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Thread: What energy weapons would fusion power make available?

  1. #1 What energy weapons would fusion power make available? 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Im not really sure what is needed technically to make different energy weapons. Through games and televisions you have:

    Gauss rifle (Magnetic?)
    Energy rifle
    Photon missiles/torpedoes/beams
    Plasma rifle
    Laser weaponry

    For each of these mentioned, how would they actually work? Science behind them? And if fusion power was made successfully, which of these would become a reality?


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    Gauss rifle isn't an energy weapon, but used EM field to propel rounds. Rail guns also use an EM field as the propellant. Both have working prototypes and will probably be fielded in next decade or so.

    Laser weaponry already exist, in simply forms as tank mounted laser range finders, communications, all they way up to large prototypes to knock down missiles.

    Though we don't think of it as such radar is probably the first high tech energy weapon, used for detection and jamming.

    Most beams, such as proton, electron etc, have the huge problem of charge repulsion creating large dispersion and will likely never be practical at range.

    Photon missiles/torpedoes etc are purely Scifi--I don't think there's even a good concept of how it might work.
    Plasma rifle is also purely scifi.

    Non of these require fusion power--even lower power such as diesel engine with good capacitors are enough.


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  4. #3  
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    I don't think fusion power will ever be very portable.

    However the other problem is that fusion doesn't directly produce electricity. It mostly just produces lots of heat. So your device would have to include not only a fusion reactor, but some kind of heat engine, like either a steam engine, or a thermocouple. Either way, the amount of energy you can realistically harness from the reaction would be quite a lot less impressive than you might think.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    What energy weapons would fusion power make available?
    None that we don't have now. It would just make them easier to power. You'd still need to build the power conversion equipment and (for example) a laser.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    However the other problem is that fusion doesn't directly produce electricity.
    One of the more interesting fusion reactions is He3 + He3; the products of the reaction are more helium and charged particles, and the charged particles can be used directly for electricity generation (no Carnot cycle engine required.)
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  7. #6  
    Forum Sophomore Estheria Quintessimo's Avatar
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    I suppose Energy weapons may be invented once we have plenty energy...
    We now have the occasional stunner using sound... invention.

    I think though.... unlike SciFi would make you think... Projectile weapons like pure simple lead.... Works in space just fine.

    We alrdy know Atomic Weapons in space suck. As there are no atoms to react too to cause a destructive blast wave. An atomic weapon in space would only be usefull on direct impact.

    I would gather for a long time still,.. velocity impact weapons will still have a long future.

    Plain old fireworks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Estheria Quintessimo View Post
    An atomic weapon in space would only be usefull on direct impact.
    Oops, wrong.
    The funny thing about nuclear weapons is that they cause lots of nuclear radiation.
    Which, apart from destroying electronics, don't do ships' crews much good either.
    http://history.nasa.gov/conghand/nuclear.htm
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  9. #8  
    Forum Sophomore Estheria Quintessimo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Estheria Quintessimo View Post
    An atomic weapon in space would only be usefull on direct impact.
    Oops, wrong.
    The funny thing about nuclear weapons is that they cause lots of nuclear radiation.
    Which, apart from destroying electronics, don't do ships' crews much good either.
    http://history.nasa.gov/conghand/nuclear.htm
    Conventional Weapons - Space War - Atomic Rockets
    OOPS right. I'll quote you from the first article you linked me too: (the second link was pure bullshit for this post, none related)
    If a nuclear weapon is exploded in a vacuum-i. e., in space-the complexion of weapon effects changes drastically:
    First, in the absence of an atmosphere, blast disappears completely.

    Second, thermal radiation, as usually defined, also disappears. There is no longer any air for the blast wave to heat and much higher frequency radiation is emitted from the weapon itself.
    Third, in the absence of the atmosphere, nuclear radiation will suffer no physical attenuation and the only degradation in intensity will arise from reduction with distance. As a result the range of significant dosages will be many times greater than is the case at sea level.
    Hench... IMPACT WEAPON, when you use Nuclear explosions in space. Because that is what is left.

    I'll explain it for you somewhat better. When you use a nuclear device in space ... it looses all the benificial factors it would have in an atmospheric environment. That is is what the article you linked me too, too disprove me,... is telling you.

    Having lost all the benificial factors from an environment.... Nuclear weapons are pointless in space. Sure they bring a bang. But so does pure old lead. Nuclear weapons in space are just not economical (at this time).
    Last edited by Estheria Quintessimo; September 8th, 2013 at 12:59 AM.
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  10. #9  
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    [QUOTE=Estheria Quintessimo;458602]OOPS right. I'll quote you from the first article you linked me too:
    If a nuclear weapon is exploded in a vacuum-i. e., in space-the complexion of weapon effects changes drastically:
    First, in the absence of an atmosphere, blast disappears completely.
    Second, thermal radiation, as usually defined, also disappears. There is no longer any air for the blast wave to heat and much higher frequency radiation is emitted from the weapon itself.
    Third, in the absence of the atmosphere, nuclear radiation will suffer no physical attenuation and the only degradation in intensity will arise from reduction with distance. As a result the range of significant dosages will be many times greater than is the case at sea level.
    Yes, somehow you seem to think #3 makes your point. I'll quote it again:
    Third, in the absence of the atmosphere, nuclear radiation will suffer no physical attenuation and the only degradation in intensity will arise from reduction with distance. As a result the range of significant dosages will be many times greater than is the case at sea level.
    And:
    With such weapons the lethal radii (from nuclear radiation) in space may be of the order of hundreds of miles. The meaning of such huge lethal radii in possible future space warfare cannot now be assessed. It does seem clear, however, that manned space combat vehicles, unless heavy shielding is feasible, will be considerably more vulnerable to nuclear defense weapons than their unmanned counterparts.

    (the second link was pure bullshit for this post, none related)
    Really? Why is that, since it specifically discusses nuclear weapons as space weapons.
    And includes:
    If you want to get more bang for your buck, there is a possibility of making nuclear shaped charges.
    And:
    EMP.

    I'll explain it for you somewhat better. When you use a nuclear device in space ... it looses all the benificial factors it would have in an atmospheric environment. That is is what the article you linked me too, too disprove me,... is telling you.
    Apart from when it's not and supports my point you mean?

    Having lost all the benificial factors from an environment.... Nuclear weapons are pointless in space. Sure they bring a bang. But so does pure old lead. Nuclear weapons in space are just not economical (at this time).
    Wrong.
    Please do try to read what I wrote and how it relates to the text of the links, rather than simply reiterating your claim.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Estheria Quintessimo View Post
    First, in the absence of an atmosphere, blast disappears completely.
    Not true at all. Now you have superheated gases traveling outwards at huge velocities with no air to slow them down.

    Second, thermal radiation, as usually defined, also disappears.
    Also not true at all. The explosion emits blackbody radiation as it expands; that is a lot of thermal radiation.

    There is no longer any air for the blast wave to heat
    Right. But if anything is within miles of the blast, it will be heated just fine.

    Having lost all the benificial factors from an environment.... Nuclear weapons are pointless in space.
    Unless you want to destroy something. Or take out a country's communications capability. Or bring down a hemisphere's worth of satellites.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Estheria Quintessimo View Post
    I suppose Energy weapons may be invented once we have plenty energy...
    We now have the occasional stunner using sound... invention.

    I think though.... unlike SciFi would make you think... Projectile weapons like pure simple lead.... Works in space just fine.
    This part of what you're saying is quite right. Projectile weapons are not just "fine" in space. They're about a bazillion times more effective in space than they are on Earth.

    With no atmosphere to slow it down, a bullet can travel literally millions of miles before hitting its target. (Though I think it's unlikely you could hit anything with precision at that range .)

    Energy weapons like lasers would still have limits on their effective range.



    We alrdy know Atomic Weapons in space suck. As there are no atoms to react too to cause a destructive blast wave. An atomic weapon in space would only be usefull on direct impact.

    I would gather for a long time still,.. velocity impact weapons will still have a long future.

    Plain old fireworks.
    I can't tell if you understand how nuclear fission works, or if I'm just misunderstanding what you are saying. A nuclear chain reaction doesn't really involve nearby atoms. It's mostly just the atoms in the Uranium/Plutonium itself that are chain reacting.

    But if you're referring to the mechanical shockwave generated by the explosion, then yeah. You definitely have a point that there would be no shockwave in space.

    Instead, there would be lots of fast moving particles. Free neutrons and stuff like that. Really nasty if you're nearby.

    Quote Originally Posted by Estheria Quintessimo View Post
    If a nuclear weapon is exploded in a vacuum-i. e., in space-the complexion of weapon effects changes drastically:
    First, in the absence of an atmosphere, blast disappears completely.

    Second, thermal radiation, as usually defined, also disappears. There is no longer any air for the blast wave to heat and much higher frequency radiation is emitted from the weapon itself.
    Third, in the absence of the atmosphere, nuclear radiation will suffer no physical attenuation and the only degradation in intensity will arise from reduction with distance. As a result the range of significant dosages will be many times greater than is the case at sea level.
    Hench... IMPACT WEAPON, when you use Nuclear explosions in space. Because that is what is left.

    I'll explain it for you somewhat better. When you use a nuclear device in space ... it looses all the benificial factors it would have in an atmospheric environment. That is is what the article you linked me too, too disprove me,... is telling you.

    Having lost all the benificial factors from an environment.... Nuclear weapons are pointless in space. Sure they bring a bang. But so does pure old lead. Nuclear weapons in space are just not economical (at this time).

    #2 - Remember the words "as usually defined". The low frequency IR/"thermal" radiation is replaced by an equal amount of really high frequency radiation, like gamma rays and stuff.

    #3 - Is pointing out that the radiation it releases will be stronger due to the lack of atmosphere.


    Also, if atmosphere is a major concern for you, you could always construct a nuclear Claymore. Just enclose the bomb in a capsule that has some air in it, and lots of available shrapnel, and use the explosion to hurl shrapnel at your enemies.

    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    However the other problem is that fusion doesn't directly produce electricity.
    One of the more interesting fusion reactions is He3 + He3; the products of the reaction are more helium and charged particles, and the charged particles can be used directly for electricity generation (no Carnot cycle engine required.)
    That's good to know. Thanks.

    I had been wondering for a long time what all the hype was about He3. I'd heard that it was great fuel for fusion, but I didn't know it was so great you don't even need to use a heat engine to harness it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Though we don't think of it as such radar is probably the first high tech energy weapon, used for detection and jamming.
    Radar is used for detection. The equipment used to jam radar isn't itself radar, and may not even operate on the same frequencies, but is still effective at jamming the signal.

    Most beams, such as proton, electron etc, have the huge problem of charge repulsion creating large dispersion and will likely never be practical at range.
    A work-around is to incorporate the equipment used to generate the beam into a physical warhead. Many of the latest battlefield weapons work at temperatures and energies which either slice through armor like it was butter, or simply punch right through it. The temperatures reached at the point of impact can exceed the melting point of armor, and in some cases, cross the threshold into plasma temp.

    Photon missiles/torpedoes etc are purely Scifi--I don't think there's even a good concept of how it might work.
    The premise is they release a burst of high-energy photons. Gamma rays are photons. Nuclear weapons do this, but they release a lot of other stuff, too, including neutrons and radioactivity. The Star Trek version mentioned in an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise is a simple matter-antimatter reaction, which releases gamma rays and neutrinos. In such a reaction, about half the energy released would be gamma rays, and the other half is in the form of neutrinos. Given the incredible expense of producing antimatter, it's not likely we'll see the Star Trek version any time soon.

    Plasma rifle is also purely scifi.
    Hit any object with a slug moving fast enough, and the resultant temperatures climb well into the plasma range. The Navy's electromagnetic railgun has already demonstrated 32 mega-joules of energy at the muzzle for a projectile that's roughly four or five inches across, and exits at MACH 7.5.

    Non of these require fusion power--even lower power such as diesel engine with good capacitors are enough.
    Fission power works, too, but it's converted to electrical energy by the ship's plant, so...
    Last edited by Delta Flyer; September 14th, 2013 at 09:54 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delta Flyer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Though we don't think of it as such radar is probably the first high tech energy weapon, used for detection and jamming.
    Radar is used for detection. The equipment used to jam radar isn't itself radar, and may not even operate on the same frequencies, but is still effective at jamming the signal.
    Of course it's the same radar frequency, give or take any dopler effect it's trying to mimic or jam. ..that's why it works.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Delta Flyer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Though we don't think of it as such radar is probably the first high tech energy weapon, used for detection and jamming.
    Radar is used for detection. The equipment used to jam radar isn't itself radar, and may not even operate on the same frequencies, but is still effective at jamming the signal.
    Of course it's the same radar frequency, give or take any dopler effect it's trying to mimic or jam. ..that's why it works.
    While that's true of some jamming techniques, such as spot jamming, not all techniques use the same frequency as the radar. Some are capable of overloading the radar's sensitive receiver with noise (no set frequency) that's several orders of magnitude greater than the return from an aircraft. The noise is some times presented as a wall, and some times as a pulse.
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    Fusion and fission are different
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    Lets just see if this is right.Fission expands multiplies and explodes.So what ?Is Fusion the opposite?So fusion would be difficult if not at all possible to contain.If this is right then this would ball lightning plasma.A glow emitted from a central point until it is absorbed by something.Sort of like ball lightning that was uncontanable got out bounced a few times and got absorbed by the ground?Not half a interesting as fission.And I'm just guessing here,not half as dangerous.
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    Thanks,I just looked up state of the art fusion technology,good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    I don't think fusion power will ever be very portable.
    That's a very bold statement that people will probably be laughing at in the future.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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    Realistically speaking, we already have the technology to build some of these weapons, like the gauss gun. It's simply a matter of developing new ways store and transport large amounts energy efficiently enough to make such weapons portable. But what do you mean by the term "photon missiles"? A photon is a unit of light energy, so wouldn't a photon missile just be an oversized flash grenade? If the goal is to create a concentrated burst of heat and light energy powerful enough to melt objects inside the blast radius (like a high-powered laser, but in a shot-lived, multi-directional burst), wouldn't it just be simpler to use some variation of a modern ballistic weapon? One that would create a relatively weak explosion, instead devoting most of its energy to creating heat? I know that nuclear warheads make a huge amount of heat on detonation, but I suppose the resulting neutron radiation would make such a device impractical for use on the frontlines. Also, what is the distinction between energy and laser weapons? Would energy weapons fire some other form of energy besides light and/or heat? My area of expertise lies outside of this area, but perhaps a weapon that fires a concentrated beam of x-rays could be useful. Such a weapon would have a limited ability to bypass conventional types of armor, but I am unsure if x-rays can do any significant damage over a short period of time, other than inducing radiation sickness, inflicting burns of varying severity, and increasing the risk of developing cancer. Feel free to prove me wrong. I have no experience in either physics or engineering. I'm actually into ichthyology and herpetology. I just also happen to read too much science fiction.
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