My inspirational epic -- Enjoy, correct and criticize to your heart's content

  • Thread starter Indomitable Dreamer
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    Antimatter
In summary: The bomb could theoretically create x160 levels of energy, but it's not practical because the wall of the container would be destroyed in the process, the weapon would be incredibly radioactive and useless, and the residual radiation would be a huge threat to populations around the site.
  • #1
Indomitable Dreamer
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Greetings, philosophers, scholars, enthusiasts.

I'm writing an uplifting sci-fi/fantasy webnovel (240 pages atm), free to all. Only goal – to rekindle fighting spirits.

https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/33662/path-of-righteousness
https://www.fictionpress.com/s/3340207/1/Path-of-Righteousness

It is rational, despite a fantastic motif. It is intense, though it starts slow. It is humorous, yet wholly serious. It is a fairy tale for the adults, who never let their childish dreams die – the uncompromising and unyielding warriors stuck in this miserable reality, starved, thirsty and beaten up, yet still standing in defiance to the injustice that befell them.

I'm putting a lot of effort to make the science as hard as possible, the assumptions plausible, and the logic sound, but I can only do so much research. While it's within my scope to provide a decent quality of language with enough editing, the spectrum of science I'm exploring is so wide, it would be a case of diminishing returns were I to proof it all myself.

If you like my style and end up reading the whole thing, could you point out any incongruities you find? I'm also open to all discussions that conform to forum rules, as I want the sci-fi part of my story to stand up to scientific scrutiny.

Otherwise, I'm just going to pick one problematic topic at a time. To that end: antimatter bomb, yet again. Because its not as simple, as it may seem.

My primary concerns are useful yield (what % of the released energy will be wasted on gammas) and ionizing radiation (residual more so than the initial burst). Those two, obviously, depend on the form of antimatter and on the containment, with which it interacts upon detonation.

From Wikipedia: “Similar reactions will occur when an antinucleon annihilates within a more complex atomic nucleus, save that the resulting mesons, being strongly interacting, have a significant probability of being absorbed by one of the remaining "spectator" nucleons rather than escaping. Since the absorbed energy can be as much as ~2 GeV, it can in principle exceed the binding energy of even the heaviest nuclei. Thus, when an antiproton annihilates inside a heavy nucleus such as uranium or plutonium, partial or complete disruption of the nucleus can occur, releasing large numbers of fast neutrons.”

In other words, you want your antimatter to be formed of stable and densely packed atomic nuclei and your bomb to have a lot of meat to be torn apart by the mesons before they decay, though a fraction will inevitably escape. All hell will then ensue – various species will collide (they don't have to be exact counterparts, after all, they only need to contain the quark antagonists), producing all the outcomes in the world, triggering all kinds of fissions and fusions, both exo- and endothermic, depending on materials used.

Here's my first question – how much can the fraction of initial ionizing radiation burst be limited in favor of blast/heat wave, assuming the warhead has to fit on a missile, and thus the walls can only be a few dM thick? What if it were a hypersonic projectile, a thin rod with an antimatter core, a few cm in diameter? I know it depends on how much antimatter will be used, so let's talk mass ratios, and let's consider a mid-air explosion.

Okay, so let's suppose you have the technology to make any antimatter molecules you need and produce a stable chunk of it, say antiiron, and suspend it in a magnetic bottle (which will be your warhead), thus also shielding it from background radiation (I'm guessing it would be a bad idea to use fissile materials for greater yield, as they would emit alphas at your antimatter chunk, messing it up over time?).

Side note here: is it a self-regulating system, where if your initial vacuum is good enough, all the loose particles in the containment field will collide with the antimatter chunk and turn to energy, heating up or transforming the surroundings and creating a perfect vacuum in the end? Meaning long term levitating storage and weapon shelf-life theoretically shouldn't be an issue?

So you want an antimatter nuke, where you use it to spark a thermonuclear reaction. The coulomb barrier matters, so the bomb needs to be configured to make the core as compact as possible (minimal distance between the antimatter and the walls of the container, a mere metallic shell, beyond which is an empty pit, flooded with liquid deuterium when arming the device, and then a few dM of dense shielding material to capture the remaining mesons, thus containing the thermonuclear reaction between those two layers if possible). What would be the highest attainable yield multiplier?

I know that's not how it should be calculated, but since annihilation releases some 160 times more mass than fusing deuterium, is it safe to assume that x160 should be feasible? In other words, 1 g of antimatter, that's 43 kt of TNT, detonating a 6.88 Mt TNT H-bomb?

Finally, you want the bomb to be clean. Only problem is, there will most certainly be unstable isotopes present in the aftermath. So the question is – how many and how long-lived? How would the residual radiation compare to a classical fission, where it's 5-10% of total energy? Here it also depends on the materials used, and if you use light elements, then there will mostly be light isotopes. I just have no clue how easily they form, what fractions would they be or how radioactive. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm assuming a regular antimatter bomb will be significantly less dirty than a fissile nuke from the very beginning, and an antimatter H-bomb will be almost negligible in that regard?

For my purposes I only need to know about the first few minutes. Since light unstable isotopes usually have very short half-lives, they will mostly be gone by that time, but that also makes them very radioactive per unit mass. How will the situation look like 3 minutes in? Also, what will the temperature of the air and the ground in the epicenter be at that moment, if you detonated a 100 kt bomb? Can a human survive there?

Uff, what a long post. Not for the faint of heart :D

P.S. I know, I know (^.^). A short one – how close do quarks have to get to antiquarks to annihilate? How will nuclei of matter and antimatter overcome the Coulomb force when they meet? I can't find that anywhere...
 
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  • #2
There are a lot of questions in your OP, @Indomitable Dreamer, have you done any research because some aspects are well hypothesized, including here on PF. I recently asked about an AM bomb, for instance, and received a lot of useful info, including a helpful "not in our universe" that changed the course of my novel!

Indomitable Dreamer said:
Also, what will the temperature of the air and the ground in the epicenter be at that moment, if you detonated a 100 kt bomb? Can a human survive there?

Waaa? Do you mean the literal epicenter of a 100 kt explosion? Here's a mere 100 ton bomb going off, it's not something anyone's walking away from!
 
  • #3
"...At that moment" refers to the 3-minutes-in situation I was considering. How much heat, how much residual radiation, also how much dust/visibility/wind, if one had no choice but be thrown in there.

By chance, I've read your recent thread before I registered my account here, and then I found your original one, too. I also did my due diligence, enough to see the big picture and to satisfy non-physicist readers. At this point it's more my curiosity that makes me pursue this issue further.

Thing is, no one can know for sure, how would a real antimatter bomb work, because we don't even know many of its fundamental properties yet, and the ensuing chaos could only be estimated with supercomputers. This is a very, very complex concept, void of consensus. While looking for the most probable outcome, I can only be wary of off the cuff comments, and verify everything people say. Problem is, we're working with fractions here, which most understand. But who can confidently wager a guess to what those fractions would look like? It's so easy to make a mistake on the order of magnitude.

Do you perhaps have any links to published papers? Or the opinions of experts, like those working with particle accelerators?

P.S. By the way, shoul I rather post in another section from now on?
 
  • #4
This is the right spot if you're writing science fiction, @Indomitable Dreamer 👍

But 3-minutes in? The explosion is obviously transitory, so it's worth taking a look at videos of bombs of the size you're considering and see what's what, three-minutes in. How are your protagonists are going to get to the epicenter, though? Unless they teleport in, most transport is going to suffer logistical issues being far enough away from the blast to be safe but close enough to reach it.

Indomitable Dreamer said:
But who can confidently wager a guess to what those fractions would look like? It's so easy to make a mistake on the order of magnitude.

Is this for the story? It is hypothetical, so most readers won't know and more likely, care. Writing a details-laden sequence risks turning readers off. For instance, I spent a lot of time on my AM bomb and all the research for Tyranny was distilled down to this paragraph:

You need to brush up on your physics, Guardian. Each gram of antimatter releases about twenty kilotons of energy. It is mostly gamma rays, true, but they heat the surrounding area, which in this case will be the very bedrock the base is built into, creating a supersonic shock wave. The energy release will liquefy the rock and it will then explode from the pressure. But just in case that is not sufficiently destructive, the antimatter also provides the energy to fuse an outer layer of compressed tritium, which is guaranteed to make a bang. You are looking at what I am sure is the very first hybrid antimatter atomic bomb ever, a marvel of technology weighing a mere six kilograms.

The point is to push the narrative along, not to show how clever I think I am 😉

But if it is for your curiosity, you may find it useful to reach out to researchers directly. I've done that a number of times and they are often very helpful.

Indomitable Dreamer said:
Do you perhaps have any links to published papers? Or the opinions of experts, like those working with particle accelerators?

No, sorry. I collated a lot of information at the time, but once I had the shape of the AM bomb that I needed, that all went in the bin.
 

Related to My inspirational epic -- Enjoy, correct and criticize to your heart's content

1. What is the overall message or theme of your inspirational epic?

The overall message of my inspirational epic is to encourage readers to embrace their unique qualities and pursue their dreams with determination and resilience. It also highlights the importance of self-reflection and growth in the journey towards success.

2. Can you provide some examples of how your epic can inspire and motivate readers?

Throughout the epic, I use vivid imagery and relatable characters to illustrate the challenges and triumphs of pursuing one's dreams. The protagonist's determination and perseverance in the face of obstacles can inspire readers to never give up on their own aspirations.

3. How did you come up with the idea for this epic?

The idea for this epic came from my own personal experiences and struggles. I wanted to share my journey of self-discovery and overcoming obstacles in a creative and engaging way that could resonate with others.

4. What sets your inspirational epic apart from others in the same genre?

My epic combines elements of fantasy and adventure with a strong focus on personal growth and empowerment. It also incorporates thought-provoking themes and messages that readers can apply to their own lives.

5. Are there any underlying messages or lessons that you hope readers will take away from your epic?

Yes, besides the main theme of self-discovery and pursuing one's dreams, I also hope readers will take away the message of embracing diversity and learning from different perspectives. The epic also touches on the importance of resilience, forgiveness, and the power of positive thinking.

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