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Author Topic: X-Ray Bomb?  (Read 764 times)

Offline bobbymike

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X-Ray Bomb?
« on: July 04, 2018, 01:12:52 am »
https://www.defensenews.com/industry/techwatch/2018/07/02/x-ray-bombs-when-conventional-explosives-just-wont-do/

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By David Hambling

THE US Department of Defense wants to build an X-ray bomb. The unusual device could knock out chemical and biological weapon sites without spreading hazardous material over a wide area, as is the risk with the explosives currently used.

In April, when the US, UK and France struck facilities associated with chemical weapons in Syria, like labs and training centres, they had to be careful not to hit any storage sites. Although high-temperature incendiary warheads have been developed that should neutralise any chemical and biological
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Offline fredymac

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Re: X-Ray Bomb?
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2018, 10:01:28 am »
Apparently this isn't nuclear driven.  The article mentions using conventional explosives to compress Aluminum or Helium to generate the X-Rays.  I wonder how big the conventional explosives would have to be to generate enough X-Rays.  Could wind up with more bang than flash unless the process has more efficiency than you might expect.

Offline Tzoli

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Re: X-Ray Bomb?
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2018, 12:27:21 pm »
Isn't a Neutron bomb could do the same effect? Though there are radioactivity after it, but it should dissipate in a short time (say in a week) if I'm not mistaken.

Offline Ravinoff

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Re: X-Ray Bomb?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2018, 03:42:26 pm »
Isn't a Neutron bomb could do the same effect? Though there are radioactivity after it, but it should dissipate in a short time (say in a week) if I'm not mistaken.

Not exactly, a neutron bomb (which is still a nuke, just with more of the yield being radiation) generates neutron radiation, which among other things transmutes atoms by neutron capture, turning stable isotopes radioactive. Which is to say that inert things start emitting radiation of their own (as opposed to just having fallout particles or whatnot on them) when exposed to enough neutron flux. By the sound of it, the idea of this x-ray bomb is to flash-fry sensitive things without firing off a nuke or something equally messy and dispersing hazardous materials everywhere.

Offline Tzoli

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Re: X-Ray Bomb?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2018, 08:06:31 am »
Isn't a Neutron bomb could do the same effect? Though there are radioactivity after it, but it should dissipate in a short time (say in a week) if I'm not mistaken.

Not exactly, a neutron bomb (which is still a nuke, just with more of the yield being radiation) generates neutron radiation, which among other things transmutes atoms by neutron capture, turning stable isotopes radioactive. Which is to say that inert things start emitting radiation of their own (as opposed to just having fallout particles or whatnot on them) when exposed to enough neutron flux. By the sound of it, the idea of this x-ray bomb is to flash-fry sensitive things without firing off a nuke or something equally messy and dispersing hazardous materials everywhere.

I see!
So something like a EMP bomb? Or the EMP effect of a Atmospheric/Stratospheric Nuclear blast but without the radiation hazard?

Offline Ravinoff

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Re: X-Ray Bomb?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2018, 10:50:21 pm »
Isn't a Neutron bomb could do the same effect? Though there are radioactivity after it, but it should dissipate in a short time (say in a week) if I'm not mistaken.

Not exactly, a neutron bomb (which is still a nuke, just with more of the yield being radiation) generates neutron radiation, which among other things transmutes atoms by neutron capture, turning stable isotopes radioactive. Which is to say that inert things start emitting radiation of their own (as opposed to just having fallout particles or whatnot on them) when exposed to enough neutron flux. By the sound of it, the idea of this x-ray bomb is to flash-fry sensitive things without firing off a nuke or something equally messy and dispersing hazardous materials everywhere.

I see!
So something like a EMP bomb? Or the EMP effect of a Atmospheric/Stratospheric Nuclear blast but without the radiation hazard?

Not quite, it's still generating a lot of ionizing radiation, but without the residual contamination (fallout and neutron-activated radionucleotides) a conventional nuclear weapon would have. Think about the difference between a medical X-ray machine and a cobalt-60 radiotherapy unit: both generate radiation, but the X-ray machine is completely inert when not operational whereas cobalt-60 is notoriously unpleasant and has to be kept in a lead-lined case. That's because cobalt-60 undergoes radioactive decay and constantly emits radiation, while an X-ray machine just uses a supercharged cathode ray tube to generate photons in the same basic way as a tube TV screen. One's a flashbulb, the other is a hot coal.

And just to make things even more confusing, there WAS a program to use X-rays generated by nuclear bombs as a weapon too, under Reagan's "Star Wars"/Strategic Defense Initiative plan. Called Project Excalibur, the idea was to surround a nuclear bomb with a bunch of focusing tubes to (via sorcerous high-energy physics still classified) concentrate the hard X-ray flash of a nuke into aimable X-ray laser beams. Those beams would be pointed at incoming ICBM warheads to vaporize them without needing a direct intercept like BRILLIANT PEBBLES or an exoatmospheric kill vehicle does.