Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Stopping a nuclear bomb

  1. Jan 12, 2005 #1
    Is there any way to mitigate the effects of a nuclear bomb when it bursts such as using the energy from the bomb for an endothermic fission?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2005 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor



    If the bomb goes off - then it generates a LOT of energy that initially
    shows up as heat energy in the bomb material itself - i.e. the bomb is
    VERY HOT!!

    That hot material is going to expand, generate a shock wave [ i.e a blast
    wave]. It will radiate heat and other radiation, and all the other effects
    of a nuclear weapon.

    Once that amount of heat energy is generated - there's no way to
    corral that energy again - thermodynamics takes over.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
  4. Jan 12, 2005 #3
    Maybe the title was misleading, I was talking about mitigating its effects not ending them.

    I know there is no way to bring together again the vast amount of energy generated but is there any way to spread it over a very large area reducing its ill effects?
  5. Jan 12, 2005 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor


    In a word - NO.

    There's nothing that will disperse the effects over a greater area.

    The bomb disperses itself - with the attendant consequences.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
  6. Jan 12, 2005 #5
    . Endothermic force is of that which absorbs heat and the nuclear blast is that of exothermic type. Kinetic photons are at energy levels of that over 10^8 K and cannot be negated or even mitigated to abosorb. Further more powerful oxides and ammonium is mostly required in endothermic reactions (at least in science lab experiments). In edothermic reactions, energy is used as a reactant, where exothermic is quiet the opposite.

    The nuclear force, especially that derived from a nuclear warhead, is one of the most powerfullest reactions today, except for antimatter-matter anhillation which coverts most of it's mass into energy - but these are both interchangable. Nothing today - except maybe a strong EM force (that artificial) can at least negate this gargantuan energy.
  7. Jan 13, 2005 #6
    Well, Thank you for the reply.

    I just thought it would be nice if something like that could be done.
  8. Jan 13, 2005 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor


    Yes - you just have to remember that once the nuclear device has operated -
    it has generated the energy. The nuclear reactions have stopped. All you
    have at that point is a mass of material with tremendous heat energy.

    Heat energy is going to do what heat energy does. That heat energy
    engenders tremendous pressures - and that pressure is going to make the
    mass of material expand. As it tries to rapidly expand, it generates a
    shock wave - the colder air around it can't "get out of the way" fast enough.
    It "piles up" in the shock front - with tremendous pressure.

    That shock is expanding. [ When you see film of one of the nuclear tests
    conducted in the Pacific - like the Bikini shots - look at the surface of
    the ocean - and you can see the effects of the shock on the water's
    surface. When the shock gets to the shore - look at the fronds of the
    palm trees. ] The pressure of that shock front [ i.e. a blast wave ] does
    the damage. The energy is travelling as fast as it can already - how
    would one make it travel faster or disperse faster?

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
  9. Jan 24, 2005 #8

    Years ago, I remember there was research on nuclear explosion shielding using electro-dynamic field generators and thermodynamic absorbant materials.
    From this perspective, it is possible to mitigate nuclear radiation effects, and
    perhaps to contain the nuclear explosions, too.

    Anything is possible. What we know (publicly) about physics is still at a very early stages.

  10. Jan 24, 2005 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor


    I'd disagree with the last statement.

    We may not have a unified field theory, and know the physics of the
    sub-atomic scale; but the more macro-scale physics - like what happens
    when a bomb explodes is well understood.

    You're reading science fiction.

    For the most part - the hot expanding debris is electrically neutral - so
    electromagnetic fields won't stop it.

    Any material is thermodynamically absorbant - the problem is that the
    bomb contains so much energy that any material that seeks to absorb
    that much energy will be vaporized.

    No matter what you postulate for "field generators" or "absorbant"
    materials - there is one hell of a lot of energy released in the bomb -
    and you can't make that energy "go away" [ by the fundamental law
    of conservation of energy ]. Any attempt to corral that much energy
    is basically self-defeating.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
  11. Jan 24, 2005 #10
    Intresting thought to have, being able to stop the detonation of an atomic bomb. I remember a cartoon that my brothers and sisters were watching had something along these lines. I stopped to listen even though it was one of those cartoon with the big machines that people pilot. The "space race" had been attacked by nuclear arms, so in retaliation they dropped "N-jammers" all over earth which stopped the nuclear reaction. Ironically, there was "anti N-jammer" technology, which could nullify the jammers.

    Fantasy of course, but could conditions be made so that it is impossible to create fissile material to make weapons in the first place?
  12. Jan 25, 2005 #11

    Please Morbius do not take this personally and do not assume I am only reading "science fiction". I am accomplished engineer and merely sharing my perspective.


  13. Jan 25, 2005 #12


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor


    If you are an engineer - then I'd expect you to know that "electro-dynamic
    field generators" can't affect neutral particles.

    As for absorbant materials - like I said before - most materials DO absorb
    the energy from the bomb - and that's the problem - because they vaporize.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
  14. Jan 25, 2005 #13

    The electro-dynamic field generators and thermionic absorbant ceramic-like materials did not work independently, the surrounding atmospheric medium was ionized by some sort of high-energy laser-like device.

    Yes, I am an engineer with 3 patents applied for and assisted in over 40 biotech and electrical engineering patents.

    Last edited: Jan 25, 2005
  15. Jan 26, 2005 #14


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor


    Go do some calculation!!! Do you realize how much energy it would
    take to ionize the atmosphere surrounding a nuclear explosion?

    I ask again - where is the energy going to go?

    By conservation of energy, the energy produced by the bomb has got to
    go somewhere - it can't just disappear. [ The energy normally goes into
    breaking the bonds that hold materials together - which is why the
    buildings fail - for one instance. ]

    So you've ionized the air - now what?

    How does the field generator stop the blast wave?

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2005
  16. Jan 27, 2005 #15
    Hi Morbius,

    I am sure you know your field very well, since it is your profession and I am not here to judge you as you should me. Just to clarify, I knew of this research originating from Asia -- it may had been classified. I am sure there are a plethora of classified projects (U.S. and abroad) out there that we do not know and not being shared by special interests.

    As I recall, the forces and high-energy emanated from the nuclear blast are deflected in such a way that they are automatically converted to other forms of energy that is manageable to absorbed and/or withstand. I do not know exactly how it's done, but that's what I observed it to be (and, I might be wrong!)

    There are so much more to learn, and a lot of this is still hidden from our realm of understanding.

  17. Jan 27, 2005 #16


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor


    To me this sounds akin to all the folderol concerning UFOs - there's
    research going on at special classified places like "Area 51". We don't
    know how it works - but we know that they are working on
    alien-developed technology. We know where they do it - but it's
    "off-limits" .....

    It's all nonsense!!!

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2005
  18. Jan 27, 2005 #17


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    FluidSpace, if you have any references to any of this, it would help, but in any case, it really does look like hand-waving nonsense. It may just be a misunderstanding - you can, for example, harden/shield electronics against the EMP from a nuclear blast - just not the blast itself.
  19. Jan 28, 2005 #18
    if you could create a vacuum above a nuclear blast that would travel into space (looks like a cylinder) then perhaps the pressure of the atmosphere on surrounding troposphere (of bomb) would be great enough to force the blast to go into space.

    i know little of nuclear bombs but i know how a pipe bomb works. set off a blast within a tube without an end, the blast will be directed. Cap the pipe, set off the blast, and it breaks the pipe in an omni-directional way.
  20. Jan 28, 2005 #19
    if can you spend so much time and effort to create such a huge vaccum space to slightly decrease the demage a nuclear bomb done, why don't you stop it from explode at the very beginning.....
  21. Jan 28, 2005 #20


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor


    Yes - explosions, like electricity; in a way "seek the path of least resistance".

    However, at the same time that the bomb is going off - the air surrounding
    the evacuated cylinder will be rushing in to fill that vacuum.

    Have you ever seen some of the high speed photography done by people
    like MIT's "Doc" Edgerton [ inventer of the stroboscope and co-founder
    of EG&G ]. In particular, have you seen the high speed films of a dripping

    When the drop impacts the water standing in the sink below - it pushes
    the water away from the impact area. However, this is soon followed
    by a rush of surrounding water trying to fill in the void of the displaced
    water. The result is that one get so much water rushing in that it forms
    an upward "jet" of water - a little fountain - because the pressure from
    so much water rushing in is actually greater than the ambient pressure
    of the water.

    Courtesy of Andrew Davidhazy of the Rochester Institute of Technology;
    check out the first 2 rows of pictures at:

    http://www.rit.edu/~andpph/exhibit-splashes.html [Broken]

    So unless one has some way to keep the air from rushing back into the
    evacuated cylinder - the pressure in the cylinder may well be GREATER
    than nominal atmospheric pressure a short time after the cylinder is
    evacuated - which would be self-defeating.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook