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'[OT]: calculating energy release of Anti-matter'
2008\04\23@153124 by

I am no expert but that won't stop me from commenting!!! :)

I think that a good approximation would be a "normal" fission or
fission-fusion or fission-fusion-fission bomb. Basically there is a
blast of high intensity radiation, some of which makes it out pretty
far but the majority of which is absorbed by the air in the first few
hundred or thousand feet around the weapon. This superheated air then
expands creating the shockwave. Finally, the partial vacuum created by
the air around ground zero as it cools causes a reverse (inward)
shock.

In all present-day nuclear weapons, the radiation output is a
combination of several types, EMP, X rays, UV, visible light (all EM),
and then also various particles. I think that antimatter would produce
purely EM output (possibly even purely X-rays).

Sean

On Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 2:57 PM, Cedric Chang <ccnope9.com> wrote:
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> -
"Anti-matter" is not a truly useful term.  Better to talk of "anti-hydrogen"
or "anti-lead", for instance.

So the effect of anti-matter used as an explosive depends on what
"anti-element" you're dealing with, which then dictates how easy it
is to annihilate the anti-matter with its true-matter equivalent.

Einstein's famous E=mc^2 equation comes in fairly handy here, as
the matter-anti-matter annihilation reaction is as nearly a complete
conversion of mass into energy as one is likely to achieve.  So, one
gram of anti-matter (be that in the form of one cc of "anti-water" or
markedly lower volume of "anti-lead" or "anti-iron") would, upon
annihilating with one gram of true-matter, release approximately
180e12 J of energy, or 43 kT of TNT- roughly twice the energy
released when Fat Man exploded over Nagasaki or three times the
energy of the Little Boy detonation.

The big problem is very similar to the big problem in nuclear
weapons design- preventing premature detonation or "fizzling".
In a nuclear weapon (we'll consider fission type only for this
exercise) the big problem is keeping the fissile material close
enough together long enough for a big enough chain reaction
to occur to have a significant yield.  That problem would likely
be even worse for a matter-anti-matter detonation because
contact is needed for the reaction to occur- at least in a nuclear
weapon, the neutron releases during fissions spur other
fissions and further releases of neutrons.

In a MAM bomb based on, say, chunks of lead and anti-lead,
it would be VERY tough to bring a large volume of this material
into contact with another large volume of it simultaneously.

Bear in mind that even though we're talking about very small
masses here, even in a fairly large A-bomb, the actual fissile
material is only in the grapefruit to cantaloupe size range.  The
rest is "icing"- triggering mechanisms, explosives to compress
the fissile material, etc.  Much of that support equipment would
not be much smaller for a MAM bomb, meaning that a pocket
sized bomb to destroy lower Manhattan is not likely with
modern technology (even if one WERE to acquire enough
anti-matter).

So, none of that actually answered the question at hand:  how
would the actual explosion differ from an A-bomb?  Answer: I
have no idea.  My guess would be that it would be much longer
on the soft radiation (X- and gamma rays) and much shorter on
the hard radiation (neutrons and alpha and beta particles).
As for blast and IR/UV/visible light radiation, I don't know how
that would change, but I'd expect some of it to go down since
I'm predicting that the 5% of a fission bomb that goes to
ionizing radiation would be higher in a MAM bomb.

Eesh.  I spent way more time on that then I intended to.
Especially for wild-ass guessing.

Mike H.
> In a MAM bomb based on, say, chunks of lead and anti-lead,
> it would be VERY tough to bring a large volume of this material
> into contact with another large volume of it simultaneously.

But my wild guess is that in contrast to a nuclear device in a MAM
device (actually an AM device, no need to bring in the M as it is
availably everywhere!) the spreading of the fuel will not 'end' the
explosion: once the AM containment is gone all AM will find M to mate with.

--

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu

{Quote hidden}

--
Good info.  I was calculating based on AM TNT.   Are you saying AM
oxygen and "normal matter" nitrogen would not interact ?
If that is true ; sounds like best bet is to use AM Nitrogen as the
explosive.  The AM nitrogen would eventually all convert even as it
was blown out into an ever expanding cloud.
cc
On Wed, 23 Apr 2008, Cedric Chang wrote:

> Good info.  I was calculating based on AM TNT.   Are you saying AM
> oxygen and "normal matter" nitrogen would not interact ?
> If that is true ; sounds like best bet is to use AM Nitrogen as the
> explosive.  The AM nitrogen would eventually all convert even as it
> was blown out into an ever expanding cloud.
> cc

Actually if you had anti-oxygen it would annihilate ANY normal mater not
just oxygen. The anti-electrons (positrons) surrounding the anti-oxygen
nucleous would annihilate the normal electrons surrounding any normal
nucleous. I would speculate that the energy released might be enough
to cause the remaining nucleous to break apart and release anti-neutrons
and anti-protons. If not, then certainly produce an anti-plasma and
normal plasma mix. In either case you would then end up with anti-neutrons
annihilating normal neutrons and anti-protons annihilating normal protons.

As long as we're guessing, I would guess that an AM explosion would be
similar to that of a fuel air bomb in that the inital explosion would be
small and spred the AM and very quickly followed by a secondry huge
explosion.

Regards
Sergio
Wouter van Ooijen <woutervoti.nl> wrote:
> > In a MAM bomb based on, say, chunks of lead and anti-lead,
> > it would be VERY tough to bring a large volume of this material
> > into contact with another large volume of it simultaneously.
>
> But my wild guess is that in contrast to a nuclear device in a MAM
> device (actually an AM device, no need to bring in the M as it is
> availably everywhere!) the spreading of the fuel will not 'end' the
> explosion: once the AM containment is gone all AM will find M to mate
> with.

Yes, but at what speed?

A normal nuclear device explodes "all at once" (homogeneously) because of
the nature of the nuclear reactions that are going on.

On the other hand, the M-AM reaction is only occurring at the surface of
the lump of AM, and the energy released may slow down the influx of M to
react with the remainder. I have this mental image of a VERY bright flare
that "burns" for for a relatively long time before the AM is exhausted.
There may be no high-speed explosion at all, or it may even pulse in a
long series of small explosions.

If the initial reaction is asymmetric, it may serve to disperse the
remaining AM so that it can react more readily, but even then, you won't
get the extreme impulse and shock wave you get from a thermonuclear
device -- more like a 4th of July firework on steroids.

And no, you don't need "lead" to react with "anti-lead" -- the annihilation
occurs at the level of the subatomic particles, and they don't care what
kind of atom they may be a part of.

-- Dave Tweed
>> But my wild guess is that in contrast to a nuclear device in a MAM
>> device (actually an AM device, no need to bring in the M as it is
>> availably everywhere!) the spreading of the fuel will not 'end' the
>> explosion: once the AM containment is gone all AM will find M to mate
>> with.
>
> Yes, but at what speed?
>
> A normal nuclear device explodes "all at once" (homogeneously) because of
> the nature of the nuclear reactions that are going on.

Yes, but it also *needs* to be all-at-once. An AM would not. I guess is
does not matter that much (when seen from a distance) whether the energy
is released in 1 us, 1ms or even 1s. I know it makes a big difference
for a normal explosive, but we are talking ab out a vastly different
amount of energy per volume here.

> On the other hand, the M-AM reaction is only occurring at the surface of
> the lump of AM

I don't think a lump will be a lump very long, guess it would be more
like two (M and AM) plasma's mixing.

--

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu

>  And no, you don't need "lead" to react with "anti-lead" -- the annihilation
>  occurs at the level of the subatomic particles, and they don't care what
>  kind of atom they may be a part of.

A good point, but I would bet that your highest efficiency of explosion
would occur when mixing similar masses of similar atomic weights.  My
guess is that forcible (probably implosion based, or possibly E-field based
combination of ionized samples) combination of similar mass and
composition samples would be most likely too cause an explosion of a
nuclear sort rather than a giant firework or fairly slow-spreading FAE-type
effect.

Mike H.

On Wed, 23 Apr 2008, Cedric Chang wrote:

> Good info.  I was calculating based on AM TNT.   Are you saying AM
> oxygen and "normal matter" nitrogen would not interact ?
> If that is true ; sounds like best bet is to use AM Nitrogen as the
> explosive.  The AM nitrogen would eventually all convert even as it
> was blown out into an ever expanding cloud.
> cc

If your story allows the use of antimater in the form of complete atoms
(not just subatomic particals like anti-protons and positrons) then you
might like to invent some exotic material that holds AM ions in a lattice
of normal mater in a charged state - maybe something like selenium. Or
maybe imprisoned in a bucky ball surrounded by complex charged molecules.

What about sticking it in a normal mater FET and keeping the potential
just right so that it repels the other atoms near it. You could put lots
of these in place and simply use a switch to trigger your device. You
might use this tiny amount of AM as an initiator for a fussion device
using hydrogen desolved in a lattice of palladium (say 500g). That would
be really small (about half the size of a coke can) and have no radiation
signature.

BTW large amounts of hydrogen desolved in metal palladium is dangerous to
handle (another interesting twist to your story). A violent shock can
cause it to explode.

:-)

Regards
Sergio
sounds great Sergio
cc

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