Little Details

A Fact-Checking Community for Writers

Entries by tag: ~explosive & explosions

Destroying a building by exploding petrol underneath it.
techie
reynardo
A friend of mine has a query for her Urban Commando type story. Modern, current day, this world, Australian city, this universe, no magical or other odd powers.

She's got the zombies *and* the bad guys trapped in a building. The heroine has had a change of heart and doesn't want the bad guys to become zombies, so she wants to instead destroy the building by blowing up some cars in the basement carpark, or alternately just siphoning the petrol onto the carpark floor and exploding that. How many litres/Gallons of petrol detonated 2 floors below might give her the destruction of at least 50 square meters of real estate, as in a small block with shops on the ground floor and offices above. The bad guys and zombies are trapped on the upper floor.

I've read of a couple of instances - This one in Prahran, Melbourne in 1968 had "several gallons" of petrol, and would have destroyed the office and set the building alight. This one in Sydney last year was only 10 litres of petrol, which doesn't seem like very much. Whereas this idea of the Fuel Air bomb didn't need much more than a fuel can's worth - or so he said. Yet I feel that wouldn't be enough.

Searches done on "blowing up buildings with petrol", "blowing up buildings with gasoline" and the old favourite "why am I doing this for my friend?"

Ideas? Scientific studies? Anonymous confessions of similar instances?

Immediate response to a bombing or explosion in a city during prolonged conflict
Book
electricdruid
Setting is an AU, mostly analogous to modern times with modern tech. Magic is present, but rare, and isn't relevant to the question. I have a modern country in the midst of a civil war that has been going on for thirteen years now. Government control is tenuous in some areas, and portions of the country are under rebel control.

I need to know what would happen immediately after a bombing in a medium-sized city with an over-worked police department. I am thinking there will be about ten dead and 50 with injuries of varying severity. Effected buildings range from two to fifteen stories. My character comes across this scene about 30 minutes after the explosion, and I need to know what she might see happening, but an idea of what she missed would also be helpful. ETA: I'm referring to bombs planted in a building, or suicide bombings, not air raids.

Would bystanders familiar with first aid help to treat the victims until medics arrived? Would they be permitted/asked to stay and continue helping after medics arrived, if the medics were spread too thin to tend to all the injured? At what point would police cordon off the area- before or after the injured were removed? Would the bodies of those confirmed dead at the scene be immediately removed? What sorts of injuries might she encounter? Given that the country is in a state of civil war, would the explosion still be treated as a crime scene? What would police be doing, other than keeping onlookers out of the area, interviewing witnesses, and searching the area for other explosive devices? At what point does the debris begin to be cleared? How would firefighters respond?



So far I have googled variations on "police/first responder procedures for/responses to bombing/explosions" and "bombing/explosion aftermath" Little has turned up. Most of what I've found has been procedure for how to respond to an un-detonated device or a bomb threat, or personal stories of recovery.

Any help is appreciated!

Busting open an airlock in space
vydorscope
Here is the setup. The heroes need to get to their space ship which is in a docking bay on a large space station. The bad guys have it surrounded so the good guys blow open the exterior doors to the bay...

So questions...

Based on MOVIES (since I have never tried this... yet) there is explosive decompression which causes a violent rush of air and blows everyone out of the hanger into space. This sounds great, but is it real? The pressure difference between a pressurized shuttle bay and outside is only 1 atmosphere, does not seem like it would really do that.

Second question, would the size of the hole matter for the wind force? Say a door made for a normal person verse the hanger doors.

Research I have done has been Google searches with various key words such as "explosive decompression," "air lock open in space," and so on. The problem is all the reliable links I found talked about the impact to the body of the sudden exposure to vacuum and nothing about the air velocity blowing or not blowing out. I did not know where to turn after that, so I came here. :)

Probable types of explosions at concert venues and resulting injuries
klevar
Time: August 2009
Place: White River Amphitheatre, Auburn, Washington, USA

I’m writing an original piece, and a pivotal scene involves an explosion at an outdoor concert venue. The main character, a guitarist, is playing on stage when the blast occurs. The crowd quickly breaks out into a panic and begins to disperse, but a member of the audience manages to reach him amidst the chaos and pull him to safety. She quells the flames on his clothes by rolling him around when they’re in a safe place, but other than that, she doesn’t do much except stay by his side until the EMTs arrive.

The logistics of both the explosion and the resulting injuries are a little confusing though, and I just wanted to ask for some clarification on certain matters.

There are just a few things I want to know before proceeding:

1. What type of explosion would be most likely for an amphitheatre/outdoor concert venue? I would prefer it to be something that could be classified as an accident, such as something stemming from an equipment/electrical issue, but considering how the only Google results for ‘explosion at concert’ and variations thereof are stories of bombs detonating at concert venues, I’ll accept that if that’s the only feasible option. The only thing I don’t want is for this explosion to be too catastrophic in nature. Essentially, I would like it to be escapable by most individuals.

2. For a minor explosion, how far away would the protagonist in question need to be standing to ultimately escape with minor lung damage, second degree burns covering a large portion of the back and a medium-sized third degree burn on the right shoulder? Naturally, his back would be turned to the actual site of the blast, and he isn’t wearing very thick or flameproof material. I wanted the explosion to occur somewhere close to the stage, but if it’s impossible for him to survive with those injuries at such proximity, I’ll try to figure something else out.

3. With the aforementioned injuries, what length of time would the main character be hospitalized for? He’s initially taken to a nearby trauma center that has a special unit for burn treatment, if that has any effect on the length of the stay. I was thinking around two to three weeks, but I admittedly have no idea.

This one is slightly unrelated to the questions previous, but it is nonetheless important:

4. Would it be feasible for the main character to suffer from moderate PTSD after this incident despite his being unconscious for a significant portion of the disaster? Before this event, he was of sound mind and wasn’t easily rattled by anything, and never faced any kind of trauma (physical or psychological) in his life. I’ve thoroughly researched PTSD itself, but I’m still a bit unclear on whether it would be possible if he was only conscious and aware during certain portions of the incident.

Those are the four things I was struggling with the most. I would sincerely appreciate any help on the matter, and naturally, please feel free to correct me if I’m under any misconceptions or if the very nature of the incident I seek to set up is too unrealistic to actually occur.

Google searches: “explosion at concert,” “causes of electrical explosions,” “explosion injuries,” “results of small explosions,” “hospital stay for burn injuries,” “how long is someone kept in the hospital for burns”

The Great Hummus Shortage
marcus 2013
ffutures
Previously posted to ljgenie a couple of years ago but nobody was able to help, I shelved the story this depended on but would really like to have another go at it if I can find the answer. It's a weird one that doesn't seem to be responding well to googling etc.

Some time in the eighties or nineties (don't know the exact date) a factory in (I think) one of the Scandenavian countries had some sort of fire or explosion, halting pretty much all industrial production of hummus outside the Middle East. As a result there was a global hummus shortage for several months.

Can anyone find me the details of this - exactly when and where it happened etc.?

Later Apologies, it turns out I have posted this here before:

http://little-details.livejournal.com/2798285.html

But didn't really track down the truth (if any) of this story.

Homemade Tear Gas IEDs circa 1860
Dean B/W
cuddyclothes
Yes, I know they weren't used until World War One.  But my story involves a brilliant doctor/chemist from the 21st century, and I think he would know how to make tear gas bombs to throw into battle.  (Since a common battle technique was for the soldiers to ride into the crowd, slashing away with their swords, it seems logical that he would resort to tear gas.)

I've searched "How to make tear gas," "how to make military grade tear gas", "tear gas bombs," etc.  But I'm going in circles.  Partly because most of what I read is about capacin-based pepper spray. I've looked at ask.com, YouTube, and Google.

Here's my question: would the hero be able to make tear gas bombs out of one-gallon pottery wine jugs and stopping them up with sealing wax?  How would he transport them?  Does there have to be an accelerant?  If so, what?  Assuming there's more than one person making the bombs, how do they make more than one set-up?

Thanks so much to everybody who has give me so many answers over the past year.

IED Device circa 1840?
1800s House
cuddyclothes
I wanted to use an IED (Improved Explosive Device) circa 1840, but the earliest references I can find to them is around World War One, but much more after World War Two.    The character is from the present day, and the setting is a European kingdom where the timeline sort of swings around but tends to settle around 1840 or so.  What would he improvise, using what materials?

I've google IED, 18th century 1ED, 19th century IED.  I went on Ask.com and asked "How do you make an IED?  19th  c. IED What did they use for bombs in the 1800s?"  Too many of the chemicals and devices used were present day.

ETA:  The device would have to be thrown, or hurled, but not by anything as large as a catapult.  Like a Molotov cocktail.

ETA Part Two:  THANK YOU, EVERYBODY!  I so appreciate the intelligence and perspicacity I find in this community.  The [awesome answers] tag seems to have disappeared.

I need to set some zombies on fire
piccolo
blackrabbit9

Movie: Dead Snow
Setting:
modern
Searched:
cremation, body disposal, burn murder, bride burning, 'burn a body', funeral pyre, how long does it take for a body to burn (yay Yahoo answers), fire, flame temperature, flammability

My MCs have found themselves in the middle of a minor zombie apocalypse, and they've just decided on extermination by fire. These guys need to burn.

What they want to do: about 40-50 zombies need to be chopped up, then burned to ashes quickly afterwards to ensure they stay down. Link above shows a few of them. These guys are fast, dexterous, semi-intelligent and not very decayed. They breathe and bleed, and unlive in a humid sub-zero environment.

What I can give them to achieve it: MCs have 3 working lighters, 50-ish litres of petrol (though if they use it, they're going to walk back to civilisation), enough various kinds of alcohol for 5 guys x 4 days, two cans of aerosol pesticide, a bottle of turpentine, a few WWII-era stick grenades which may or may not work, and a furnished wooden cottage with two small outhouses (their only shelter). Technically, they're in a forest, but they don't have time to go chopping for firewood.

Provided my guys have the experience and firepower to mow down large numbers of undead, is there any way this equation could result in a pile of charred zombie remains? How would you go about it? As far as I can see their main problems would be the temperature of the fire, and the fact that a human body is not very flammable and takes ages to burn (around two hours in a crematorium furnace), not to mention the stench of a burning pile of decaying bodies and the remaining zombies keeping them busy. But here is where it starts getting technical, and I just can't wrap my silly little head around the specifics of how those things are going to pose a problem, and what else can come up.

Note that their plan doesn't have to work. I just need to know exactly how it will fail.

ETA: Thanks, guys! It appears my zombie extermination strategy will involve a lot of trial, error, half-cooked angry zombies, and MCs blessing their home canon for being so generous with healing factors.


Using avalanche control hand charges in modern California
All Your Base
slimequeen
Google search terms used: a wide variety, including: ANFO, ammonium nitrate bag bombs, avalanche control, avalanche control charges, YouTube videos on avalanche control, etc. [The FBI is probably stalking me now.]

My heroes need to blow up a lot of monsters. They have access to avalanche charges. I've been searching all day on the subject, but mostly I'm finding videos of hand charges setting off avalanches from a distance. A BBC video described hand charges as dynamite, but I've found other references to ANFO/ammonium nitrate bag bombs. I know what these charges weigh and that the fuses can take anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes to detonate. What I still need to know is:

What kind of hand charges would be most likely used in contemporary California?

Can anyone identify the specific explosives in this picture?
http://www.worldofstock.com/closeups/PWO4052.php

Videos show people tearing some sort of cap off of the fuse to start the process, but I need to know the step by step process for using these explosives, i.e. what an expert would pass along. Yeah, I know "throw far and run fast" would be key advice. It would also be nice to know how these hand charges can be damaged without exploding, like what would happen if they fell in water.

I'm hoping someone out there will have personal experience with these sorts of detonations and can help me out. These details just aren't the sort that come up in online searches--and probably for a good reason. Many thanks!

Would a fire affect nuclear weapons?
girl piano
coolpearls
I'm revising a story, and I previously had a character start a fire on a building to run the people out without knowing a bunch of important science and weapons technology was inside. During revision, I decided he's going to do it knowing full well that he's doing - now I'm trying to figure out if I should add nuclear weapons into the mix. It's obviously not going to be a huge plant, just some experimentation.

I can't find out fire's effect on nuclear weapons. Every time I try to google, I get "Effects of Nuclear Weapons" or something about resulting fireballs. If burning up nuclear weapons have a huge affect on the surrounding area, then I won't have them, but having the threat of nuclear weapons earlier on in the story does make the stakes a lot higher.

So, long story short (too late), how would a fire affect nuclear weapons? I read about some fires in Russia that got close to places that might have nuclear weapons, and they didn't talk about any horrible things that could happen, so I'm leaning towards it's okay, but what about radiation and stuff?

Setting: Alternate History on Earth, 2030. Small town in Montana that has been working with the government when it comes to weapons/science.

Previously searched:
On google: "fire's effect on nuclear weapons" "can a fire destroy nuclear weapons" "burning a nuclear weapon"
tags in little_details: weapons (misc), fires

Semtex [slight spoilers for Sherlock, but not really at all]
I couldn't know him better
staticlights
Would Semtex explode if shot? (or rather, is there a way to get it to explode?)

The series in question is Sherlock, which is set in present day London.
Looking at screencaps, it looks like there are six 'bricks' of Semtex attached to an electronic detonator (well, there are a lot of wires. I assume that's what it means) that's able to be controlled remotely.

From what I know about C4, it wouldn't explode if shot, and I assume Semtex is the same, since they're both supposed to be pretty stable. But what about the detonator? Is there a way for it to malfunction if shot? (gun in question)
What about if you were to drop an IED into a swimming pool? Would that cause a short circuit?


Googled terms: Semetex, reactivity, shock, gunfire, C4, detonator, plastic, putty, explosive
(Google instant is extremely helpful with this sort of broad search :D ...though I'm sure I've ended up on some sort of watch list)
I get a lot of results for Call of Duty when I google, so I may have overlooked something helpful.

How I learned to love the bomb... and something I haven't quite gotten down
Of Legend
going_boldly
I've noticed a lack of nukes and information about nuclear weapons, warefare, and so-forth. So I've compiled a list of resources I've found helpful:

Nuclear Warfare Policy Basics: Part One, Part Two, Part Three
Atomic Bomb
Hydrogen Bomb
Neutron Bomb
Cobalt Bomb
Radiation Sickness
The Effects of Thermonuclear War
Hydrogen Bomb Simulator
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Chernobyl
General Nuclear Information

What I can't find any information on (because the scenario I'm working with wouldn't happen in real life) is how would a US Marine from 1969 react to witnessing the detonation of a nuclear bomb? The scenario is this: the Marine in question is hiding out in a mountainous cave about 8,000 feet off the ground and ~2 miles away from ground zero. The cave is stocked with enough food and water to last about a week and a half with careful rationing; the bomb in question is a small neutron bomb, although no one can tell that at the time, and my research indicates that from that distance, they should suffer only mild effects from the radiation, if any, though I'm not sure my Marine would automatically think that. The assumption I'm running with is that he would be concerned about radiation, and try to get the people he's currently with to seal themselves* in the cave for a while until the more unstable isotopes have a chance to decay. Is that the right assumption to make, and if so, how long do you think he would reccomend sealing themselves in for? If not, what assumption should I be running with? And where would he be getting his information from: did the Marines recieve training for wilderness survival in case of nukes, or would it all have to be something gleaned from civilian life?

Thanks in advance!

*The people in question are aliens of the "yanked from Earth in the past by proper aliens" variety. He's on their planet, and the group of people he's hanging out with would have gotten along well with Ludd. So, he's pretty much the only one who knows what a mushroom cloud means. Yet another reason why I have trouble finding answers to my questions.

Nuclear weaponry, fallout and poisoning
Sunstreaker: battlefield
hadeseus
Hi hi. I have a few questions I can't find the answers to that I'd like to have answered.

Four questions under hereCollapse )

That's all I have for the moment, I believe, but I might come back with more - it's a massive topic. XD I hope they're not too complicated and I hope someone knows the answers, or can at least point me in the right direction.

Thanks in advance!

Incendiary weaponry
Five Death
x_losfic
Hey guys:

So there's two types of bomb dropped during the first phase of the Blitz of London, yes?

1) The high explosives, and
2) the incendiary bombs.

I need to know, in German or English, http://www.livejournal.com/update.bmlwhat you'd CALL the incendiary bombs specifically. Wiki suggested Terrorflieger as a catch all for both the sort of warfare and the sort of bombs themselves, but German readers have flagged this up as really jarring for them, and say this brings to mind the pilots or planes, but NOT the bombs. I'm using the general 'Fliegerbomben' at the moment, but I'd REALLY prefer a specific name?

THANKS if you can help!

Visible signals over 100 miles
gisho
Setting: Cornwall, after a nuclear war has wiped out most of Europe.

Survivors in England assume that everyone in mainland Europe is dead. They no longer have sattelite technology to verify this, but they've gotten no radio signals and nobody who's ventured toward Calais by boat has spotted signs of life. Unbeknownst to them, there are survivors in Brittany. The nuclear blasts EMPed out enough equipment that the Brittany survivors can't simply make radio contact. They're ekeing out an increasing miserable existance, and somebody gets the bright idea to send up a signal in hopes of attracting attention from England. Ideally, I would like this to be something visible from the coast of Cornwall.

What would be involved? My first thought was 'fireworks', but nothing I've found tells how far away fireworks are visible. One fireworks display was described as 'visible for hundreds of miles', but it happened on top a mountain. I've found ways of getting things to the height of a mountain, if you have the right equipment - the Paris Gun was supposed to be able to launch shells 25 miles high, for example, and modern professional fireworks are apparently launched with something that closely resembled artillery. However, I cant imagine the surviviors having one of those lying around.
What's left? What makes a really big flash?

Indoor Natural Gas Explosion
Wander
a_belletrist
Hello!

I've taken a gander through the previous entries, but didn't find anything similar, so I thought I'd ask ...

I am trying to discover how long it takes for natural gas being pumped (the main gas valve on a stove being opened fully, and the burners opened) into a 26' x 12' room with 12' ceilings and standard ventilation to get to a point where an electrical spark can ignite it. I know the gas rises, and it takes very little actual gas to become a hazard, but how long would it take time-wise? A few seconds? A couple of minutes?

The story is set 50 years in the future, and we're assuming the gas lines and industrial gas stoves haven't changed significantly from today's.

I've Googled: Natural gas leaks, natural gas hazards, calculating vapor pressure, natural gas safety, natural gas psi, natural gas explosions, natural gas fires.

Thanks for any help you can give!

blast radius of dynamite
lindenfoxcub
This is probably an easy question to answer, but my googles of "blast radius of dynamite" and combinations of the above words have turned up either nothing (even wikipedia had not much more than chemical makeup and history of manufacture and use), or the blast radius of dynamite in any of a million and one games in which it appears, but no real life information.

I have four giant steam powered mechanical cats situated across the top of a stair going into a building. I can adjust their positions however is necessary to make the scene work. The cat's engines are still warming up, and the characters have placed sticks of dynamite in their mouths to blow them up, hopefully before they finish heating up and activate. Of course, at least one is to survive this, and attack the characters, because there'd be no point in throwing giant mechanical steam cats in a story if they weren't going to come to life and kill something. So I want to know how far apart I'd need to have them, for two sticks of dynamite in the mouth of one not to destroy the next one beside it, or trigger the next one's dynamite to go off.

Again, I can move them as far apart as need be.

Blowing up a quantum physicist
tamtrible
place: U. of Illinois, time: 3 years ago, google: quantum physics research

Our Hero is a professor of quantum physics, at U of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign (because they apparently have a good quantum physics department). I need to blow him up, or at least blow up something in his lab in a way that could reasonably kill him. But I need someone else in the same lab to survive, because he knocked her out of the way or whatever... (Think Heroic Rescue. It doesn't have to have been normally survivable for *him*, he's got a god looking out for him).

But I can't seem to figure out what a quantum physicist actually does, day to day. Lots of information on what topics/concepts they research, or on famous past experiments, but no mention that I saw of buying a new graviton floculator or whatever [g]

What, in a quantum physicist's lab, could reasonably blow up or otherwise try to kill people, in a way that one person could save another from it?... it doesn't have to be probable that it'd blow up (or otherwise catastrophically fail), it can be due to sabotage/manufacturing glitch/lightning strike/etc. I just need to mortally wound my character saving his grad student from the 'splodey.

If there wouldn't be anything in his lab, is there anything in another physics lab he might be visiting that'd do the trick?

I don't need to actually show/write the incident, I just need at least a vague idea of what it actually was.

Thank you. Sorry I've been posting so many questions lately.

Unexploded bomblets and bullet-resistant materials.
cadebertezim
Setting - modern alternative world.

If you believe there may be unexploded bomblets from a clusterbomb spread across the (sandy, scrubby) ground immediately in front of you and you need to advance forward at least a few yards, would it make things better or worse to throw things/shoot up the ground to set them off -- if you are able to do so from behind a bullet-resistant barrier?

(Searched: bomblets, dealing with bomblets, throwing rocks etc. But obviously  it's really the presence of the barrier that's the critical factor in this and I don't think there's any way to search for that),

Nuclear power plants versus nuclear weapons.
Gen: angel
scarlet_carsons
Setting: AU Cold War, 1985.

In the event of a nuclear missile attack on the US, what would happen to a nuclear power plant within the blast range?

LJ cut for huge chunk o'text.Collapse )