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Physics/The yield of an American football sized nuke


Hi! In Battlestar Galactica an opposition force of the government gets a nuclear warhead size of an American football. How much would this probably be in yield? 10 tons? A kiloton?

You can calculate this yourself:

a football is about 2 liters (2000 cm^3)
the density of uranium is about 19.1 g/cm-3

the energy in typical uranium can be found in this slide show:

volume * density = total mass

use the slideshow to figure out the energy in pure U-235 (not a thing we use)
or reactor grade enriched uranium (3% U-235) or weapons grade (90% U-235)

then find a web converter to convert Joules to tonnage.

I hope this helps.


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Dr. Jeffery Raymond


Materials chemistry. Materials science. Spectroscopy. Polymer science. Physical Chemistry. General Physics. Technical writing. General Applied Mathematics. Nanomaterials. Optoelectronic Behavior. Science Policy.


Teaching: General Inorganic Chemistry I & II, Organic Chemistry I & II, Physical Chemistry I, Polymeric Materials, General Physics I, Calculus I & II
My prior experience includes the United States Army and three years as a development chemist in industry. Currently I am the Assistant Director of the Laboratory for Synthetic Biological Interactions. All told, 13 years of experience in research, development and science education.

Texas A&M University, American Chemical Society, POLY-ACS, SPIE

Journal of the American Chemical Society, Nanoletters, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, Ultramicroscopy Proceedings of SPIE, Proceedings of MRS, Polymer News, Chemical and Engineering News, Nano Letters, Small,, Angewandte

PhD Macromolecular Science and Engineering (Photophysics/Nanomaterials Concentration), MS Materials Science, BS Chemistry and Physics, Graduate Certificate in Science Policy, AAS Chemical Technology, AAS Engineering Technology

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