Something I don't understand about nukes in sci-fi... Any legitimate fusion future space nuke should reach temperatures of <100,000,000 degrees at its epicenter. The temperature at the very center of the sun is roughly 27 million.
How big are these epicenter's in space you ask? With a 100 kiloton nuke standing at 200 kilograms (Easily fit-able into those space missiles), no less than 1 kilometer. And don't say nukes can't explode in space because no atmosphere/oxygen, just look at our sun burning happily away in the sky without any oxygen. Yes. There won't be any blast, shock or compression waves... But there is still one thing, heat. Hundreds of millions of it and potentially up to ten times hotter than the center of the sun. That 1 kilometer kill zone is not a conventional cool looking explosion, but a brief flash of intense light, x-rays, and pure heat/thermal radiation that will vaporize anything within it.
Keeping that in mind, recall all the times in movies and video games where space baddies shrug off nukes like they're nothing.
Post by warmach1ne32 on Sept 15, 2016 2:20:19 GMT -8
Basically, nukes in space are laser grenades. They would instantly heat up and melt or irradiate any ship in the blast radius for several hundred kiometers cause radiation at light-speed are basically lasers and lasers can travel pretty far and that would blind anyone looking in that direction I don't think Hollywood even knew how to make a nuclear explosion in space probably because they are lazy, penny-pinching, or have no idea what a nuke in space would look like.
A nuclear explosion would look like a brief flash of light in space. I don't think it's that Hollywood is lazy or penny-pinching on this subject, it's just that it would make for a very, very boring explosion.
Imagine the ending scene from Independence Day where they launched that nuke straight into the mothership. Instead of this disk-like explosion with a beautiful array of colors, all you get is a brief flash of light and all of a sudden a spherical chunk of the motherhship is missing. Melted away by the brief, miniature artificial sun you created and lasting no more than a few seconds. Also, no sound effects. Unless you were close enough, to which you probably would hear a really high pitch *piff!* from the shockwaves carried by the expanding gas cloud made from sublimated starship and/or oxygen inside said starship.
A flash of light and a high pitch *piff!*
Definitely not going to pass for a Michael Bay movie.
Not necessarily to the same effect. In space, it's no longer about having thick armor. The amount of kinetic energy behind your shells are going to be so astronomically high that you stop thinking about armor and start thinking more about how to prevent things from penetrating your hull. Now, those landlubbers there may be thinking that slapping on a thicker piece of metal = better at stopping things right?
Well, yes. But there's something even better. A whipple shield.
A whipple shield costs of several thin layers of heat resistant material constructed over the hull with a small gap in between. When projectiles travel at hypersonic speeds, aka these futuristic railguns, they no longer penetrate and instead explode on impact. Warheads become redundant and all you're doing is accelerating a giant slug of matter at the enemy. The faster it travels, the more spherical the resulting explosion upon impact. And if the radius of the explosion is smaller than the space of the gap, only the whipple shield will be damaged while the hull will go unscathed. The same method is used aboard the international space station and is what protects it against all the space debris whizzing around in low orbit.
Whipple shields are great. They're the best thing until the invention of some kind of barrier force field. They can even protect a ship from a nuke! That is, if the nuke detonate like 800 meters away from the ship. Which is pretty close range in space. The whipple shield will be gone, the hull will be glowing red hot, and bits and pieces of things on the surface will start flying off including but not limited to antennas, turrets, ladders, catwalks, bits of hull, etc. Any weak spot in the hull is going to break off.
As to how this applies to kinetic weapons not having the same effect in space vs. on ground... Spaceships are more than warships, they're a home in an extremely hostile environment. Meaning there's going to be living quarters, maintenance tunnels, bays, hangers, halls, storage tanks, etc. etc. Now, these rooms can and will act like a whipple shield against kinetic weaponry. Meaning unless critical components were placed near the extremities of the ship, the hypersonic kinetic shells we're used to won't be finding their way that far in.
Unless. We're talking like. Huge shells. Like a size that's proportional to the size of the ship. Or like. If you're not firing at ridiculously fast speeds, like those rail gun enthusiasts. Meaning you're probably going to need to fire from a stationary position in space. Now I'm just rambling.
tldr, Kinetic projectiles traveling at hypersonic speeds don't penetrate, they explode. Having multiple thin layers will dissipate this energy much better than a single block armor. The various rooms inside a spaceship will act like a whipple shield and effectively minimize damage to the hull by kinetics.
Post by warmach1ne32 on Oct 3, 2016 2:30:31 GMT -8
The outer hallways and rooms *are* probably depressurized to be whipple shields. Tho I have a strong suspicion that armor-piercing shells can puncture whipple shields, problem is a small hole isn't good enough to bring down a capital ship, probably cause decompression on a few rooms but nothing that would kill the ship. I think multiple hits are needed to break the shield and then start to damage the hull. I do wonder what Depleted Uranium rounds are going to do to to capital ship with a whipple shield.
As long as you're firing at hypersonic speeds (a trait you see in these giant futuristic railguns), whether it's depleted uranium, tungsten, or even aluminum, it'll explode on impact against a high heat absorbent material. You chuck a small aluminum chip at 3 kilometers a second and it'll blow a hole the size of a head in a battleship. You fire something denser than aluminum and it'll make a bigger explosion.
If it's penetration we want then we have to give up speed. Stop the ship, cancel out inertial cruise, and faiare! (at less than 2 km/s) Whipple shields don't stand a chance.