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The visuals of a kinetic bombardment

  1. Jun 8, 2016 #1
    I'm writing a story in a fantasy universe, but for a certain aspect, I need realism. The densest summation of the questions I have are this:
    1. What would a single rod of kinetic bombardment look like being shot into the dense sand of a desert, visually?
    2. What angle of shot would be easiest to pull off with... sub-par aiming systems.
    3. What would the aftermath look like?
    There are a few contingencies however- the aiming system can't be a computer, being a setting where magic is a thing that exists, and that the rod isn't made of titanium. The material of the rods is definitely something that can't exist in our universe, and my idea of it is definitely flawed since I have no idea how subatomic particles would interact with a material not made from atoms. I personally have no idea how they work, and the only way that they work is in the internal consistency of the story. No matter how far you zoomed in on the material, it would always appear to be a surface, not a collection of atoms or elementary particles, and thus I have no idea how it functions in reality. None of the characters know either, so I'm definitely not going to throw pseudoscience around. In terms of weight, it would be about the weight of lead with the same amount of volume. Density would be... difficult to calculate, as it appears to be unable to be destroyed, warped, or even slightly bent (except by spacetime obviously). It's effected by light and gravity, but is not magnetic and ignores magic completely. It's not completely flat so friction and air resistance would be something to factor it. Think about the same friction as stainless steel. And by ignore magic, I don't mean it reflects things, it passes through as though it doesn't exist.

    The nature of the sand in the desert should be somewhat like the Mojave desert, except it's in the southern hemisphere (not by choice, I'm working in an established world), and taking place about noon where ground zero would be. I find the idea of the heat of the impact turning some of the sand to glass, but I have no idea how realistic that would be.

    If you need any more information about the environment, do ask!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 9, 2016 #2
    The end result would look like this

    Visually, I imagine it tearing through the atmosphere like a meteor. It'd be very bright and you'd be able to see it easily even is daytime. You'd want to bring it in at the maximum angle that you can before destroying the rod. The less air you go through, the less kinetic energy is lost, however, trying to plunge it straight through the atmosphere may destroy it before it hits the ground. When it impacts, a huge amount of light and heat would be generated and the crater would be dug out. Because of the shape and strength of the material, it'll dig much deeper than a normal meteor, so it'd cause tremors much deeper in the bedroom. It'd probably cause pretty severe earthquakes for a good radius and everything that comes with them: landslides... The shockwave would look just like a nuclear bomb.
  4. Jun 9, 2016 #3
    Goodness thank you! Pardon my immaturity, but tremors deep in the bedroom sound quite exciting. My silly nitpicking of amusing typos aside, that's about exactly what I needed! I'm still curious about that glass part, however tertiary- I think it'd make a nice detail, though I suppose I could just google that myself :wink:

    My mind snaps to- and google results similar to Impactite
  5. Jun 9, 2016 #4
    Oh sorry, I didn't see that. Yes, that would absolutely turn some of the sand into glass. That sort of impact will melt absolutely everything at ground zero: sand, rock, metal, people. It'd be in the millions of degrees range.

    The tremors are one of the biggest advantages to such a weapon. The USA and USSR spent lots of money trying to figure out how to get nuclear weapons deep under their enemy for exactly that reason. The seismic event of an underground explosion extends many many times beyond the damage of the shockwave in the air.
  6. Jun 9, 2016 #5
    I see! I'd heard about underground nuclear tests, though more recent ones from countries the US are cross at were my first introduction. And it's fine if you didn't see it, my post was quite a mouthful. Thank goodness for internally consistent supermaterials, I thankfully don't have to factor in the possibility of it breaking apart... so realistically (heh) I could fire straight at the target, taking the planet's rotation into consideration.

    The point of the weapon, if you were interested, was for the defeat of your typical Sauron-type meanie with the absolute last thing that they would expect. They wouldn't be able to see it coming, as it doesn't exist to magic, and it's certainly overkill enough for the story I have in mind!
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