Why are bombs shaped like bombs and not spheres?


Why are bombs, the ones dropped from airplanes, shaped like an oval with fins on one end? Why aren’t they spheres so they just fall down onto the target?

In: 7

A pointy oval has a lot less aerodynamic drag. And that matters if you’re dragging them around attached to a plane.

An oval with fins also tends to fall in a nice predictable path. Spheres kinda just go wherever they want.

You want them to land on the part that had the detonation device, so they’re designed to land with a nose down.

The impact triggers a detonation device.

It also falls more predictably than a sphere

There’s an impact or proximity fuse at the tip, so you want the bomb facing a certain direction when it lands so that it actually detonates.

Then you also want it to not be rotating randomly and wandering around like a curveball while it’s falling, you want it to drop exactly where you aimed it. The fins and torpedo shape help stabilize them in flight so they fall very close to where the bombardier was aiming.

Less collateral, fewer duds.

The Magnus effect causes a spinning object not to fall in a straight line. You can check it out on many youtube videos. This makes accurate targeting inefficient.

Fins and a torpedo shape are aerodynamic and fall fairly straight. Plus with guided munitions, these are used to more precisely guide missiles to their targets.

Modern bombs are also designed with specific purposes which are not “orientation free”. A bunker buster, for example, is designed to be effective only in specific orientation. Shaped charges, for example, must face the surface they are trying to penetrate (facing upwards will make them quite useless)

The way a bomb works is that, by impacting the fuse, you trigger the mechanism. The detonator is triggered by an impact.

The issue a sphere has is drag. If you think of a perfectly round ball versus a golf ball, one has erratic movement because the curved surfaces basically deflect wind in the wildest ways. You want the bomb to fall down, on your target, and be triggered by the detonator.