Re: Anti Matter

Anders Sandberg (
Tue, 22 Jul 1997 08:57:08 +0200 (MET DST)

On Sun, 20 Jul 1997, Michael Lorrey wrote:

> I would expect that if we are talking about stable weapons here, that
> can be stored, an antimatter weapon would not contain stored antimatter,
> but would be a device that generated a large amount of antimatter in a
> short amount of time and released it at once. I would expect that this
> could possibly be acheived with a device that used a fast meltdown
> powering a compact accelerator that fed into a temporary containment
> chamber.

Sounds quite inefficient to me; you need a lot of energy to make the
antimatter, why not use that energy for an explosion directly?

Something that is often overlooked is that almost all the energy in
some explosives come from normal energy sources (hydroelectric,
nuclear, oil etc) which are used to drive chemical reactions during
production (the rest is the chemical energy in the ingredients). So
the plastic explosives from (say) Akzo-Nobel are really hydropowered!

As somebody pointed out, antimatter makes a somewhat lousy explosion.
The first reaction between it and the environment produces so much
heat that both turns into a mixed plasma fireball (ambiplasma; I like
that term). Inside the fireball the annihilation rate is lower (since
the density has gone down), so it will remain for a fairly long while
(how long?), radiating hard gamma radiation. Not my weapon of choice
if I wanted a big blast, but if I for some weird reason wanted to
sterilize a continent I might blow it up in the stratosphere.

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y