Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear Bombs
Nuclear bombs work with the forces of atoms. More importantly they deal with the forces that hold together the nuclei of atoms. There are two ways that you can release the energy contained within an atom: fission and fusion.


    Fission is when the atom splits apart. This happens when a single nuetron enters a nucleus, which results in the atom splitting apart. This process releases a large amount energy.

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    Fusion is when two smaller atoms come together. When this happens the two atoms combine to form a larger atom. This process is the same one that all stars use to generate energy.

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Fission Bombs

Fission bombs are a type of nuclear bomb that uses nuclear fission for its energy. There are two ways to trigger nuclear fission inside the bomb: gun- triggered fission bombs and implosion-triggered fission bombs.

Gun-Triggered Fission Bombs

    Gun-triggered bombs use a small bullet at one end of a tube. The bullet is fired down the tube toward the tamper, which holds the materials that will create the fission reaction. When the bullet hits the tamper it triggers the fission reaction, causing the bomb to explode. The bomb "Little Boy" was this type of bomb.

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Little Boy

"Little Boy"

Implosion-Triggered Fission Bombs

    Implosion-triggered bombs work by using a core of materials such as uranium or plutonium, surrounded by a ring of explosives. When the explosives detonate, they cause a shock wave that moves towards the core. The shock wave compresses the core, which results in a fission reaction between the two materials inside the core. This causes the bomb to go boom. The famous bomb "Fat Man" was this type of bomb.

    But there is a more modern version of this bomb, called the modern implosion-triggered bomb. In this version, when the explosives fired, pieces of plutonium were propelled into a core, which then triggered the fission reaction. This caused the bomb to explode.

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"Fat Man"

Fusion Bombs

    Fusion bombs, or thermonuclear bombs, are far more efficient than fission bombs because they produce much more energy. 

    They are also know as a hyrogen bomb because the main material used in them is a hydrogen isotope. Most fusion bombs follow the Teller-Ulam design. In this design there are a couple of stages before the bomb explodes. 

    The first stage is the explosion of a normal implosion-triggered fission bomb. When it explodes, it releases many neutrons and heat. That heat triggers the fussion of certain materials that, when fused together create hydrogen. The hydrogen then explodes, which lets off far more heat and destruction than a fusion bomb.

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