Nuclear explosion and black holes

  1. The nuclear explosion occurs when the nucleus of atom of Uranium (of Plutonium) are split in two pieces by neutrons. These two pieces are repelled from each other due to (the same) positive charge; these pieces are moving quickly between other Uranium atoms, colliding with them. These collisions results in extremely increasing the temperature and eventually-explosion, right?

    Now, when some certain object is falling in the black hole the latter’s tidal forces will destroy this object. First the chemical bonds (covalent, ionic, hydrogen) will be broken between atoms, then the electrons will be separated from nucleus. Afterwards the nucleus will be broken into protons and neutrons. But these protons will also repel from each other because of the same reason as it was in case of nuclear fission.

    So, can the black hole’s tidal forces trigger the nuclear explosion if we push the Uranium object (sphere, cylinder and etc.) into the black hole? :rolleyes:
  2. jcsd
  3. mathman

    mathman 6,751
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Your description of the nuclear explosion is incorrect. The main point is that the fission products include neutrons which induce fission in other atoms (chain reaction). Also high energy photons (gamma rays) are produced during the fission. The explosion is a combination of chain reaction plus energy.
  4. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    To split nuclei, you would need extremely strong tidal forces. Assuming black holes are as described in general relativity, forces so strong that you don't reach them before the nucleus is less than 1 atom diameter away from the center. Long before you reach this point the matter got split into individual atoms, and you don't get a chain reaction any more. In addition, gravitational force is completely dominating at that point - the nuclear energy gets negligible.
  5. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    If the gravitational field in the vicinity of a black hole would cause the density of a critical mass to exceed the critical density, then a nuclear explosion or at least an excursion (increase in power without explosion) could occur. However, that effect would pale in comparison to the effects of a black hole. If the critical mass is distorted such that prompt criticality is unachieveable, there would be no explosion. If the mass is distorted from it's critical form, then it would go subcritical and no excursion would occur.
  6. mfb
    Why “assuming”? Don’t you believe in their existence? :rolleyes:

    Thanks :smile:
  7. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    It is certain that black holes exist. It is unclear how they look at the event horizon and "inside", and it is questionable if a description with GR alone (no quantum mechanics) is right.
  8. But cannot the general relativity describe black hole’s event horizon and inner part? :rolleyes:
  9. mfb

    Staff: Mentor

    I can describe the sun as big block of glass, and I'm sure it is possible to do that in a self-consistent way. That does not make the description right.
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