String Lining.

165226 views
2426 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    December 2017
  • From: I've been everywhere, man
  • 2,109 posts
Posted by SD70Dude on Monday, May 13, 2019 10:59 PM

How about 0730 tomorrow morning at Denny's?

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

NDG
  • Member since
    December 2013
  • 1,308 posts
Posted by NDG on Monday, May 13, 2019 11:09 PM

 

How about 0730 tomorrow morning at Denny's?

 

Sounds Great.

 

It is 2210 MDT Calgary/Edmonton time here rite now. 

 

Thanks.

i will be on my 4-8-2 Bike.

 
  • Member since
    December 2017
  • From: I've been everywhere, man
  • 2,109 posts
Posted by SD70Dude on Monday, May 13, 2019 11:16 PM

Yes, Mountain time.  2216 now.  See you there!

I will be wearing a CN 1392 hat.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

  • Member since
    September 2013
  • 5,346 posts
Posted by Miningman on Monday, May 13, 2019 11:19 PM

You found the engine! This is good. Got to luv the String Lining

Have a great rendezvous fellas. 

NDG
  • Member since
    December 2013
  • 1,308 posts
Posted by NDG on Monday, May 13, 2019 11:22 PM

Appropriate, the Hat!

Wish Mr. M.M. could be there too! and many others.

Good to see you out and about, Sir.

Thank You.

 

Think about Inspirators, for Inspiration. ( Lifting. )

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 10,039 posts
Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 5:08 AM

I certainly wish I could be there!

NDG
  • Member since
    December 2013
  • 1,308 posts
Posted by NDG on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 7:26 AM

 

I certainly wish I could be there!

 
It would be WONDERFUL if you could be there!
 
The data on the Niagaras was GREAT!
 
So much learned from you!.
 
A steam locomotive full of Mercury as a heat transfer medium would never slip.
 
Add a Condenser Tender and a Turbine for Draft, et viola!
 
Yes, a Gathering of the Clans would be nice, before we too are gone.
 
Thank You, Sir.
 
Out the door in 17 minutes.
  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 3,246 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 7:55 AM

So it's a Consolidation type!  And a beauty as well!  Now that makes a bit more sense than a 4-4-0.

I wish I could be there for that Dennys get-together.  Sounds like you two are going to have a lot of fun!

A steam locomotive full of mercury?  I don't know, I read the post concerning same, and it just doesn't sound sll that safe.  And the public perception?  Concerning mercury, people freak out and evacuate buildings if someone breaks a thermometer!  At least in this overwrought day and age.

Wouldn't an atomic pile in the firebox you'd only have to re-fuel every ten years or so make more sense?   Whistling

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 10,039 posts
Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 8:25 AM

Flintlock76
A steam locomotive full of mercury?  I don't know, I read the post concerning same, and it just doesn't sound all that safe.

NDG is laughing at it.  He points out, correctly, that I didn't mention the effect the mercury would have had on traction adhesion, then mentions a couple of particularly egregious thermodynamic 'improvements' that proved to be anything but in actual practice.

Wouldn't an atomic pile in the firebox you'd only have to re-fuel every ten years or so make more sense?

You're dating yourself badly, perhaps by overreliance on 'historic' language or accounts.  You might actually have to go back to the Fifties to find "atomic pile" actually being used as a term of art to describe what we have called a 'nuclear reactor' (whether using carbon-block construction/moderation as the original piles did, or otherwise) for many years since.

The old 'ten years between refuellings' is probably as obsolete now as 'too cheap to meter'.  If you look carefully, it's ten years life out of the fuel metal ... and it probably assumes periodic removal and processing of the elements themselves, at great expense and some risk, to keep operation safe and efficient.  

Meanwhile, most of the fun issues have to do with reactor modulation and control, particularly in a railroad environment, where our last crop of engineers couldn't even figure out how to run a genset locomotive effectively for the power excursions and 'dead times' involved in practical flat switching.  It's not an insurmountable technical issue; I'll bet Erik can come up with a set of reasonable approaches even if you built the thing as a light-metal breeder or funky liquidized circulating fuel device.  The problem is ... even slight-appearing deviation from normal can produce the analogue of rapid incrementing augment in the nuclear system, which might be followed by undesired rapid unscheduled disassembly of key components.

  • Member since
    September 2013
  • 5,346 posts
Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 10:09 AM

Overmod states-- " followed by undesired rapid unscheduled disassembly of key components."

I like that, may I use it in class for a couple of courses? Milling I and Mining II particularly come to mind. 

Have read that Toshiba has a ready to go nuclear power source the size of a shoebox for individual homes that would take care of all power for pennies on the dollar. They would ' swap it out every 5 years". I think the problem is it would become a terrorists or some nutcase's dream. 

... and gentleman, we want a report on the meeting, right down to what you had for breakfast. 

I envision those 6 soft boiled eggs on one side and a grand slam on the other.  

 

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 10,039 posts
Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 11:35 AM

Miningman
I like that, may I use it in class for a couple of courses?

Not mine initially -- it's been around a very long time, but I was recently reminded of it -- see circa :57 to 1:02 here.

(Monty Python goes well with sudden boomilication)

Vince, you could easily do a version with the appropriate changes in subject material...

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 3,246 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 11:52 AM

Hey Mod-man, I know "atomic pile" is an antique term, I love  antiques!

Hence the "Brown Bess" and US Model 1816 hanging over the fireplace, the pocket watches, the Victrola in the dining room, and all the other crap the house is full of.  Oh, and muskets  belong over the fireplace, not big-screen TV's!  I'm a traditionalist that way.  A Kentucky rifle's OK too, I'm easy.

I'd say I love antiques so much I married one, but I don't have a death wish!

  • Member since
    December 2017
  • From: I've been everywhere, man
  • 2,109 posts
Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 1:52 PM

Miningman

... and gentleman, we want a report on the meeting, right down to what you had for breakfast. 

I envision those 6 soft boiled eggs on one side and a grand slam on the other.  

We had the traditional basic breakfast fare, nothing fancy for us railroaders.  Just bacon, eggs, hashbrowns and toast (with lots of jam!).

It was a great time, swapped lots of stories about "characters" we've worked with.  It is amazing how much has remained the same through the years, even with all the new technology that the railroads have come to use.

Unfortunately I had to leave after only a couple hours to keep a previously booked appointment.

NDG, thanks again for taking the time to come over, and double thanks for picking up the tab!!!

P.S: I'm ashamed to admit that we did not say one word about Kats, the railroad and other stuff was just too enthralling!

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

  • Member since
    December 2017
  • From: I've been everywhere, man
  • 2,109 posts
Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 1:53 PM

Flintlock76

I'd say I love antiques so much I married one, but I don't have a death wish!

I sense a Firestorm approaching, of atomic proportions!

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 3,246 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 3:10 PM

SD70Dude

 

 
Flintlock76

I'd say I love antiques so much I married one, but I don't have a death wish!

 

 

I sense a Firestorm approaching, of atomic proportions!

 

Not as long as everybody keeps their mouths shut!  Whistling

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 10,039 posts
Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 4:33 PM

Flintlock76
I'd say I love antiques so much I married one, but I don't have a death wish!

The correct term of art for what you married would, at most, be "vintage".  And I think that suits Lady Firestorm quite well, if one has to use wine quality and high-grade provenance to qualify something -- accurate, here.  There are multiple decades to go before we could apply the term 'antique' in the general art-history sense; on the other hand, automobiles in my state are antiques at 25, an age at which most people have barely achieved intellectual maturity.

 

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 3,246 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 5:22 PM

I can't figure out that "A car's an antique at 25 years old" thing.

I look at it this way, if the car was around when my father was a kid it's a classic, if it was around when I  was a kid, it's a bomb!  

Although I'm sure all the guys I knew driving "old bomb" '57 Chevys when I was a senior in high school (1971) probably wish they had them now!  

Who knew?

  • Member since
    September 2013
  • 5,346 posts
Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 6:58 PM

NDG and The Dude--I'm sure it was a good get together and discussion.

Developed the formulae for cold fusion? Solved worldwide problems of hunger and peace? Came up with the answer to life, the universe and everything? 

Human interest stories and characters you've worked with are always the best. 

Dude-- Enjoy your trip. Beautiful country out that way. Are you on the 'highway from hell, the infamous Coq? 

 

NDG
  • Member since
    December 2013
  • 1,308 posts
Posted by NDG on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 4:00 AM

 

To Mr. SD70Dude.
 
Our conversation reminded me as to how old I have become. Not only the Centurys Pass in the Night. Youth and hope do, too.
 
Much has changed, trains have become longer and heavier. They might be 21st Century, but grades and curves date back into the 1900s or late 1800s in some cases.
 
Amazing what has to be done to retain control over trains as long as many are today.
 
I am glad my working days are over.
 
Safety is important. It is depressing just how ' Devices ' have moved in to intrude where they should never be.
 
I am old and have a finite time to live.
 
If I had it all to do over again, I would NOT.
 
Take Care.
 

NDG.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 10,039 posts
Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 9:51 AM

Flintlock76
I can't figure out that "A car's an antique at 25 years old" thing.

Strictly a legal definition, by the State of Tennessee -- it is useful because you get a permanent plate and there is no yearly (expensive) registration requirement.

I assure you that just because something is registered 'antique' does not mean it lacks historical levels of performance.  My '91 BMW 850 is completely capable of at least 128mph (by direct observation) and probably considerably more if minor chipping were to take place.  And would do it for sustained periods of time if requested.  Jaguars are not far behind.  A friend of mine has a Chrysler 300C (with the two fours) and last I checked he will still take it north of 140 on occasion.

As NDG notes, some of the pieces do get elderly and require special attention at times.  That is part of life.  The important thing is to take the necessary care, and not give up but fix the situation 'timely'.

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 3,246 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 10:23 AM

Right you are Overmod, just because something's labeled "antique" doesn't mean it doesn't have, as you put it so well, "historic levels of performance."

Ever been to an airshow and seen a P-51, a Spitfire, or an F4U "Corsair" put through their paces?  Man, all things being equal you could still fight a hell of a war with those things!   I have a VERY hard time considering those aircraft as antiques.

World War One aircraft?  OK, THOSE are antiques, even though some were formidable weapons themselves at one time.

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 326 posts
Posted by Erik_Mag on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 10:43 AM

Overmod

 

Wouldn't an atomic pile in the firebox you'd only have to re-fuel every ten years or so make more sense?

You're dating yourself badly, perhaps by overreliance on 'historic' language or accounts.  You might actually have to go back to the Fifties to find "atomic pile" actually being used as a term of art to describe what we have called a 'nuclear reactor' (whether using carbon-block construction/moderation as the original piles did, or otherwise) for many years since.

The Bat Cave in the 1960's Batman TV series was powered by an "atomic pile", though (from questionable memory) looked more like a TRIGA with jukebox lighting than CP-1. BTW, Enrico Fermi was well aware of the American colloquial use of "pile" when he named the "Chicago Pile 1".

The old 'ten years between refuellings' is probably as obsolete now as 'too cheap to meter'.  If you look carefully, it's ten years life out of the fuel metal ... and it probably assumes periodic removal and processing of the elements themselves, at great expense and some risk, to keep operation safe and efficient.

IIRC, naval reactors are designed with ~15 year core lifetime, with lifetime limited by having enough fissile inventory in the fuel to keep sufficient reactivity. Typical nuclear generating station practice is refuelling every 18 months, where one third of the core is replaced along with shuffling of the fuel bundles in the reactor.

 

Meanwhile, most of the fun issues have to do with reactor modulation and control, particularly in a railroad environment, where our last crop of engineers couldn't even figure out how to run a genset locomotive effectively for the power excursions and 'dead times' involved in practical flat switching.  It's not an insurmountable technical issue; I'll bet Erik can come up with a set of reasonable approaches even if you built the thing as a light-metal breeder or funky liquidized circulating fuel device.  The problem is ... even slight-appearing deviation from normal can produce the analogue of rapid incrementing augment in the nuclear system, which might be followed by undesired rapid unscheduled disassembly of key components.

 
Naval reactors are very good at handling varying loads, the key is that the reactors are designed with a healthy negative temperature coefficient of reactivity. Opening the steam throttle cools the reactor, which increases reactivity, which then increases power, closing the  steam throttle warms the reactor which then decreases power (keep in mind there is a fair amount of thermal inertia). American power reactors are required to have a negative void coefficient of reactivity, which is very easy to do when the coolant is the moderator.
 
Chernobyl blew up because the moderation took place in the graphite and at the end of core life, the fuel had a positive void coefficient. The latter was made worse by the smaller delayed neutron fraction from "burning" Plutonium, so a combination of events caused the reactivity to go above  "prompt critical" (where the reactor is critical on prompt neutrons alone) and went on a very rapid power excursion leading to a steam explosion.
 
Quick aside to Heinlein's "Blowups Happen": Two things that he got seriously wrong were "delayed neutrons" (which weren't yet discovered when he wrote the original version) and how much of the fuel would be consumed in a runaway reaction. When fissioning 235U, 0.65% of the neutrons are delayed by millseconds to seconds, making the reactor much easier to control, fractions for 239Pu and 233U are about 0.20%. As for disassembly, it take a fair amount of effort to get even 25% of a pit in a "physics package" to fission.
 
The reactor proposed for the nuclear locomotives would have been a molten salt reactor (MSR) similar to those developed for the Aircaft Nuclear Propulsion program. A chief advantage of the MSR is that the Xenon will be removed from the core, important as Xenon is the main reason light water reactors aren't very good at load following.
 
My two cents...
  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 10,039 posts
Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 11:49 AM

Oh goody!

Erik_Mag
The Bat Cave in the 1960's Batman TV series was powered by an "atomic pile", though (from questionable memory) looked more like a TRIGA with jukebox lighting than CP-1...

Oh yes; I remember Adam West seriously intoning the number he read off the script when it reached a power output of "seventeen zero-zero-zero Kay Doubleyew" (Burt Ward did a little better a moment later, it does have to be said) Clown

BTW, Enrico Fermi was well aware of the American colloquial use of "pile" when he named the "Chicago Pile 1".

You mean 'roids???  I had no idea!

IIRC, naval reactors are designed with ~15 year core lifetime, with lifetime limited by having enough fissile inventory in the fuel to keep sufficient reactivity.

The problem here is that I believe a significant part of being able to have that 'fissile inventory' involves the use of substantial fuel enrichment, well into the range that would make 'impromptu diversion' a potentially profitable enterprise in a number of senses.  I don't think that the Herbst design was practicable if predicated on high-enrichment fuel (as it was initially conceived and I think as it was patented); in fact, I'd give some serious thought to using D2O in the primary of a PWR, as in a CANDU design but with some small enrichment to get the desired power density, if using a derivative of a submarine reactor in civilian service.

 
Naval reactors are very good at handling varying loads, the key is that the reactors are designed with a healthy negative temperature coefficient of reactivity.
 
Isn't any practical civilian reactor?  Very prompt NTC was one of the great selling points of the General Atomic TRIGA when introduced. 
 
The negative void coefficient is a bit more difficult (for a boiling-water reactor design, anyway) as steam produces more reactivity that either air or moderator-loaded water.  This is what produced some of the nifty PEA scenarios for the initial designs of General Electric reactors when equipped with those Federally-required fast-acting main steamline stop valves "for seismic safety".  One of my primary reasons for rejecting a water primary cycle for a locomotive reactor, in fact, is that just such a stop valve would be required in a small portable system, and wreck damage might easily produce the failure to SCRAM for the length of time involved.  While of course the energy release in a PEA of that size might be measured in fractional tons, it would be nifty in ruining any practical mobile containment and providing an effective boost for the fuel components and fission daughters...
 

Quick aside to Heinlein's "Blowups Happen": Two things that he got seriously wrong were "delayed neutrons" (which weren't yet discovered when he wrote the original version) and how much of the fuel would be consumed in a runaway reaction. When fissioning 235U, 0.65% of the neutrons are delayed by millseconds to seconds, making the reactor much easier to control, fractions for 239Pu and 233U are about 0.20%.

But what about the scenario of Lester del Rey's "Nerves"?  (While we are on the subject of prompt-critical excursions.)  Things get MUCH more fun when you're breeding -- in the nuclear sense as well as other contexts.

As for disassembly, it take a fair amount of effort to get even 25% of a pit in a "physics package" to fission.

Depends to a great extent what's in that pit.  (And to an extent minimizing the amount of actual fission yield in a given component size necessary to get the ball rolling.)

On the other hand, nobody designs (or is really discussing) systems that would light off to even dekaton yield in prompt fission -- and even so very little of the actual radiological hazard from the thing would be prompt energy release.  If you can breach containment and levitate or aerosolize enough of the fuel content ... you have the problem.  

Now it does also have to be said -- admittedly not too seriously, or for policy making -- that where we've had low-order warhead explosion in fire (as with the BOMARC incident in my beloved central New Jersey in the early Sixties) the actual fissile material tends not to react, and to plate out surprisingly fast to where it can be subsequently corralled.  This is NOT a comparable exercise.

 
The reactor proposed for the nuclear locomotives would have been a molten salt reactor (MSR) similar to those developed for the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion program.
 
The principal issue I have with this is that if you thought there were problems with NaK freezing in heat exchangers, imagine the fun with a fuel that solidifies no lower than about 930 degrees F.  It's great that there's no vapor pressure in the primary loop to speak of, but ... the 'salts' in these designs are all fluorides.  (Do we need to be concerned with some of the consequences of hydrolysis in a 'railroad environment'?)  It is probably better than even a room-temperature eutectic in reactive light metals, though!
 
On the gripping hand, there is plenty of 'downside' in the heat balance for keeping sodium-sulfur batteries hot for effective hybrid-locomotive operation!  (The ASE used 1580 degrees F out with only 355 degrees drop through the exchanger, I believe with NaF and ZrF4 as comoderators and some ThF4 in the fuel)
 
Incidentally, the ARE, as early as 1954, produced output up to about 2.5MW, which depending on how the heat gets used might translate into a meaningful locomotive power density, at least in first-generation-diesel terms. 
 
A chief advantage of the MSR is that the Xenon will be removed from the core, important as Xenon is the main reason light water reactors aren't very good at load following.
 
Ah ... isn't this a bit like the 'argument' why the canonical thorium cycles are relatively 'diversion-proof'?
 
What do you propose to DO with the Xe135 coming out of the fuel circulation?  On a locomotive that conforms to Plate C?
 
(For those unfamiliar with what this is about, the isotope xenon-135 is one of the uranium fission products, with a half-life of about 9.2hr, that is a colossally effective neutron moderator.  If allowed to build up it 'poisons' a nuclear chain reaction, requiring lots and lots of additional neutrons to be generated to maintain reactivity ... but then as it decays in the slowed-down core its moderation drops off (initially 'unexpectedly', in the large reactors at Hanford) and things start coming back to life.)
 
So yes, you want to strip it out, and NO, even though it's a noble gas you don't want to pass it quietly out into the atmosphere and hope no one will notice or figure it out (as actually happened at one point during the TMI incident).  How would you propose to collect and sequester it?
 
The other potentially-volatile fission products that might come off the fuel at operating temperature are easier to deal with ... I think.  Would you or I trust 'typical' railroad maintenance facilities with the systems involved, though?
 
I'd be interested to see if the coated-particle graphite-matrix fuel developments would translate into a modern small-dimension molten-salt reactor design.  Would we want a graphite moderating matrix in the reaction core to help things along, as in the MSRE in the '60s?
  • Member since
    October 2008
  • From: Calgary
  • 1,901 posts
Posted by cx500 on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 5:54 PM

Erik_Mag
Quick aside to Heinlein's "Blowups Happen": Two things that he got seriously wrong were.....

That is why the older science fiction stories are a fascinating glimpse of how in the past folks viewed the then current developing technology.  Other stories foresaw the powerful computers to come, but did not predict the miniaturization that now puts way more power in your smart phone than in the room sized mainframes of not many years ago.

  • Member since
    September 2013
  • 5,346 posts
Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 6:50 PM

Well Dick Tracy had that video/ phone wristwatch! 

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 326 posts
Posted by Erik_Mag on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 9:39 PM

cx500

       Erik_Mag

Quick aside to Heinlein's "Blowups Happen": Two things that he got seriously wrong were.....

That is why the older science fiction stories are a fascinating glimpse of how in the past folks viewed the then current developing technology.

Exactly.

For what it is worth, I think Heinlein did an incredible job with "Blowups Happen", where the plant in the story is mostly recognizable as a nuclear generating station. The major part of the story was how to control a reactor without delayed neutrons (which probably not have been discovered at the time he wrote the story) and he came up with a means that could have worked.

 

NDG
  • Member since
    December 2013
  • 1,308 posts
Posted by NDG on Thursday, May 16, 2019 4:48 AM

 

More interesting data.

Thank You.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 10,039 posts
Posted by Overmod on Thursday, May 16, 2019 7:46 AM

Erik_Mag
For what it is worth, I think Heinlein did an incredible job with "Blowups Happen", where the plant in the story is mostly recognizable as a nuclear generating station. The major part of the story was how to control a reactor without delayed neutrons (which probably not have been discovered at the time he wrote the story) and he came up with a means that could have worked.

George O Smith (who I think deserves far more recognition than he seems to get these days) famously noted that he and other authors correctly, as it turned out, could figure out how fission worked by the size and shape of the "hole" that occurred in published research on nuclear fission after the early '40s.  In between Chadwick's discovery of the neutron circa 1932 and the flurry of recognition of Hahn and Strassmann's results, quite a bit of work was done on the essentials of how fission would work, and Leo Szilard, while early to recognize (and patent, by 1934) that prompt fission could liberate far more energy in chain reaction than, say, Wells could with canadum in 1914, was far from the only person following the implications (I think from Ida Noddack and Dempster on, though I don't know firsthand who figured out what in the mid-Thirties) that it was fairly obvious that some uranium nuclei could actually be split with neutron capture and release a relatively large amount of nuclear binding energy in the process.

At least one author got a fairly quick visit from the FBI (I don't remember now whether it was actually Smith or just that he was telling the story; sorry!) when he extrapolated 'what worked' from what stopped being discussed in the physics literature, particularly with respect to U235 vs. 238 and slow neutrons.  It is not too far a deduction from the existence of nuclear decay chains to get to delayed neutron flux, for example.  (But also very famously, ignorance of the (n,2n) reaction in lithium-7 under substantial 'enough' neutron flux was also overlooked, by a far more experienced group of people, with interesting consequences.  I'm inclined to be forgiving of an author who thought the prompt flux would matter more than the delayed in high-flux reaction control for power generation -- for the record, Heinlein's story as written is provided and discussed briefly here.

By the way, a little contemporary humor about a certain figure involved in the practical development of some of the physics here; see how long it takes you to guess who it is:

http://ww3.haverford.edu/physics-astro/songs/roberts/money.mp3

 

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 326 posts
Posted by Erik_Mag on Thursday, May 16, 2019 2:14 PM

I don't remember if Blowups Happen was written in 1940 or 1941, this was either before or about the time that the blackout on fission research was voluntarily imposed. As I wrote earlier, Heinlein's description of the power plant was a very reasonable guess unlike most descriptions of computers up until the 1960's.

My recollection was the 235U versus 238U was proposed by Bohr and Wheeler in 1939. The author who got the visit from the FBI was Cleve Cartmill for his 1944 short story, which wasn't that good. Funnily enough, Heinlein was only a factor of two high on his estimate of the yield from fissioning 2.5 tons of Uranium.

As for (n,2n) reactions in 7Li - Castle Bravo. On a related note, one of the last things that my dad's ship did when he was in the USN, was sweep the mines around Eniwetok in preparation for Operation Crossroads.

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 3,246 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, May 16, 2019 6:51 PM

The best "Visit from the FBI" story I've ever heard concerns Milton Caniff.  Rmember him?  The guy who did the "Terry and the Pirates" comic strip, followed by "Steve Canyon?"

Well, during WW2 Caniff drew a "Terry" strip which featured Northrop's new P-61 night fighter, the "Black Widow."  Several days later there was a knock on the door and when Caniff answered it there were two very stern G-Men standing there.

One showed him the strip and asked WHERE he found out about this new fighter plane that was still classified "secret."

"Jeez," he said, "How was I to know the thing's secret, the damn things are flying over my house every day!"

Sure enough, as if on cue, two P-61's made a low pass over Caniffs neighborhood while the G-Men watched.

"Never mind," one said.  "Just don't draw them again until the news about 'em is released, OK?"   

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy