Science

Prior to the detonation of the first atomic bomb, had the scientist been able to prove by theory that the reaction would stop? I assume they did considering they continued with the test. If not, how was Bethe able to calculate the yield of the explosion?

It stops because the active material is exploding, and separating. The critical mass density is no longer surpassed. Yield was the unknown. Only a slight amount of material is ever converted to energy. THe explosion itself stops the explosion. Bethe was one of the leading people who calculated the critical mass of the uranium bomb, and did the hydrodynamic calculations for the hydrogen implosion device. I don't know, but I suspect the yield of the hydrogen device was a ballpark figure at best then.

It stops because the active material is exploding, and separating. The critical mass density is no longer surpassed. Yield was the unknown. Only a slight amount of material is ever converted to energy. THe explosion itself stops the explosion. Bethe was one of the leading people who calculated the critical mass of the uranium bomb, and did the hydrodynamic calculations for the hydrogen implosion device. I don't know, but I suspect the yield of the hydrogen device was a ballpark figure at best then.

That is not an answer to my question. I know now why it stops. What I need to know is what was known prior to the detonation. Where the scientist working on the Manhattan Project aware of the variables that would prevent the explosion from continuing to react with the surrounding material. As far as when I was referring to Bethe's calculation, he figured in his head immediately that the explosion was 20 kt. He was within .1 of the actual yield.

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asked by Dave

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