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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Nuclear Weapon Testing - Thermal Simulation

Mixing and ignition facilities with surface emittance rates on the order of 150 cal/cm 2-s at blackbody temperatures of 3,000 K are critical to some simulators. Such mixer facilities should mix fuel and oxidizer before ignition to avoid the production of smokes and particulate clouds. Instrumentation designed to function at flux levels above about 150 cal/cm 2 -s is specialized to the nuclear simulation role; this intense radiation environment can easily melt all known materials over the duration of a full thermal pulse. These conditions are not found in any commercial applications.

Other processes and technologies such as plasma discharges with arc diameters >1.0 cm and arc lengths >10 cm for current greater than 1,000 and more than 300 kW input power are unique to nuclear simulation and have no commercial appli-cations. Software is to be validated against nuclear detonations or simulations and intended to model the characteristics of the fireball as functions of the characteristics of the nuclear source, burst environment, and atmospheric conditions.

The new U.S. Large Blast/Thermal Simulator (LBTS) is the most advanced facility of its type in the West, having a larger operating envelope (blast) than the comparable French instrument plus the capability to perform simultaneous blast and thermal testing, also a capability lacked by the French. The United States and France lead in full-scale, thermal pulse simulation technology. Large-area, chemically driven, thermal-radiation simulators were developed in the United States but have been sold to France, the UK, and Germany. The United States operates flash and continuous-lamp facilities and uses solar furnaces on small targets. France and Germany have made incremental improvements to the simulators purchased from the United States. Russia and some Eastern European countries have thermal simulators comparable to those of the United States and other NATO nations.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 03:45:29 ZULU