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bmyst70 t1_izotmhi wrote

A related question:

What is a neutron bomb? I've heard the term and from what I recall, it was supposed to be a bomb that destroyed people but left buildings intact.


ChemicalRain5513 t1_izoxpk0 wrote

A neutron bomb is a type of nuclear bomb designed to generate a high neutron flux, rather than a high explosive power. Since neutrons don't carry an electric charge, they can penetrate many materials more effectively than charged particles, which are slowed down by all the electrons. This means a neutron bomb produces a lot of radiation that can effectively penetrate buildings and even tank armour, killing many people from radiation poisoning while creating a relatively small explosive yield. This would make it suitable as a tactical nuclear weapon, meant to eliminate armoured divisions while limiting infrastructural damage.


Abdiel_Kavash t1_izp2uhh wrote

If it can penetrate through buildings or armor, what makes it "stop" inside of a human?


Ishana92 t1_izp3wmh wrote

It doesnt stop inside a human. It mostly passes through you the same as through a wall.The difference being that damage in a wall or armor is likely nothing worth writing about, while passing through living tissue neutrons break DNA and disrupt cells.


Abdiel_Kavash t1_izp49gc wrote

Ah, I see. I interpreted "penetrating" as "passing through with relatively little interaction", not as "bullet penetrates a window".


mfb- t1_izoy1pu wrote

It's a bomb that releases unusually many neutrons for its yield - you remove as much material around the fusion stage as possible. It's still pretty destructive to non-living things, but it's more dangerous to life than a normal bomb with the same yield.


KauaiCat t1_izr2m74 wrote

conventional thermonuclear is like fission-fusion-fission

a neutron bomb is more like fission-fusion

Instead of using the high speed fusion neutrons to induce more fission, you just let them escape.