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2005

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November

  



The extraordinarily beautiful physical principle of thermonuclear charge design (on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the test of RDS-37 — the first Soviet two-stage thermonuclear charge)


All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics — Federal Nuclear Centre, Sarov, Nizhnii Novgorod region, Russian Federation

On 22 November 1955, the Semipalatinsk test site saw the test of the first domestic two-stage thermonuclear RDS-37 charge. The charge operation was based on the principle of radiation implosion. The kernel of the principle consists in the radiation generated in a primary A-bomb explosion and confined by the radiation-opaque casing propagating throughout the interior casing volume and flowing around the secondary thermonuclear unit. The secondary unit experiences a strong compression under the irradiation, with a resulting nuclear and thermonuclear explosion. The RDS-37 explosion was the strongest of all those ever realized at the Semipalatinsk test site. It produced an indelible impression on the participants in the test. This document-based paper describes the genesis of the ideas underlying the RDS-37 design and reflects the critical moments in its development. The advent of RDS-37 was an outstanding accomplishment of the scientists and engineers of our country.

Text can be downloaded in Russian. English translation is available on IOP Science or Turpion.
Fulltext: pdf (353 KB)
DOI: 10.1070/PU2005v048n11ABEH005839
URL: http://ufn.ru/en/articles/2005/11/g/
Citation: Goncharov G A "The extraordinarily beautiful physical principle of thermonuclear charge design (on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the test of RDS-37 — the first Soviet two-stage thermonuclear charge)" Phys. Usp. 48 1187–1196 (2005)
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Оригинал: Гончаров Г А «Необычайный по красоте физический принцип конструирования термоядерных зарядов (к 50-летию со дня испытания первого отечественного двухступенчатого термоядерного заряда РДС-37)» УФН 175 1243–1252 (2005); DOI: 10.3367/UFNr.0175.200511h.1243

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