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How does the Tamper in a nuclear bomb survive?

  1. Jan 14, 2017 #1
    I can't really explain my query fully in the space of a title but after hearing an explanation about how nuclear bombs work there is one thing I don't understand - the fissile material is in the centre, around that is the neutron deflector and around that the conventional explosives (this is probably a simplification). The shock waves from the conventional explosives must squeeze the fissile material to critical mass to trigger the chain reaction, but the shock wave must travel through the tamper first. Why is the tamper not destroyed? If the blast is powerful enough to cause critical mass surely any material used for the tamper would not survive?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 14, 2017 #2


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    Science Advisor

    It all gets compressed. The time involved is very short.
  4. Jan 14, 2017 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    The tamper gets destroyed mechanically - it doesn't matter, as long as it moves inwards it serves its purpose.
  5. Jan 15, 2017 #4
    So it gets destroyed but still can do its job - thank you.
  6. Jan 24, 2017 #5


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    The momentum of the tamper does the job. A structure can be destroyed; momentum can not be.
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