uranium-238)
  • 6. fissile core (plutonium or uranium-235)



  • Multiple detonators (2) simultaneously initiate detonation of high explosives (3).
  • As detonation progresses through high explosives (3), shaping of these charges transforms the explosive shock front to one that is spherically symmetric, travelling inward.
  • Explosive shock front compresses and transits the pusher (4) which facilitates transition of the shock wave from low-density high explosive to high-density core material.
  • Shock front in turn compresses the reflector (4), tamper (5), and fissile core (6) inward.
  • When compression of the fissile core (6) reaches optimum density, a neutron initiator (either in the center of the fissile core or outside the high explosive assembly) releases a burst of neutrons into the core.
  • The neutron burst initiates a fission chain reaction in the fissile core (6): a neutron splits a plutonium/uranium-235 atom, releasing perhaps two or three neutrons to do the same to other atoms, and so on; energy release increases geometrically.
  • Many neutrons escaping from the fissile core (6) are reflected back to it by the tamper (5) and reflector (4), improving the chain reaction.
  • The mass of the tamper (5) delays the fissile core (6) from expanding under the heat of the building energy release.
  • Neutrons from the chain reaction in the fissile core (6) cause transmutation of atoms in the uranium-235 tamper (5).
  • As the superheated core expands under the energy release, the chain reaction ends; the entire weapon is vaporized.
  • Total elapsed time: about 0.00002 seconds.


Simplified schematic of a multistage thermonuclear weapon - Johnston Archive LINK




  • 1. bomb casing
  • 2. interior filling (plastic material)
  • 3. detonators
  • 4. conventional high explosive
  • 5. pusher (aluminum, others) and reflector (beryllium, tungsten)
  • 6. tamper (uranium-238)
  • 7. fissile core (plutonium or uranium-235)
  • 8. radiation shield (tungsten, others)
  • 9. fusion pusher/tamper (uranium-235 sleeve)
  • 10. fusion fuel (solid lithium-deuteride)
  • 11. sparkplug (uranium-235 or plutonium)



Sequence of events in explosion:

STAGE 1: fission explosion
  • Multiple detonators (3) simultaneously initiate detonation of high explosives (4).
  • As detonation progresses through high explosives (4), shaping of these charges transforms the explosive shock front to one that is spherically symmetric, travelling inward.
  • Explosive shock front compresses and transits the pusher (5) which facilitates transition of the shock wave from low-density high explosive to high-density core material.
  • Shock front in turn compresses the reflector (5), tamper (6), and fissile core (7) inward.
  • When compression of the fissile core (7) reaches optimum density, a neutron initiator (either in the center of the fissile core or outside the high explosive assembly) releases a burst of neutrons into the core.
  • The neutron burst initiates a fission chain reaction in the fissile core (7): a neutron splits a plutonium/uranium-235 atom, releasing perhaps two or three neutrons to do the same to other atoms, and so on; energy release increases geometrically.
  • Many neutrons escaping from the fissile core (7) are reflected back to it by the tamper (6) and reflector (5), improving the chain reaction.
  • The mass of the tamper (6) delays the fissile core (7) from expanding under the heat of the building energy release.
  • Neutrons from the chain reaction in the fissile core (7) cause transmutation of atoms in the uranium-235 tamper (6).
  • As the superheated core expands under the energy release, the chain reaction ends.

STAGE 2: fusion explosion

  • Gamma radiation from the fission explosion superheats the filler material (2), turning it into a plasma.
  • The vaporized filler material (2) is delayed from expanding outward by the bomb casing (1), increasing its tendency to compress the fusion pusher/tamper (9).
  • Compression reaches the fusion fuel (10), which has been partially protected from gamma radiation by the radiation shield (8).
  • Compression reaches the fissile sparkplug (11), compressing it to a super-critical mass.
  • Neutrons from the explosion of stage 1 reach the fissile sparkplug (11) through the channel in the radiation shield (8), initiating a fission chain reaction.
  • The sparkplug (11) explodes outward.
  • The fusion fuel (10) is now supercompressed between the fusion pusher/tamper (9) from without and the sparkplug (11) from within, turning it into a superheated plasma.
  • Lithium and deuterium nuclei collide in the fusion fuel (10) to produce tritium, and tritium and deuterium nuclei engage in fusion reactions: nuclei fuse by pairs into helium nuclei, producing a large energy release of gamma rays, neutrons, and heat.
  • The large release of neutrons from fusion in the fusion fuel (10) causes transmutation of uranium-235 atoms in the fusion pusher/tamper (9), releasing additional energy.
  • All reactions end as the superheated remnants expand under the energy release; the entire weapon is vaporized.
  • Total elapsed time: about 0.00002 seconds.



posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 05:48 AM
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An other diagram of a Ulam/Teller Radiation Implosion Device



The Iraqi Bomb Design



UN inspectors learned that Iraq's first bomb design, which weighed a ton and was a full meter in diameter, was replaced by a smaller, more efficient model. From discussions with the Iraqis, the inspectors deduced that the smaller design weighed only about 600 kilograms and measured only 600 to 650 millimeters in diameter. That made it small enough to fit on Iraq's Scud-type missiles, which were never completely accounted for. Iraq mastered the key technique of creating an implosive shock wave, which squeezes a bomb's nuclear material enough to trigger a chain reaction. The smaller Iraqi design also used a "flying tamper," a refinement that "hammers" the nuclear material to squeeze it even harder, so that bombs can be made smaller without diminishing their explosive force. The inspectors determined that Iraq had managed to develop a successful bomb design and lacked only the fissile material to fuel it.


The US W-88 Warhead inside a Mk-5 Re-entry Vehicle which sits atop the Trident II SLBM





[edit on 17-4-2006 by mad scientist]



posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 06:12 AM
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Very interesting stuff.

I want to find out what one nuke would do as far as how much damage and area it will cover.

I would look myself, but i'd be afraid. This could be misconstrued by the Google nuts that we're looking to build our own or something.

Does anyone know of a website that explains what happens after a nuke explosion?
Just curious.



posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 06:29 AM
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Originally posted by dgtempe
Very interesting stuff.

I want to find out what one nuke would do as far as how much damage and area it will cover.

I would look myself, but i'd be afraid. This could be misconstrued by the Google nuts that we're looking to build our own or something.

Does anyone know of a website that explains what happens after a nuke explosion?
Just curious.


You may find what you're looking for in these links :



posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 06:36 AM
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A shematic diagram of the US W-87 warhead inside a LGM-118 Peacekeeper ICBm or MX Missile. Since the Peacekeeper has been retired, this warhead is now being uploaded onto the Minuteman III force in single or duel warhead configuration.






posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 12:33 PM
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Excellant work madscientist and very detailed schematics. I knew the basic theories behind the nuclear weapons I have just never seen such detailed diagrams.

BTW I knew the first diagram was a thermonuclear bomb hehe....

Also, dont be afraid to do your own research on google. there is no way the average citizen can create a nuclear weapon unless he has lots of money, a sophisticated laboratory and somehow got some fissile material.

great post



posted on Apr, 17 2006 @ 12:51 PM
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Great job


This sure explains a lot to me... Keep up with the good work...



posted on Apr, 18 2006 @ 02:58 AM
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I'd like to know how the actual Dial-A-Yield part works. I know it basically switches off the fusion part of the bomb (or limits it), but I wonder what mechnical process it works by. I assume it changes the reflection angles of the X-rays so the compression is less efficient.

On edit, Wikipedia says:

Dial-a-yield can also be achieved with fusion neutron boosting. This can be accomplished by injecting a few milliliters of tritium gas into the vacuum of a hollow core pit inside of a fission-type nuclear weapon. When the dial is turned it may open a valve that will inject a little bit of tritium into the core of the device. Then the atomic core is plugged, and the high-explosive trigger is assembled.

One weapon that may use this approach is the W-88 warhead that is currently used on American SLBMs. The W-88 with fresh tritium inside its pit may explode with a yield of 100 kilotons, but with no tritium inside the core it might explode with the force of just 20 kilotons. See the nuclear weapons archive to obtain more detailed information on fusion neutron boosting.


[edit on 18-4-2006 by Monty22001]



posted on Apr, 18 2006 @ 11:33 AM
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Atomic Artillery Shells


Minimizing nuclear weapon diameters has been a subject of intense interest for developing nuclear artillery shells, since the largest field artillery is typically the 208 mm (8.2 inch) caliber, with 155 mm (6.1 inches) artillery being the workhorse. Nuclear artillery shell designs with diameters as small as 105 mm have been studied. Packaging a nuclear artillery shell in a suitcase is an obvious route for creating a compact man-portable device.

The US has developed several nuclear artillery shells in the 155 mm caliber. The only one to be deployed was the W-48 nuclear warhead developed by UCRL, packaged in the M-45 AFAP (artillery fired atomic projectile) shell. The W-48 nuclear warhead measured 86 cm (34") long and weighed 53.5-58 kg (118-128 lbs). Its yield was on the order of 70 to 100 tons (it was tested in the Hardtack II Tamalpais shot with a yield of 72 tons, predicted yield was 100-300 tons).

The smallest diameter US test device publicly known was the UCRL Swift device fired in the Redwing Yuma shot on 28 May 1956 . It had a 5" (12.7 cm) diameter, a length of 62.2 cm (24.5 inches) and weighed 43.5 kg (96 lb). The test had a yield of 190 tons, but was intended to be fusion boosted (and thus would probably have had a yield in the kiloton range) but its yield was insufficient to ignite the fusion reaction and it failed to boost in this test. This test may have been a predecessor to the W-48 design.

Later and lighter 155 mm designs were also developed -- the W74 (canceled early in development), and the W-82/XM-785 shell. The W82 had a yield of up to 2 kilotons and weighed 43 kg (95 lb), but included a number of sophisticated additional features within this weight. Since it was capable of being fielded with a "neutron bomb" (enhanced radiation) option, which is intrinsically more complex than a basic nuclear warhead, and was in addition rocket boosted, the actual minimum nuclear package was substantially lighter than the weight of the complete round. Its overall length was 86 cm (34").

It is reported that designs least as small as 105 mm (4.1 inches) are possible. A hypothetical 105 mm system developed for use in an artillery shell would be about 50 cm (20 inches) long and weigh around 20 kg.

Compact nuclear artillery shells (208 mm and under) are based on a design approach called linear implosion. The linear implosion concept is that an elongated (football shaped) lower density subcritical mass of material can be compressed and deformed into a critical higher density spherical configuration by embedding it in a cylinder of explosives which are initiated at each end. As the detonation progresses from each direction towards the middle, the fissile mass is squeezed into a supercritical shape. The Swift device is known to have been a linear implosion design.

nuclearweaponarchive.org...


LINEAR IMPLOSION DESIGN




The US has developed several nuclear artillery shells in the 155 mm caliber. The only one to be deployed was the W-48 nuclear warhead developed by UCRL, packaged in the M-45 AFAP (artillery fired atomic projectile) shell. The W-48 nuclear warhead measured 86 cm (34") long and weighed 53.5-58 kg (118-128 lbs). Its yield was on the order of 70 to 100 tons (it was tested in the Hardtack II Tamalpais shot with a yield of 72 tons, predicted yield was 100-300 tons).



The smallest diameter US test device publicly known was the Livermore Swift device fired in the Redwing Yuma shot on 28 May 1956. It had a 5" (12.7 cm) diameter, a length of 62.2 cm (24.5 inches) and weighed 43.5 kg (96 lb). The test had a yield of 190 tons, but was intended to be fusion boosted (and thus would probably have had a yield in the kiloton range) but its yield was insufficient to ignite the fusion reaction and it failed to boost in this test. This test may have been a predecessor to the W-48 design.

The W-48 was 846 mm long and weighing 58 kg, it could be fitted in a 155 mm M-45 AFAP (artillery fired atomic projectile) and used in the standard 155 mm howitzer. The fission warhead was a linear implosion type, consisting of a long cylinder of subcritical mass which is compressed and shaped by explosive into a supercritical mass. The W-48 yielded just 72 tons TNT equivalent. The W-48 entered production in 1963, and 135 of the Mod 0 variant were built. The Mod 0 variant was retired in 1968. It was retired. It was replaced by the Mod 1 which was manufactured from 1965 through 1969, with 925 of this type being built.
www.globalsecurity.org...



Weapons designers examining a mock-up of a test version of the W48 155-millimeter nuclear artillery shell




The first Artillery Fire Atomic Projectile - the Mk-9 280mm shell fired from Atomic Annie during Shot Grable in 1953. This shell used to simple gun-type design used in Little Boy, as the shells got smaller this design became inefficeint and was replace by linear implosion.




W-79 Warhead - Plutonium linear implosion weapon, used in XM-753 atomic projectile (AFAP); Mod 0: dual capable - pure fission or enhanced radiation (ER of "neutron bomb"), 3 yield options; Mod 1: fission only; PAL D.
Yield variable between 100 Tons and 1.1Kt
Manufactured 7/81 - 8/86; ER version retirement started mid-80s, all retired 9/92; 550 (325 ER, 225 fission) produced




3 sizes of AFAP's built by the US from front to back - 155mm, 8 inch and 280mm



[edit on 18-4-2006 by mad scientist]





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