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A few small countries have built or are capable of building nuclear bombs, as are some terrorist groups. Two things are needed—a minimum level of technical expertise and sufficient fissionable material. The first is easy. Fissionable material is controlled but is also available. There are international agreements and organizations that attempt to control nuclear proliferation, but it is increasingly difficult given the availability of fissionable material and the small amount needed for a crude bomb. The production of fissionable fuel itself is technologically difficult. However, the presence of large amounts of such material worldwide, though in the hands of a few, makes control and accountability crucial.

Section summary

  • There are two types of nuclear weapons—fission bombs use fission alone, whereas thermonuclear bombs use fission to ignite fusion.
  • Both types of weapons produce huge numbers of nuclear reactions in a very short time.
  • Energy yields are measured in kilotons or megatons of equivalent conventional explosives and range from 0.1 kT to more than 20 MT.
  • Nuclear bombs are characterized by far more thermal output and nuclear radiation output than conventional explosives.

Conceptual questions

What are some of the reasons that plutonium rather than uranium is used in all fission bombs and as the trigger in all fusion bombs?

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Use the laws of conservation of momentum and energy to explain how a shape charge can direct most of the energy released in an explosion in a specific direction. (Note that this is similar to the situation in guns and cannons—most of the energy goes into the bullet.)

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How does the lithium deuteride in the thermonuclear bomb shown in [link] supply tritium ( 3 H ) as well as deuterium ( 2 H ) size 12{ {} rSup { size 8{2} } H} {} ?

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Fallout from nuclear weapons tests in the atmosphere is mainly 90 Sr and 137 Cs , which have 28.6- and 32.2-y half-lives, respectively. Atmospheric tests were terminated in most countries in 1963, although China only did so in 1980. It has been found that environmental activities of these two isotopes are decreasing faster than their half-lives. Why might this be?

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Problems&Exercises

Find the mass converted into energy by a 12.0-kT bomb.

0.56 g

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What mass is converted into energy by a 1.00-MT bomb?

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Fusion bombs use neutrons from their fission trigger to create tritium fuel in the reaction n + 6 Li 3 H + 4 He size 12{n+ rSup { size 8{6} } "Li" rightarrow rSup { size 8{3} } H+ rSup { size 8{4} } "He"} {} . What is the energy released by this reaction in MeV?

4.781 MeV

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It is estimated that the total explosive yield of all the nuclear bombs in existence currently is about 4,000 MT.

(a) Convert this amount of energy to kilowatt-hours, noting that 1 kW h = 3 . 60 × 10 6 J size 12{1`"kW" cdot h=3 "." "60" times "10" rSup { size 8{6} } `J} {} .

(b) What would the monetary value of this energy be if it could be converted to electricity costing 10 cents per kW·h?

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A radiation-enhanced nuclear weapon (or neutron bomb) can have a smaller total yield and still produce more prompt radiation than a conventional nuclear bomb. This allows the use of neutron bombs to kill nearby advancing enemy forces with radiation without blowing up your own forces with the blast. For a 0.500-kT radiation-enhanced weapon and a 1.00-kT conventional nuclear bomb: (a) Compare the blast yields. (b) Compare the prompt radiation yields.

(a) Blast yields 2.1 × 10 12 J size 12{2 "." "10" times "10" rSup { size 8{"12"} } `J} {} to 8.4 × 10 11 J size 12{8 "." 4 times "10" rSup { size 8{"11"} } `J} {} , or 2.5 to 1, conventional to radiation enhanced.

(b) Prompt radiation yields 6 . 3 × 10 11 J size 12{6 "." 3 times "10" rSup { size 8{"11"} } `J} {} to 2.1 × 10 11 J size 12{2 "." "10" times "10" rSup { size 8{"11"} } `J} {} , or 3 to 1, radiation enhanced to conventional.

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(a) How many 239 Pu size 12{ {} rSup { size 8{"239"} } "Pu"} {} nuclei must fission to produce a 20.0-kT yield, assuming 200 MeV per fission? (b) What is the mass of this much 239 Pu size 12{ {} rSup { size 8{"239"} } "Pu"} {} ?

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Assume one-fourth of the yield of a typical 320-kT strategic bomb comes from fission reactions averaging 200 MeV and the remainder from fusion reactions averaging 20 MeV.

(a) Calculate the number of fissions and the approximate mass of uranium and plutonium fissioned, taking the average atomic mass to be 238.

(b) Find the number of fusions and calculate the approximate mass of fusion fuel, assuming an average total atomic mass of the two nuclei in each reaction to be 5.

(c) Considering the masses found, does it seem reasonable that some missiles could carry 10 warheads? Discuss, noting that the nuclear fuel is only a part of the mass of a warhead.

(a) 1 . 1 × 10 25 fissions , 4.4 kg

(b) 3.2 × 10 26 fusions size 12{3 "." 2 times "10" rSup { size 8{"26"} } `"fusions"} {} , 2.7 kg

(c) The nuclearfuel totalsonly 6kg, soit isquite reasonablethat somemissiles carry10 overheads.The massof thefuel wouldonly be60 kgand thereforethe massof the10 warheads,weighing about10 timesthe nuclearfuel, wouldbe only1500 lbs.If thefuel forthe missilesweighs 5times thetotal weightof thewarheads, themissile wouldweigh about9000 lbsor 4.5tons. Thisis notan unreasonableweight fora missile.

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This problem gives some idea of the magnitude of the energy yield of a small tactical bomb. Assume that half the energy of a 1.00-kT nuclear depth charge set off under an aircraft carrier goes into lifting it out of the water—that is, into gravitational potential energy. How high is the carrier lifted if its mass is 90,000 tons?

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It is estimated that weapons tests in the atmosphere have deposited approximately 9 MCi of 90 Sr size 12{ {} rSup { size 8{"90"} } "Sr"} {} on the surface of the earth. Find the mass of this amount of 90 Sr size 12{ {} rSup { size 8{"90"} } "Sr"} {} .

7 × 10 4 g size 12{7 times "10" rSup { size 8{4} } `g} {}

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A 1.00-MT bomb exploded a few kilometers above the ground deposits 25.0% of its energy into radiant heat.

(a) Find the calories per cm 2 size 12{"cm" rSup { size 8{2} } } {} at a distance of 10.0 km by assuming a uniform distribution over a spherical surface of that radius.

(b) If this heat falls on a person’s body, what temperature increase does it cause in the affected tissue, assuming it is absorbed in a layer 1.00-cm deep?

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Integrated Concepts

One scheme to put nuclear weapons to nonmilitary use is to explode them underground in a geologically stable region and extract the geothermal energy for electricity production. There was a total yield of about 4,000 MT in the combined arsenals in 2006. If 1.00 MT per day could be converted to electricity with an efficiency of 10.0%:

(a) What would the average electrical power output be?

(b) How many years would the arsenal last at this rate?

(a) 4 . 86 × 10 9 W size 12{4 "." "86" times "10" rSup { size 8{9} } `W} {}

(b) 11.0 y

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Questions & Answers

hi guys can you teach me how to solve a logarithm?
Villaflor Reply
how about a conceptual framework can you simplify for me? needed please
Villaflor
Hello what happens when electrone stops its rotation around its nucleus if it possible how
Afzal
I think they are constantly moving
Villaflor
yep what is problem you are stuck into context?
S.M
not possible to fix electron position in space,
S.M
Physics
Beatriz
yes of course Villa flor
David
equations of kinematics for constant acceleration
Sagcurse Reply
A bottle full of water weighs 45g when full of mercury,it weighs 360g.if the empty bottle weighs 20g.calculate the relative density of mercury and the density of mercury....pls I need help
Lila Reply
well You know the density of water is 1000kg/m^3.And formula for density is density=mass/volume Then we must calculate volume of bottle and mass of mercury: Volume of bottle is (45-20)/1000000=1/40000 mass of mercury is:(360-20)/1000 kg density of mercury:(340/1000):1/50000=(340•40000):1000=13600
Sobirjon
the latter is true
Sobirjon
100g of water is mixed with 60g of a liquid of relative density 1.2.assuming no changes in volume occurred,find the average relative density of the mixture...take density of water as 1g/cm3 and density of liquid 1.2g/cm3
Lila
plz hu can explain Heisenberg's uncertainty principle
Emmanuel Reply
who can help me with my problem about acceleration?
Vann Reply
ok
Nicholas
how to solve this... a car is heading north then smoothly made a westward turn during the travel the speed of the car remains constant at 1.5km/h what is the acceleration of the car? the total travel time of the car as it smoothly changed its direction is 15 minutes
Vann
i think the acceleration is 0 since the car does not change its speed unless there are other conditions
Ben
yes I have to agree, the key phrase is, "the speed of the car remains constant...," all other information is not needed to conclude that acceleration remains at 0 during the entire time
Luis
who can help me with a relative density question
Lila
1cm3 sample of tin lead alloy has mass 8.5g.the relative density of tin is 7.3 and that of lead is 11.3.calculate the percentage by weight of tin in the alloy. assuming that there is no change of volume when the metals formed the alloy
Lila
morning, what will happen to the volume of an ice block when heat is added from -200°c to 0°c... Will it volume increase or decrease?
adefenwa Reply
no
Emmanuel
hi what is physical education?
Kate
BPED..is my course.
Kate
No
Emmanuel
I think it is neither decreases nor increases ,it remains in the same volume because of its crystal structure
Sobirjon
100g of water is mixed with 60g of a liquid of relative density 1.2.assuming no changes in volume occurred,find the average relative density of the mixture. take density of water as 1g/cm3 and density of liquid as 1.2g/cm3
Lila
Sorry what does it means"no changes in volume occured"?
Sobirjon
volume can be the amount of space occupied by an object. But when an object does not change in shape it will still occupy the same space. Thats why the volume will still remain the same
Ben
Most soilds expand when heated but if it changes state at 0C it will have less volume. Ice floats because it is less dense ie a larger mass per unit volume.
Richard
how to calculate velocity
Okwethu Reply
v=d/t
Emeka
his about the speed?
Villaflor
how about speed
Villaflor
v=d/t
Nisha
hello bro hw is life with you
Jacob Reply
Mine is good. How about you?
Chase
Hi room of engineers
lawan Reply
yes,hi sir
Okwethu
hello
akinmeji
Hello
Mishael
hello
Jerry
hi
Sakhi
hi
H.C
so, what is going on here
akinmeji
u are all wlc just ask your question anybody. can answer
Ajayi
good morning ppl
ABDUL
If someone has not studied Mathematics enough yet, should theu study it first then study Phusics or Study Basics of Physics whilst srudying Math as well?
Riaz Reply
whether u studied maths or not, it is advisable to start from d basics cuz it is essential to know dem
Nuru
yea you are right
Badmus
wow, you got this w/o knowing math
Thomas
I guess that's it
Thomas
later people
Thomas
mathematics is everywhere
Anand
thanks but dat doesn't mean it is good without maths @Riaz....... Maths is essential in sciences particularly wen it comes to PHYSICS but PHYSICS must be started from the basic which may also help in ur mathematical ability
Nuru
A hydrometer of mass 0.15kg and uniform cross sectional area of 0.0025m2 displaced in water of density 1000kg/m3.what depth will the hydrometer sink
Lila
16.66 meters?
Darshik
16.71m2
aways
,i have a question of let me give answer
aways
the mass is stretched a distance of 8cm and held what is the potential energy? quick answer
aways
oscillation is a to and fro movement, it can also be referred to as vibration. e.g loaded string, loaded test tube or an hinged door
Olatunji Reply
what property makes the magnet to break?
Akshaya Reply
difference between charge and force
uwadiae Reply
charges: these are groups of ions which can be positive or negative. while force is said to be push or pull of an object. Generally, charge deals with ions while force deals with particles.
akinmeji
define oscillation
Munachukwu
what is up thrust
Lila Reply
upward force exerted by water on a body.
Matthew
A hydrometer of mass 0.15kg and of uniform cross sectional area 0.0025m2 displaced in water of density 1000kg/m3.what depth will the hydrometer sink
Lila
archimedes principle
Nicholas
mg=p(area x height)g
Nicholas
solve for height
Nicholas
what is matter
daniel Reply
Anything that has mass. And it occupies space. So it has volume.
wenhe
stages of matter.
daniel
States of matter are solid liquid gas and plasma
wenhe
what are Newtown's law
Lila
An object as rest will remain at rest or in motion will remain at motion. Force is mass times acceleration. And a force will have equal and opposite reaction.
wenhe
do we have any thing like plasma as a states of matter
daniel
no
Nicholas
Plasma is a state of matter. It's much later on. The sun for example is not a gas ball. Its plasma.
wenhe
why is plasma a state of matter
Lila
In lower grades you are taught that there are 3 states of matter. But later on, you'll learn that if you eat gas enough. It turns to plasma
wenhe
Heat*
wenhe
yes we have plasma as a state of matter
akinmeji
it is anything that occupie space and has mass
Anand
I never head of that before
daniel
Anything that occupies space and has mass is matter.
wenhe
what is the difference between vapor and gas
Lila
Plasma is best described as an ionized gas because it is made up of positively and negatively charged particles.
akinmeji
Vapour is gas.
wenhe
Aside plasma, we also have Bose- Einstein. this is also another state of matter
akinmeji
was bose Einstein discovered by Albert Einstein
Lila
We have like 6 states or more. But those are newly discovered.
wenhe
OK, thanks at list I have experience about that one now.
daniel
Einstein​ predicted it
wenhe
With another person
wenhe
what are the other states
Lila
Fermionic condensate
wenhe
OK what is Albert Einstein
daniel
And maybe more. I just rmb those. Tbh for school you only need to know 4.
wenhe
Albert Einstein​is the name of a scientist
wenhe
OK
daniel
what is the physical state of water and salt
Lila
can I ask off topic question?
Kristine
Both are matter. So can theoretically exist in all those states. But in room temperature, water is liquid and salt is solid.
wenhe
Yes
wenhe
Its about precalculus
Kristine
I'm not very good at maths. But if I can answer... Lol
wenhe
The reflector of a radiotelescope is in the shape of a parabola revolve its axis, if the diameter of the reflector is 400ft. above the vertex of the parabola, what should be the depth of reflector?
Kristine
Are there any other factors given?
wenhe
Or just that?
wenhe
matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration
Vashist
Cuz with those factors, I can't solve it.
wenhe
none
Kristine
Well. There must be another factor given or something. Like an equation of the parabola. Or else I can't solve it
wenhe
explain why water and salt are compounds
Lila
That's chem. But both water and salt are made of more than 1 element. So they are compounds.
wenhe
Compound meaning 2 or more things added together.
wenhe
salt chemically is combination of sodium n chloride whereas water is oxygen n hydrogen
Friday
deficiency of vitamin E cause ?
Friday
I don't know if this is the equation or formula your looking for; (x-h)²=4c(y-k) (x-h)²=-4c(y-k) (y-k)²=-4c(x-h) (y-k)²=4c(x-h)
Kristine
If the parabola opens downward, the equation will be (x-h)²=-4c(y-k). If the parabola opens upward, (x-h)²=4c(y-k). If the parabola opens to the left it will be -4c and if the parabola opens to the right it will be 4c
Kristine

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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