The Hydrogen Bomb
The hydrogen bomb is a nuclear weapon in which light atomic nuclei of hydrogen are joined together in an uncontrolled nuclear fusion reaction to release tremendous amounts of energy. The hydrogen bomb is about a thousand times as powerful as the atomic bomb, which produces a nuclear fission explosion about a million times more powerful than comparably sized bombs using conventional high explosives such as TNT.
The Hydrogen Bomb
The Atomic Bomb Was A Essential First Step toward the Development of the Hydrogen Bomb, Before the atomic bomb was developed by the united states during World War II, there was no way to produce the extreme amounts of heat needed to initiate the fusion reaction of the hydrogen bomb. Even after World War II, the hydrogen bomb faced many political and technical obstacles. The U.S. government gave priority to perfecting and stockpiling atomic bombs, and scientist discovered that initiating a fusion reaction was more than simply placing a container of hydrogen near a fission trigger.
Tension to develop the hydrogen bomb increased in the United States after the Soviet Union set off its first atomic bomb in August 1949. The Military, the joint congressional committee on Atomic Energy, and several noted physicists, including Edward Teller And Ernest Lawrence, called for creation of a so-called super bomb, but the General Advisory of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), chaired by J. Robert Oppenheimer, in agreement recommended that the bomb should not be developed, because of the technical difficulties involved, the need to enlarge the Atomic Bomb reserve, and because of moral considerations. A Majority of the AEC supported this decision and passed their recommendation on to President Harry S. Truman. A National Security Council report recommend otherwise, however and at the end of January 1950, Truman ordered that the United States should investigate the possibility of producing hydrogen bombs. Edward Teller was placed in charge of the investigation.
The decision to move ahead with the Hydrogen bomb development was made in response to U.S. perceptions that the USSR was close to producing its own Hydrogen Bomb. Thermonuclear devices were tested was to begin in 1952, and by 1954, both the United States And The USSR have achieved Hydrogen Bomb capability. Since That Year each side has developed nuclear arsenals that are almost entirely composed of fusion weapons, rather than fission weapons. They have reached a strategic condition that promises total destruction.
Early H-bomb Designs called for the use of deuterium, a hydrogen isotope of mass 2, as the primary fuel. It Was Soon Recognized that pure deuterium was difficult to burn, but that reaction could be speeded up by mixing tritium, a hydrogen isotope of mass 3, with the deuterium. Since tritium does not occur in nature, several reactors were built along the Savannah River, in South Carolina, to manufacture it. The light isotope of lithium was bombarded with neutrons on these reactors to form tritium and helium. The tritium could then be burned with deuterium.
The First Completely Successful Hydrogen Bomb Test involved an experimental device that burned pure deuterium liquefied under great pressure and low temperature. This device, which was detonated in the Mike test at Eniwetok, in the Pacific Ocean, on November 1st, 1952, with a yield of 10 megatons (the equivalent of 10 million tons of TNT), proved the viability of the basic ideals of a super bomb.
A year before the Mike test, scientists had shown a different way of using fusion in nuclear weapons, the so-called booster principle. Unlike the super bomb, which used a small Atomic bomb simply to ignite the huge hydrogen burn that produced its tremendous yield, the booster bomb used a nearly large fission explosion to ignite a small hydrogen burn neutrons produced by the hydrogen burn were then used to increase, or boost, the ability of the continuing fission reaction.
In 1953 the Soviet Union exploded a small booster device that used dry lithium deuteride, instead of liquid deuterium or a mixture of deuterium and tritium, as fuel. The neutrons released by the Atomic bomb explosion created tritium on the spot, which then fused with the deuterium in the compound. This method made it needless to produce expensive tritium in reactors and made it possible to