Star Wars: "Baradium is illegal, so other weapons are weak"

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Star Wars: "Baradium is illegal, so other weapons are weak"

Postby Rogue 9 » 2014-12-14 11:56am

I decided to wade into a Star Trek vs. Star Wars thread on another board because what the hell, I was bored and with the EU recently being thrown out and some new Trek movies to consider, there might be some interesting discussion to be had, right?

Anyway, in the thread is a gentleman who is using a claim based on the latter parts of the EU (saying the EU was decanonized seems to make no impression on him) about something called baradium, which is apparently the explosive used in thermal detonators. A bomb containing one metric ton of this stuff produced a 1km radius explosion in the vacuum of space.

Now apparently the substance was illegal under the Galactic Empire, which he uses to conclude that it must be the most powerful weapon ever, more powerful than turbolasers, or it would not be banned. He then used NukeMap to discover that producing a 1km radius blast would take about an 8kt explosion, and asserts that therefore turbolasers cannot exceed single-digit kiloton yields. He further asserts that extended bombardment using weapons yielding in the hundreds of megatons would effectively destroy a planet, so for Base Delta Zero to work as described, the weapons can't be above the low kiloton ranges anyway.

I trust I hardly need to point out to people here why all of this is wrong. The trouble is that he's good at weaseling, I'd even go so far as to say he's nearly DarkStar's equal at it. He also doesn't accept internal reasoning in the thread; he demands external citation for everything from those opposing him (though he hasn't cited a damn thing regarding his claim that megaton-range weapons are planet destroying).

I'm fairly certain at this point that he's not going to be convinced and/or he's trolling. The main thing I'm asking for is actually critique of my own debate performance; I know I made a few errors but I'd like to know from an external viewpoint if my overall reasoning has been sound. My main participation in the thread starts here, though I had a few inconsequential posts before that. Note for analysis purposes that the rules governing the forum forbid me from actually laying into him too hard, which has made this difficult.
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Re: Star Wars: "Baradium is illegal, so other weapons are we

Postby Alyrium Denryle » 2014-12-15 08:41am

Noo, there is NO WAY such a substance would be illegal for civilian use in a galactic empire fighting an insurgency. NO WAY AT ALL.
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Re: Star Wars: "Baradium is illegal, so other weapons are we

Postby Lord Revan » 2014-12-15 09:03am

Alyrium Denryle wrote:Noo, there is NO WAY such a substance would be illegal for civilian use in a galactic empire fighting an insurgency. NO WAY AT ALL.

and that's ignoring that there's several explosive materials that have been restricted or banned (effectively making their use illegal) for reasons other then yield in the real world even by nations not at a state of civil war, reasons like being too unstable or too toxic.
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Re: Star Wars: "Baradium is illegal, so other weapons are we

Postby Ahriman238 » 2014-12-15 09:06am

As Alyrium says, in Shadows of the Empire they were able to bring down a massive Coruscant skyscraper with a single 'Grade A' thermal detonator. That is not something you want in general use, particularly during an insurgency. Leaving aside all questions of instability, which IS a noted quality of the material.

Going by the old Essential Guide, the primary advantage to a thermal detonator is it has a wide area of absolute destruction (particularly for a hand weapon) and outside that, no shockwave, no shrapnel or radiation. You can stand half a meter outside the area of effect and not get so much as singed.

....

I also seem to recall (I believe it was Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina) a short story in which Boba Fett solos one of the prefabricated Imperial garrisons carried aboard Star Destroyers and it had a baradium power core that made for a massive base self-destruct.
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Re: Star Wars: "Baradium is illegal, so other weapons are we

Postby The Vortex Empire » 2014-12-15 04:29pm

Nunchucks are illegal in New York. So I guess from that we can conclude that nunchucks are the most powerful, deadliest melee weapon ever made?

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Re: Star Wars: "Baradium is illegal, so other weapons are we

Postby Batman » 2014-12-15 05:08pm

1km air blast= 8 kt therefore 1km explosive radius in space=same yield. I mean it's not like the atmosphere could've something to do with that.
And 1 metric ton of explosive for 8kt sounds pretty pathetic by fission standards.

Nunchucks are illegal in New York. So I guess from that we can conclude that nunchucks are the most powerful, deadliest melee weapon ever made?

Technically that would only make them the most powerful weapon ever made in New York :lol:
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Re: Star Wars: "Baradium is illegal, so other weapons are we

Postby Rogue 9 » 2014-12-15 08:26pm

Insisting that he put up or shut up RE: a few hundred megatons per shot being enough to turn a planet's crust into plasma and boil off into space seems to have made him run away. So never mind. :razz:
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Re: Star Wars: "Baradium is illegal, so other weapons are we

Postby Borgholio » 2014-12-15 09:06pm

And 1 metric ton of explosive for 8kt sounds pretty pathetic by fission standards.


In case anybody was wondering:

The Little Boy atom bomb was charged with only 64kg of uranium and produced a 16kt blast. So less than 1/10 the material for twice the yield. Fat Man was 6.4kg of plutonium and produced a 21kt blast. Less than 1/100 the material and almost 3x the yield. So...yeah. Yay physics!
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Re: Star Wars: "Baradium is illegal, so other weapons are we

Postby Rogue 9 » 2014-12-16 06:28pm

I spoke too soon; the weasel came back two days later to talk about how Brian Young and Mike Wong are liars and/or incompetent, and their numbers are all made up, and to be so bold as to claim I lied about him claiming a megaton bombardment would turn a planetary crust to plasma when it's still right there for all to see in his own post. :lol: I suppose I really don't need advice after all if he's reduced to this already.
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Re: Star Wars: "Baradium is illegal, so other weapons are we

Postby Rogue 9 » 2014-12-16 08:34pm

Ghetto edit: Though just to check, am I totally off base in comparing the impact force of the asteroid that produced the Chicxulub crater and precipitated the K-T extinction (impact force estimated at roughly 100 teratons TNT equivalent) unfavorably to what's actually required for Base Delta Zero? The key difference, obviously, is the single impact as opposed to continuous bombardment for several hours, but it still seems to me that it would require somewhere at least on that order (as opposed to 8.6 million megatons being way too much, as he claims).
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Re: Star Wars: "Baradium is illegal, so other weapons are we

Postby Xess » 2014-12-16 08:58pm

It really depends on what a Base Delta Zero actually is. If it is destroying all traces of civilization, say cover the entire land surface of Earth with 20 PSI overpressure, we'd need 20.4 million 1 megaton airbursts or 34.2 million 1 megaton surface blasts which would be more like turbolasers. If we want to get more bunker-busting and extra life-killing we can cover the land surface with just the fireballs of 1 megaton blasts. Then you'd need 174 million 1 megaton airbursts and 102 million 1 megaton surface bursts. Both of those are the same scale as the Chicxulub impactor.

EDIT: although the spread out bombardment would kill far far more surface life than a single point impactor would. Lots of complex ocean life should survive though, especially the deep sea stuff.

EDIT2: The first set would fit with an "evenly cratered" planet result and the latter would fit with a "scorched" planet result in my opinion.
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Re: Star Wars: "Baradium is illegal, so other weapons are we

Postby Rogue 9 » 2014-12-17 09:39pm

Hmmm. How did you calculate the numbers? He'll ask. Punching a 1Mt bomb into NukeMap myself (which is how he did it in the first place, so it's only fair) says that the fireball radius is 500m, so 0.79km2, which renders 188 million some odd bombs when used to divide Earth's total 148,940,000km2 land mass.

Which prompted me to check the 8kt he claimed while I was messing with it... and the 1km radius he claimed for that yield is 5psi overpressure, not the fireball. :lol: That goes right beyond stupid and into intentional deception; I refuse to believe he's actually so dumb that he expects a weapon to cause atmospheric overpressure in a vacuum.
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Re: Star Wars: "Baradium is illegal, so other weapons are we

Postby Xess » 2014-12-17 11:20pm

Rogue 9 wrote:Hmmm. How did you calculate the numbers? He'll ask. Punching a 1Mt bomb into NukeMap myself (which is how he did it in the first place, so it's only fair) says that the fireball radius is 500m, so 0.79km2, which renders 188 million some odd bombs when used to divide Earth's total 148,940,000km2 land mass.

Which prompted me to check the 8kt he claimed while I was messing with it... and the 1km radius he claimed for that yield is 5psi overpressure, not the fireball. :lol: That goes right beyond stupid and into intentional deception; I refuse to believe he's actually so dumb that he expects a weapon to cause atmospheric overpressure in a vacuum.


Nukemap area's of 1MT 20 PSI and Fireball size for air and surface bursts divided into Earth's total area which Google told me was 510 million km^2. I did it wrong and did total area instead of land area, oops. Anyway, for land surface area and just surface bursts: fireball area is 4.96km^2 and 20 PSI is 19.7km^2 so we get 30 million 1MT blasts and 7.5 million 1MT blasts respectively. An order of magnitude less than Chicxulub but again more effecient for killing life since it is a distributed bombardbment. Incidently that works out to 87 shots per second for a 1 Star Destroyer in 1 day bombardment for the 20 PSI shots and a power generation of 3.6x10^17 Watts, which is on the order of magnitude of the total energy Earth receives from the Sun in a day.

EDIT: Of course from what I recall a BDZ is supposed to be able to be done by 1 Star Destroyer in one day to any planet. That means planets like Coruscant as well as Earth like ones. So the total surface area figures would serve as an upper bound.
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Re: Star Wars: "Baradium is illegal, so other weapons are we

Postby Rogue 9 » 2014-12-18 05:58am

Oh. I screwed up and tested for 100kt instead of 1000. I feel like an idiot now. Good thing I asked first. :oops: Thanks.
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Re: Star Wars: "Baradium is illegal, so other weapons are we

Postby Xess » 2014-12-21 07:36pm

So I did the "pound for pound" math for baradium the guy keeps going on about. He claims 1000kg baradium warhead = 8kt, that's 33.6x10^9 J/kg. Using a 10^32 J Death Star blast, a 120km diameter and made of solid iron we get 15.48x10^12 J/kg. If the Death Star is the same size and made of solid platinum it still has a energy density of 5x10^12 J/kg. Using his DS mass of 134 quadrillion tonnes, 134x10^18 kg, we get 746x10^9 J/kg. Even using his numbers the Death Star is more "powerful" "pound for pound", by a factor of about 22. That's also completely ignoring that only the fuel mass and the reactor mass should really be used, the rest of the Death Star doesn't contribute to energy production. If we use the 10^38 J Death Star yield the ratios all go up by a factor of a million.
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