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Old July 3rd, 2017, 01:42 PM
Carlobrand Carlobrand is offline
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Default Fun with nuclear dampers

Thinking about nuclear dampers. The things can neutralize a warhead in less than a second. Think about that for a moment.

We'll assume plutonium - smaller critical mass and relatively easy to make. Half life around 24 thousand years, about a 50 year "shelf life" if you want to be sure you don't get a fizzle. Decays by throwing off an alpha, mostly. So, the damper needs to induce 50 years of decay in a second to disable the warhead. Increase decay rate by about 1 1/2 billion. Except ... Pu generates about a half joule of heat per mole. Melts at 2820 joules per mole. Vaporizes at 333,500 joules per mole. Render it inert, you get an explosion as this solid suddenly becomes a gas. Okay in space, not so nice for ground troops.

Take it back a few orders of magnitude. Even just shy of melting, it's around 1100 degrees F. What happens to the explosives when exposed to an 1100 degree mass of metal? Deflagration at the very least. Little boom instead of big BOOM. Dirty bomb. Still hard on the troops.

I can't see a way to do this without the thing exploding.
Comments made are for the purpose of offering alternative campaign settings for consideration. The writer acknowledges that Traveller is intended to emulate certain common science fiction tropes and that, in the course of emulating those tropes and providing a better playing experience, some liberties must be taken with science. No statement by the writer should be interpreted as constituting a criticism of the game on that basis ... except for that bit about Virus. Dude, really?!
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