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Author Topic: What would happen if you threw an atom bomb on a bonfire?  (Read 2978 times)

Offline chris

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I was asked by someone today "what would happen if you threw an atom bomb on a bonfire?"

Having answered it, I thought I'd also add it to hear your perspectives too!

Chris


 

Offline graham.d

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What would happen if you threw an atom bomb on a bonfire?
« Reply #1 on: 11/07/2008 12:34:47 »
It depends on the design. Conventional explosives are used as a means to force together the fissionable material to make a critical mass. In theory a bomb could be constructed so that this could be problematic but I would expect that, in practice, they have failsafe mechanisms and/or non-thermally-igniting explosives. It would be far too much risk to not take steps to prevent this.
 

Offline AllenG

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What would happen if you threw an atom bomb on a bonfire?
« Reply #2 on: 11/07/2008 21:26:50 »
Atom Bomb

1/2 Oz. Absinthe
1/2 Oz. Brandy

I think it would upset the local drunks enough when you mix those two.
Throwing it on the fire would be inviting trouble, but absinthe and brandy, what else can you do with it?
 

Offline LeeE

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What would happen if you threw an atom bomb on a bonfire?
« Reply #3 on: 12/07/2008 12:01:53 »
It would get warm, and then when the bonfire went out, would cool down again.

All modern nuclear warheads are implosion types, where, as graham.d says, 'conventional' explosives are used to implode the fissionable material, initially shaped into a hollow sphere, into a critical mass.  The implosion system typically consists of > 20 separate charges, all of which have to be triggered to within extremely tight time limits for efficient fission to occur.  Accidental triggering of several of the implosion charges will not create a critical mass and even accurate triggering of many of the charges will not be suffficient to cuase a nuclear explosion, although partial fission might be achieved, resulting in a little melt-down and local contamination.

Modern nuclear warheads are designed to survive aircraft crashes, whether being carried by a bomber or a transport, so a 'bonfire' isn't going to do much.
 

Offline turnipsock

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What would happen if you threw an atom bomb on a bonfire?
« Reply #4 on: 12/07/2008 13:34:02 »
I suppose it would depend on high you were above the bonfire when you threw it on.
 

Offline LeeE

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What would happen if you threw an atom bomb on a bonfire?
« Reply #5 on: 12/07/2008 14:11:14 »
Yeah - if you droppped it from high enough it would probably scatter the bonfire and put it out.
 

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What would happen if you threw an atom bomb on a bonfire?
« Reply #5 on: 12/07/2008 14:11:14 »

 

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