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2009

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From the history of physics


The physics of a thermonuclear explosion of a normal-density liquefied deuterium sphere (On the impossibility of a spherically symmetric thermonuclear explosion in liquid deuterium at normal density)

 a,  b,  b
a Institute of Numerical Mathematics, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Gubkina 8, Moscow, 119333, Russian Federation
b Russian Federation State Scientific Center ‘A.I. Alikhanov Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics’, ul. Bolshaya Cheremushkinskaya 25, Moscow, 117259, Russian Federation

The hydrodynamic problem of a thermonuclear explosion in a sphere of normal-density liquid deuterium was solved (Institute for Physics and Power Engineering, Obninsk) in 1952 — 1954 in the framework of the Soviet Atomic Project. The principal result was that the explosion shockwave in deuterium strongly decayed because of radiation energy loss and nonlocal energy release by fast neutrons. At that time, this negative result implied in essence that the straightforward approach to creating a thermonuclear weapon was in fact a blind alley. This paper describes a numerical solution to the stated problem, obtained with the modern DEIRA code developed for numerical modeling of inertially confined fusion. Detailed numerical calculations have confirmed the above ’historic’ result and shed additional light on the physical causes of the detonation wave decay. The most pernicious factor is the radiation energy loss due to the combined effect of bremsstrah- lung and the inverse Compton scattering of the emitted photons on the hot electrons. The impact of energy transfer by fast neutrons — which was already quite adequately accounted for in the above-cited historical work — is less significant. We present a more rigorous (compared to that of the 1950s) study of the role of inverse Compton scattering for which, in particular, an independent analytic estimate is obtained.

Text can be downloaded in Russian. English translation is available on IOP Science.
PACS: 01.65.+g, 28.70.+y, 52.40.Db (all)
DOI: 10.3367/UFNe.0179.200903f.0289
URL: https://ufn.ru/en/articles/2009/3/f/
Citation: Marchuk G I, Imshennik V S, Basko M M "The physics of a thermonuclear explosion of a normal-density liquefied deuterium sphere (On the impossibility of a spherically symmetric thermonuclear explosion in liquid deuterium at normal density)" Phys. Usp. 52 267–273 (2009)
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Оригинал: Марчук Г И, Имшенник В С, Баско М М «Физика термоядерного взрыва шара из сжиженного дейтерия нормальной плотности (Невозможность сферически-симметричного термоядерного взрыва при нормальной плотности жидкого дейтерия)» УФН 179 289–295 (2009); DOI: 10.3367/UFNr.0179.200903f.0289

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