April 30, 2014

Preparing the "SPLODY!"

These three videoes of nuclear tests are pretty dry, as they deal mainly with the preparations for the tests, but they are also facinating as they give a detailed oveview of how these test were conducted and how scientists were able to get a detailed picture of the progress of these horriffic explosions at intervals measured in millionths of a second. 


The first video (Tumbbler/Snapper) gives a very neat overview of the gadgets involved in monitoring these tests. It seems that a previous test had demonstrated vastly lower blast effects than predicted, indicating that their computer models, and more importantly their field manuals on how to use these weapons were completely wromg. The film goes into surprising detail about how they went about testing various theories on the cause of the anomaly and the mechanics of the devices used. Those smoke trails one sees in test footage...they were smoke rockets intended to give a visual reference for the blast wave...also the trees one sees getting all abused in test foottage are not native to the Nevada test site, but a transplanted forest. 


Two of these tests were very small (1 killoton) and aren't particularly impressive visually, but there is a satisfying 30 killoton blast at the end, so our tax dollars weren't completely wasted. Amusingly, there is a bit of audio censorship at 24:10 and 26:20. "We used a normal casing because of its...."



The second test, Teapot, three years later elaborates a bit on the techniques used to gather the data with 1950's technology and is also interesting because it is the test  that involved the metal sphere experiment that ended up inspiring Project Orion. (Stanislaw's Balls can be seen at 19:07) At the time the film was made no one knew the significance of this test and it's presented as a curiosity.



The final test lacks the engineering detail of the first two, but is also quite interesting, being a VERY elaborate civillian nuclear test by the civil defense authorities. Operation Cue was nominally one of the operation Teapot series of tests, but this particular test was administered by civil defense authorities and was intended to observe the effects of a nuclear bomb on civillian structures, provide a civil defense rescue and response drill under realistc conditions, and evaluate construction techniques to mitigate blast and radiation. Various civillian contractors were invited to test out their ideas. Operation Cue involved building a suburb and industrial park, populating it with manequins and dropping a 30 killoton bomb on it.  Cue followed on the heels of several military tests that investigated such effects as an aside and made use of lessons learned in those. 


One sobering detail is the somewhat more elaborate nature of the PPE in the Teapot tests.

One unrelated, but still interesting thing I noted thanks to Epic's tracking monitor is that when one looks at nuclear test footage on you tube one is beset by about an order of magnitude more trackers than  is normal for a you tube video. 




Hello!

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 11:15 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 The increased number of trackers is somewhat disturbing, as I cannot think of a reason for private companies to be interested in this data.  It's not as though a marketing department would want to know who's interested in nuclear tests.  I mean, there's no commercial market for nuclear weapons, is there?

Posted by: Siergen at Thu May 1 06:48:38 2014 (WVGDf)

2 Well, I'd buy one!
4th of July would be AWESOME!

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Thu May 1 07:17:26 2014 (DnAJl)

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