Antiphon,Antiphon said:Has enyone (in the realm of fiction even) proposed making an enourmous
piston engine that would use nuclear weapons instead of atomized
hydrocarbons? (Sure, it would have to be BIG. But its possible, no?)
I would call it a reciprocating heat engine. I suspect the reason why nuclear-powered reciprocating heat engines have not been theorized is that turbines tend to be more efficient. There are designs for nuclear explosions powering turbines. Richard Garwin described one called Project Pacer in his book https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0375403949. That design involved a large excavated cavern lined with steel and fitted with turbines. Water is injected in-between explosions. This helps keep things cool and provides steam for the turbines. Explosions occur once per day. Fusion bombs are used, instead of fission bombs, for greater efficiency. 365 fusion bombs are used per year.Antiphon said:Has enyone (in the realm of fiction even) proposed making an enourmous piston engine that would use nuclear weapons instead of atomized hydrocarbons?
With Orion they allowed for some ablation of the pusher plate, but even that was minimized by spraying a thin layer of oil on the plate before each shot.Yet the Orion pusher plate would not be vaporized.