Anatomy of a Fireball
Given an estimated mass of 10 pounds of 239Pu at an estimated
temperature of 20million degrees, the yield is equivalent to 1million pounds or
500 tons at 200 degrees (boils 500 cubic meters of water: an 8-meter cube).
But since an airblast has little mass, the fireball proceeds outward until it finds
sufficient air mass to dissipate its energy content: the mass-to-gas expansion is
about 22,000 liters or 22million cc's per gram (or 22million times for water)
(near RSTP Room-Standard Temperature-and-Pressure), requiring about
10billion cubic meters of atmosphere, or roughly 1 kilometer radius ... a coarse,
first approximation for a small fission device, typically 10Kton 'dynamite'.
A larger device of 10M ton [thermonuclear fusion device] will thus have a radius
about 10 kilometers ... this is a little shy of common estimates, but it explains
the anatomy of the fireball seeking its dissipation in any available mass.
An effective energy transfer may be estimated based on the cross-section
exposed to the fireball ... noting however that the fireball is a 'gas' plasma, and
tends to surround objects further from the detonation, rather than blast-passed
the objects closer-in (little advantage, as the temperature in-closer is hotter).
© 1996 GrandAdmiralPetry@Lanthus.net