How do atomic bombs kill you?

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How do atomic bombs kill you?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

The core of an atomic (fission) bomb is a radioactive isotope, commonly some variation of uranium. There’s a process that sets off a chain reaction within that material, causing individual atoms to break apart and release a ton of heat and light when they do.

The efficiency and energy density of an atomic explosion means it creates a devastating shockwave to blow stuff apart with pure force, as well as a giant fireball to incinerate anything else. There’s also a release of a lot of x-rays and gamma rays, which are dangerous on their own in the way they damage cells and DNA, and any leftover uranium remains as dust that releases more of those dangerous rays for years afterward.

And that’s just the oldest style that was dropped on Japan. Nowadays we include fusion reactions which are orders of magnitude more powerful. Nukes are bad, mmkay?

Anonymous 0 Comments

Depends on where you are. If you are right next to them – and keep in mind for most atomic weapons “right next to them” can be further than less powerful weapons – you die from the standard bomb things like shrapnel, heat, concussive force.

If you are further out, while you might not die to the force of the bomb itself, you get blasted with radiation, which damages your cells so severely that they cannot reproduce, so you just die in a day or two when your body runs out of cells to do cell things.

Further out still and you might not directly die at all, but things like irradiated particles can contaminate your area. These particles give off small amounts of radiation and are much less powerful than the straight radiation from being to close to the bomb. Your skin can generally protect you as long as you aren’t exposed forever; however when you ingest them or breathe them in, they will emit that radiation right next to your much less protected internal organs. This interferes with your cells and will generally cause all sorts of nasty diseases like cancer.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Heat (burns you to death), blast (destroys your lungs), radiation (kills your cells) or secondary effects such as fires, flying or falling debris, or fallout (radioactive dust that you breathe or eat).

The biggest killers are heat (closest) and blast (further away), and their effects on buildings if you’re near or inside them.

Anonymous 0 Comments

That depends on where you are during the explosion, but if you died during the blast, it was the shock of trauma by induced by third degree burns across virtually your entire body, the more severe trauma of your flesh being forcibly torn away from your body, organs being liquefied, and everything else a seriously large explosion can do to a person. In that way, a nuclear bomb isn’t inherently more deadly than the tonnage of TNT that is marked by the kilotons or megatons that are rated on the specific warhead, only that it is an inherently much smaller size than thousands or millions of tons of TNT, and thus easier to actually use as a weapon.

If you survive the initial blast, you run a severe risk of radiation poisoning if you are in the blast zone. This is because bits of whatever radioactive material was used to power the blast get turned to dust and scattered in the explosion, settling far outside the physical blast zone generally. Radiation damage comes from high energy particles hitting our cells and, well, doing damage to them. At high levels of radiation this can manifest early as burns (sunburn is a form of radiation damage to your skin) but lower doses can cause cellular damage that can over time become a cancerous growth.

A bit beyond the point but a fun thing to know: at a certain level of energy hitting your body in the form of pure EM waves of varying frequency, beyond what I believe our bombs can produce right now, can kill you in a way that the author of xkcd described as “you wouldn’t really die *of* anything; at some point in the process your body would just stop being biology and start being physics.”

Anonymous 0 Comments

Imagine a big semi truck driving into you, then the driver getting out to burn you alive. If that doesn’t kill you, they toss you into a microwave.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Well if your not near the blast zone or your out side the heat flash that burns everything and you avoided the pressure wave. Then you have the radioactive fallout that is full of nuclear ash. This may kill you through radiation poisoning. Where it breaks down cells or tissues and DNA. Look up the symptoms of radiation sickness. But long term low level radiation from minor fallout could cause cancer.

Anonymous 0 Comments

How long after the blast is the area still dangerous from radiation?