Ballotechnics

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In chemistry, ballotechnics are a class of materials that undergo a chemical reaction when quickly subjected to extreme pressures. These pressures are of the order of tens of thousands of atmospheres, and the chemical reactions are initiated by shock waves transmitted through the material. The reaction progresses with little change in volume, and are therefore not "explosive", i.e. the energy is released in the form of heat, rather than work.[1]

Research[edit]

While most of the research performed on ballotechnics originates from Sandia National Laboratories,[2] the researchers involved primarily focus on chemical and simulation research, not nuclear weapons research. Other research has been performed at the Georgia Institute of Technology.[3]

Alleged weapons application[edit]

It is claimed[citation needed] they may have a high enough energy density to be useful as a replacement for the fission-based "primary" in a fusion bomb.

Most are highly skeptical of these claims due to the physics involved, as it is not clear how heat could be used to trigger the implosion required. It has been recorded that Edward Teller laughed the concept off entirely.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Boslough, M. B. (1989). "A thermochemical model for shock-induced chemical reactions in porous solids: Analogs and contrasts to detonation". 9. International Symposium on Detonation. Portland, OR, USA. 
  2. ^ Graham, R. A.; Anderson, M. U.; Horie, Y.; You, S.-K.; Holman, G. T. (1993). "Pressure measurements in chemically reacting powder mixtures with the Bauer piezoelectric polymer gauge". Shock Waves (Berlin / Heidelberg: Springer) 3 (2): 79–82. Bibcode:1993ShWav...3...79G. doi:10.1007/BF02115887. 
  3. ^ Xu, X.; Thadhani, N. N. (2004). "Investigation of shock-induced reaction behavior of as-blended and ball-milled Ni + Ti powder mixtures using time-resolved stress measurements". Journal of Applied Physics 96 (4): 2000–2009. Bibcode:2004JAP....96.2000X. doi:10.1063/1.1773380.