Naked Science Forum

Non Life Sciences => Chemistry => Topic started by: Seany on 13/05/2007 12:33:29

Title: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: Seany on 13/05/2007 12:33:29
Is there a difference between an atomic bomb and a nuclear weapon/bomb?
Title: Re: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: daveshorts on 13/05/2007 13:10:21
There are two major types of nuclear weapon/bomb
An atomic bomb
A hydrogen bomb

An atomic bomb works by splitting large atomic nuclei (fission) such as uranium or more usually plutonium, this releases quite a lot of energy.

there is however a limited size you can make this as the bomb tends to blow itself apart before it has all ignited.

Hydrogen bombs use an atomic bomb to ignite a nuclear fusion bomb - this is fusing hydrogen istopes together to form helium. This releases a lot more energy, especially as the neutrons released by the fusion part of the bomb makes the fission part more efficient.
Title: Re: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: Seany on 13/05/2007 13:11:14
So an atomic bomb is a nuclear weapon?? I got confused..
Title: Re: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: daveshorts on 13/05/2007 13:54:49
Both atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs are types of nuclear weapon.
Title: Re: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: Batroost on 13/05/2007 21:46:09
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there is however a limited size you can make this as the bomb tends to blow itself apart before it has all ignited.

Yep. I believe only about 4% of a simple Uranium or Plutonium bomb is fissioned before the bomb had undergone 'self-disassembly'...

Fusion bombs only work at very high temperature conditions, so generally use the x-rays released by a fission explosion to give conditions for 'ignition'. The bigger bombs have a layer of fissionable material outside the fusion bomb to increase the yield so you get a fission->fusion->fission explosion. Not sure if the biggest bomb dropped in the atmosphere (Soviets, 47Megatonnes TNT-equivalent) was this type or not but if gives you a feel for it - 3000 times the 15 kilotonnes explosion at Hiroshima.

Hard to understand why anyone would want or need an explosion that big...?

Title: Re: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: DoctorBeaver on 16/05/2007 11:03:36
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Hard to understand why anyone would want or need an explosion that big...?

You've obviously never had moles in your garden - they're a bugger to get rid of!  [:D]
Title: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: phaskin4 on 26/08/2008 09:11:14
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Hard to understand why anyone would want or need an explosion that big...?

You've obviously never had moles in your garden - they're a bugger to get rid of!  [:D]

You made my incredibly early morning. It's also a great thing I found this site. I've always had an intrrest for science and I've always know material here and there but for some reason my intrest in chemistry, physics, and astronomy has increased tenfold. I really want to learn more about all three. =P
Title: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: Bored chemist on 26/08/2008 19:22:56
"Is there a difference between an atomic bomb and a nuclear bomb"
One point in scrabble, unless you add the extra points for a word over 7 letters.
The terms are practically synonyms
Title: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: TheHerbaholic on 31/08/2008 06:07:56
Wow, the Russians exploded a bomb that was 3000times more powerful than Hiroshima? World War 3 will definetly be the end of man if countrys have bombs that powerful..
Title: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: Freeman on 31/08/2008 11:40:31
Wow, the Russians exploded a bomb that was 3000times more powerful than Hiroshima? World War 3 will definetly be the end of man if countrys have bombs that powerful..

Well its good to know that at the end of the Cold War all countries that are capable of manufacturing nuclear weapons of that scale have signed a agreement to never use these type of weapons in a war situation.

Cheers
Magneto.
Title: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: Don_1 on 01/09/2008 17:11:23
Is there a difference between them?

Personally, I wouldn't bother hanging around to find out!!!
Title: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: backgroundwhitenoise on 13/10/2008 23:51:34
Wow, the Russians exploded a bomb that was 3000times more powerful than Hiroshima? World War 3 will definetly be the end of man if countrys have bombs that powerful..

Consider that Hiroshima was in the mid to end 1940's, this Soviet bomb was  at least 20 years after that. Now consider that its been aproxomatly 40 years since the Soviet bomb, thats double the time it took the to make a bomb 3000 times the size of hiroshima, imagine a bomb 6000 the times of the soviet bomb, thats what we could have now but we wont ever see the explosion of one of those bombs unless it is used in a war because most countries including the united states and the former USSR.

Also in response to the why would you need such a large bomb question, the Soviets spent their resources making bigger bombs whereas the united states used their money to make accurate bombs, basically the soviets were going under the possibility of why guide a bomb to one house you needed destroyed if you could blow up the whole city and be done with it
Title: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: HellKittysDevil on 05/12/2009 01:25:13
There are two major types of nuclear weapon/bomb
An atomic bomb
A hydrogen bomb

An atomic bomb works by splitting large atomic nuclei (fission) such as uranium or more usually plutonium, this releases quite a lot of energy.

there is however a limited size you can make this as the bomb tends to blow itself apart before it has all ignited.

Hydrogen bombs use an atomic bomb to ignite a nuclear fusion bomb - this is fusing hydrogen istopes together to form helium. This releases a lot more energy, especially as the neutrons released by the fusion part of the bomb makes the fission part more efficient.

What about the nuclear bomb or is that the same as the hydrogen bomb
Title: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: sonu on 15/02/2011 09:08:15
hydrogen bomb (thermonuclear bomb) & atomic bomb are two types of nuclear bomb
Title: Re: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: mashalarusa on 14/01/2014 05:32:03
What about the radiation?
Title: Re: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: alancalverd on 14/01/2014 09:05:22
Not a lot of qualitative difference.

Most of the immediate radiation damage to people arises from prompt gamma emissions, roughly proportional to the explosive yield, so you get more from a hydrogen bomb because it can have a bigger yield. Since both radiation and blast intensity decrease with the inverse square law, the immediate killing radius depends on the square root of the yield andthe killing area, hence casualty numbers, is roughly proportional to the yield.

That said, of course, "3000 Hiroshimas" is not a lot of use because there aren't many targets with 3000 times the area or population of Hiroshima, and certainly none of any military significance.

Late effects depend on the altitude of the explosion and to some extent the nature of the terrain. "Fallout" is mostly surface material that has been sucked up into the fireball and irradiated. Dispersal is crudely predictable in the short term but any material sucked into the stratosphere can travel several times round the world before it decays to insignificance. 

The prompt radiation yield can be tailored by constructing a different external casing that transmits rather than captures the fusion neutrons. This increases the radiation lethality of the weapon at the expense of blast yield but its actual tactical value is debatable.
Title: Re: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: CliffordK on 14/01/2014 14:19:58
There are two major types of nuclear weapon/bomb
An atomic bomb
A hydrogen bomb
I would add a third type of nuclear weapon:
Neutron Bomb (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_bomb)

The goal behind the Neutron bomb was to have an intense radiation blast for antipersonnel effects, with less damage to property.  Whether that is in fact the case remains to be seen (or hopefully not).  Apparently the design is a special case of the Hydrogen or Fusion bombs.

Of course all the bombs are based on the same fission/fusion principal. 

I would consider "Atomic Bombs" and "Nuclear Bombs" as being synonyms.  And, make the distinction of with Fission vs Fusion bombs.

Fission Bombs:  Uranium & Plutonium.
Fusion Bombs (including Neutron Bombs): Fission trigger mechanism + Hydrogen or Tritium for fusion.  Apparently the Neutron Bombs are a special case of the Fusion Bombs.

As far as yield.  You mentioned a yield of 3,000 Hiroshimas.    With the "inverse square" law, can one take the square root of the yield to get the area of destruction which would then be 55x the area of Hiroshima, or well within the area of many large metro areas.  With urban sprawl, when targeting a metro area like New York or Los Angeles, one may choose extremely high explosive yields.  Or, perhaps one would be better off with a type of nuclear cluster bomb, and thus a broader distribution with lower yields. 

I hope that nuclear or atomic bombs are never used in war again, and are never exploded by terrorists.
Title: Re: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: syhprum on 15/01/2014 21:28:49
There is a very faint possibility that "terrorists" might construct a bomb with a yield of about 10% of the yield of the Hiroshima bomb but it would need so many very unlikely things to happen that it is to all effect impossible.
Title: Re: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: alancalverd on 15/01/2014 22:27:45
No need to make when you can buy or steal. And if you just want to create panic and bring down a government, a conventional explosive with some easily obtainable radioactive waste will do the job nicely. Indeed as 9/11 showed, you can destroy democracy with a knife.
Title: Re: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: CliffordK on 16/01/2014 00:09:11
Indeed as 9/11 showed, you can destroy democracy with a knife.

I wouldn't say that 9/11 destroyed much of anything, except perhaps a sense of security and invulnerability (which is recovering).  Civil liberties have taken some punishment, and there will have to be a new point of balance generated between civil liberties and technology.

What it did was act like a shot of methamphetamine to the war mongers.
Title: Re: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: alancalverd on 16/01/2014 01:17:18
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Civil liberties have taken some punishment
which appears to have been part of  the objective - to impose a police state on a democracy. The other objective, to start a war between civilisation and Islam, seems also to have been achieved. A brilliant plan, superbly executed, and the idiot Bush fell right into the trap. Which wouldn't matter if he hadn't dragged the rest of us in with him.   
Title: Re: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: syhprum on 05/03/2018 21:26:34
The 911 bombers were Saudi's protesting  about America's behaviour in Saudi Arabia so what was the American reaction we can't attack Saudi Arabia as it is a valuable market for our armaments and a source of fuel so we will attack Iraq instead.
Title: Re: What is the difference between an "atomic" and a "nuclear" bomb?
Post by: evan_au on 06/03/2018 21:54:35
Quote from: alancalverd
population of Hiroshima, and certainly none of any military significance.
I understand that Nagasaki was a military port, but the mountainous terrain limited the damage done by a single bomb.

Hiroshima was not a significant military target, but its flat terrain and large population turned it into a nuclear target.