How to protect from a nuclear explosion

3D illustration of the simulation of the air blast and blast wave generated 10 seconds after the detonation of a 750 kiloton nuclear warhead over a typical urban city; The radius of the shock bubble at ground level is 4.6 km. credit: a. Kokkinakis and Dr. Drikakis, University of Nicosia, Cyprus

There is no good place to be when a nuclear bomb goes off. Anything too close vaporizes instantly, and radiation can pose a serious health threat even from a great distance. And in between, is another danger: the blast wave from the explosion, which can produce airspeeds strong enough to lift people into the air and cause serious injury.

in the journal fluid physicsResearchers from the University of Nicosia simulated the explosion of an atomic bomb from an ICBM and the resulting blast wave to see how this would affect people sheltering inside.

In the medium damage area, the blast wave is enough to knock down some buildings and injure people trapped outdoors. However, more stable buildings, such as concrete structures, can still stand.

The team used advanced computer modeling to study how a nuclear blast wave is accelerated through an existing structure. Their simulated structure featured rooms, windows, doorways, and corridors and allowed them to calculate air velocity after a blast wave and identify the best and worst places.

“Prior to our study, the danger to people inside a concrete-reinforced building that would withstand a blast wave was not clear,” said author Dimitris Drikakis. “Our study shows that high airspeed is still a huge risk and can lead to severe injuries or even fatalities.”

According to their findings, simply being in a solid building is not enough to avoid hazards. Tight spaces can increase air speed, and the involvement of a blast wave causes air to bounce off walls and bend around corners. In the worst case scenario, this can produce a force equivalent to 18 times the weight of a human body.

“The most dangerous and critical indoor locations to avoid are windows, hallways, and doors,” said author Ioannis Kokkinakis. “People should move away from these locations and take cover immediately. Even in the front room facing the blast, one can be safe from high airspeeds if positioned at the corners of the wall facing the blast.”

How to protect from a nuclear explosion

profiles of the maximum airspeed achieved during the first 10 seconds after the blast wave entered the window; Overpressure 5 psi. credit: a. Kokkinakis and Dr. Drikakis, University of Nicosia, Cyprus

The authors stress that the time between the explosion and the arrival of the blast wave is only a few seconds, so quick access to a safe place is crucial.

“In addition, there will be increased radiation levels, unsafe buildings, damaged power and gas lines, and fires,” Drikakis said. “People should be concerned about all of the above and seek immediate, urgent help.”

While the authors hope their advice will never need to be followed, they believe that understanding the effects of a nuclear explosion can help prevent injuries and guide rescue efforts.

The article “The Impact of a Nuclear Explosion on Humans Indoors” is written by Ioannis, Liam Kokkinakis and Dimitris Drikakis. The article will appear in fluid physics On January 17, 2023.

more information:
The effect of a nuclear explosion on the humans inside, fluid physics (2023). doi: 10.1063/5.0132565

Provided by the American Institute of Physics

the quote: How to protect against a nuclear explosion (2023, January 17) Retrieved January 17, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-01-nuclear-explosion.html

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