FOGBANK

Fogbank is a code name given to a secret material used in the W76, W78 and W88 nuclear warheads

It had to be reverse engineered by NNSA due to information loss since the cold war. It allegedly is insanely crucial for the compression of the fusion stage within thermonuclear weapons - it also transfers energy from primary to secondary stages. I wonder , however, what is in that material? It has always interested me.

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  1. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    You'd probably have more luck asking over at

    [...]

  2. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Fogbank is hilarious. A secret so thoroughly buried that it was lost to its inventors, a modern Lycurgus cup.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      honestly sounds more like an intelligence macguffin or just plain incompetence

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Considering it was a crucial part of our thermonuclear weapons and we just decided to forget out to produce it is honestly hilarious. The nuclear industry had a massive gap of knowledge after all the Manhattan project engineers retired in the 80s so it kind of makes sense. But comical nonetheless

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        > just plain incompetence
        The exact opposite actually. One of the material advancements made in the intervening years made a certain ingredient in FOGBANK able to be made more pure. But it turns out that the impurities are what made it work.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Which means the science they did was wrong and they didnt actually solve it, and because some scientists thought they were too smart and didnt need to write it down it ended up forgotten

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Secrets are not my concern.
        Keeping them is.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      it happens more often than you think, even with non secret stuff. people forget to document something, a sprinkler soaks a filing cabinet, offices move and files get lost, the guy that did the work retired, etc.
      >t. worked on lost-knowledge projects for a national lab.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        it happens in all sorts of fields you wouldnt expect it to. Geology is full of documentation for structures or zoning that you can find notes referencing past work, but good luck ever finding copies of said work.

        https://i.imgur.com/1XX8p4r.jpeg

        [...]
        Yeah honestly this happens in every single small/medium sized factory thats been running for more then a generation.

        I've seen it repeatedly in my field as well. The thing is with complex manufacturing, it's not just a material formula or whatever, it's EVERYTHING that goes from "raw inputs" to "final output within specifications". Particularly in the past, most production involves a shockingly high amount of what is vaguely terms "institutional knowledge", stuff that isn't written down or in some cases even can't be written down because it's just pure skill, "weld this exactly until it looks like that", which is passed down from the guys who figured it out to the next. It's the specific usage, tuning and maintenance of the machines, the specific inputs and sometimes their impurities, the machines that make the machines, all sorts of stuff. Break that chain and it can be super hard to redo.

        Also, we almost always design stuff for the capabilities we have at the time.
        >"Engineering is the art of the possible"
        and all that. Fast forward a few decades, and yeah we may have improved in lots of ways but we may actually have reduced capabilities in others because nothing else uses it anymore. Nobody designing from scratch would design around that, they'd design around the new processes instead. The web of manufacturing, and even the structure of society has shifted around.

        And this is ignoring just flatout lack of documentation or throwing it away, which happened WAY more then modern people used to effectively infinite data storage think. Used to just be standard practice in many cases to throw things or erase after some amount of time. And what if some subcontractor went bankrupt long since, did anyone try to preserve it? Often not.

        Saturn V F1 engines are a famous example. We couldn't just redo that today, even though we can build far superior engines in other ways.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        it happens in all sorts of fields you wouldnt expect it to. Geology is full of documentation for structures or zoning that you can find notes referencing past work, but good luck ever finding copies of said work.

        https://i.imgur.com/1XX8p4r.jpeg

        [...]
        Yeah honestly this happens in every single small/medium sized factory thats been running for more then a generation.

        https://i.imgur.com/aciz7AI.jpeg

        [...]
        [...]
        I've seen it repeatedly in my field as well. The thing is with complex manufacturing, it's not just a material formula or whatever, it's EVERYTHING that goes from "raw inputs" to "final output within specifications". Particularly in the past, most production involves a shockingly high amount of what is vaguely terms "institutional knowledge", stuff that isn't written down or in some cases even can't be written down because it's just pure skill, "weld this exactly until it looks like that", which is passed down from the guys who figured it out to the next. It's the specific usage, tuning and maintenance of the machines, the specific inputs and sometimes their impurities, the machines that make the machines, all sorts of stuff. Break that chain and it can be super hard to redo.

        Also, we almost always design stuff for the capabilities we have at the time.
        >"Engineering is the art of the possible"
        and all that. Fast forward a few decades, and yeah we may have improved in lots of ways but we may actually have reduced capabilities in others because nothing else uses it anymore. Nobody designing from scratch would design around that, they'd design around the new processes instead. The web of manufacturing, and even the structure of society has shifted around.

        And this is ignoring just flatout lack of documentation or throwing it away, which happened WAY more then modern people used to effectively infinite data storage think. Used to just be standard practice in many cases to throw things or erase after some amount of time. And what if some subcontractor went bankrupt long since, did anyone try to preserve it? Often not.

        Saturn V F1 engines are a famous example. We couldn't just redo that today, even though we can build far superior engines in other ways.

        I know that this isn't anywhere near as relevant
        But my family runs a publishing house we keep 3 off every book we publish and there are frick tons of books we published we no longer have a copy off and at least one of them didn't get properly catalogued by the national library so there isn't reference copy off it available at all.
        Someone sends one off to a client or a reference, a author didn't get a copy or wants an other one, some one take one home to read, you move some stuff and poof you've lost 3 books you could kill someone with.
        the number of print files we've lost that are stored on both our pc's, storage server, the graphic designer's pc and the printers server is insane

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      it happens in all sorts of fields you wouldnt expect it to. Geology is full of documentation for structures or zoning that you can find notes referencing past work, but good luck ever finding copies of said work.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      honestly sounds more like an intelligence macguffin or just plain incompetence

      Yeah honestly this happens in every single small/medium sized factory thats been running for more then a generation.

  3. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    its genuinely not as complicated as you think it is. We don't have an incredibly detailed grasp of the physics of aerogels, so when a material like fogbank is created we don't know the exact physical details about why the process works. Often, workers will make minute adjustments to create a better end product and take rate that aren't recorded in any detail. Therefore when a material like this needs to be recreated, the process needs to involve a lot of trial and error to recreate the original.

  4. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    semi related: is the "roman concrete mystery" real or clickbait, I dont read past headlines

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      It's about as real as the damascus steel situation. There are many materials in history where we no longer have the exact recipe and methodologies used in their creation, and so to recreate THAT exact thing would take a ridiculous luck of trial and error to get the idiosyncrasies of the process exactly correct. It doesn't really matter, though, and there's no money in it because modern materials science has obviously produced vastly more effective products in the centuries since that specific knowledge was lost. Many things are lost to institutional decay, only a select few truly enduring or important inventions will really survive unmolested by forgetfulness or neglect into the working knowledge of future generations.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        swag thanks for the QRD

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Fun fact: we know how to make Damascus steel again. Or rather, they never forgot. It just turns out that “Damascus steel” turned out to be the same thing as something else.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Are you sure you're not thinking of pattern welding? Because Damascus steel has carbon nanotubes somehow.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        I met a material scientist in rehab that worked at Oak Ridge - that poor man spent his whole live working on fuel injector ceramics for GM. He had some interesting stories about the cordoned off places though.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      it relied on an undocumented impurity introduced by the old, less precise process. the new process was too clean and didn't introduce it.

      pieces of lye in the mixture react with water to heal the cracks and prevent further water damage
      https://news.mit.edu/2023/roman-concrete-durability-lime-casts-0106

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >I dont read past headlines

      People like you should not reproduce

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      It's real, but largely irrelevant today. Romans did two things differently: they incorporated volcanic soils into the mix, which react with salt water to actually thicken and expand the concrete over time, and they used a lime-heavy mix, which meant that there were extra molecules spread throughout the concrete that could accept a water molecule that penetrated through a crack and sort-of "heal" that crack.

      Roman concrete was better than anything available until the development of... "Roman" cement (a trade name, no relation) in the late 1700s, which was itself superseded by Portland cement a few years later. The secrets of Roman concrete were largely solved several years ago, and outside of some rare edge cases like building concrete structures in seawater, there actually wasn't much to be gained from it compared to what the Industrial Revolution had already given us.

      It's about as real as the damascus steel situation. There are many materials in history where we no longer have the exact recipe and methodologies used in their creation, and so to recreate THAT exact thing would take a ridiculous luck of trial and error to get the idiosyncrasies of the process exactly correct. It doesn't really matter, though, and there's no money in it because modern materials science has obviously produced vastly more effective products in the centuries since that specific knowledge was lost. Many things are lost to institutional decay, only a select few truly enduring or important inventions will really survive unmolested by forgetfulness or neglect into the working knowledge of future generations.

      Likewise, the production quality of steel blades probably exceeded that of Damascus in the Late Middle Ages/early Renaissance, and the late 1800s alone saw so many advances as to make any steel developed beforehand almost quaint compared to new, high-end techniques. That's not to say that Damascus isn't superior to cheap modern steels, of course; it depends on what qualities you're looking for.

  5. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >It had to be reverse engineered by NNSA due to information loss since the cold war.
    More like: they had to reinvent Fogbank because the original instruction didn't work. It turns out that the original Fogbank recipe was wrong (incomplete) all the time and required of an impure ingredient only available when it was developed. The newer Fogbank with ingredients of higher purity didn't work as well so they spent million/billion dollars to know why.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      whats the point of going through all that effort just to make bombs with orders of magnitude less yield than you did in the 50s and 60s

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Modern peanut-nukes are small and fission-fusion efficient. The almost-definitive nuke.
        1950-1960s bombs were heavy, fission-fusion efficient or small and inefficient. Large nukes were almost useless and impossible to deliver nowadays.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          inefficient is good it leaves behind lots of radiation

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            No moron. For a nuke yield is proportional to fallout. Inefficient means less radiation.

            • 4 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              yield has nothing to due with fallout. Fallout mostly comes from ground detonations. A 30KT ground burst will have more fallout then a 300kt air burst

              • 4 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                > A 30KT ground burst will have more fallout then a 300kt air burs
                Under the same circumstances the bomb with higher yield is worse.

            • 4 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              No, its the amount of uranium, plutonium, and bomb shell casing that gets immediately irradiated in the first nano-seconds of an explosion that is the radioactive part. 0.2 kt primaries don't generate much radiation.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            But then the blast radius effects are greatly reduced if it produces a lot of radiation. then you just stay inside while it snows radiation in the local area for a few hours, further limiting casualties.

            • 4 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              >a few hours
              you can make bombs that can give you a lethal dose of radiation after an hour of exposure 5 years after detonation

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >inefficient is good it leaves behind lots of radiation

            Depends on who you are fighting. If you are fighting a peer with the ability to nuke you back (USA vs USSR), then your goal is to decapitate them in a strike so they can't launch back. Radiation is meaningless in for that because it's a long-term killer. You need destructive power.

            If you want to just make some not-peer's cities uninhabitable, then you need to ask "why?" You're not fighting an existential threat. The geopolitical cost would be extremely high and not worth it.

            • 4 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              >Play civ
              >Get nuke
              >Nuke neighbors for their uranium/oil
              >Everybody else mad at me
              Should have thought of it first, crybabies

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Missile defenses.

        A megaton class thermonuclear warhead is easy to track and shoot down due to its size.

        A w87/88 style warhead with penetration aids mounted on an ICBM? Not so much. However, nuclear war has become much easier to survive given that

        >Nuclear winters last weeks, like forest fire haze.
        >Nuclear fallout if minimal from the thermonuclear class warheads
        >Sheltering in a conventional basement and lying on the floor will protect you up to being very close to the fireball, like an F5 tornado. Then you leave the house and move away from the fireball after the shockwave passes.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          fallout if minimal from the thermonuclear class warheads
          3 stage warheads. Google it.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Don't do it, lads. It's just a recipe for mustard gas.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >nuclear winter
          >existing even with 1980's stockpiles

          lmao

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >what is in that material? It has always interested me.

          Ovaltine.

          Ground bursts and inefficient fuel use = muh sustained radiation. Suboptimal for delivering the maximum damage (requires airburst). Nuclear Winter was expressly pushed by the Soviets to declaw Western resolve with peacenik pearl clutching.

          For the extensive QRD:

          https://archive.org/details/onthermonuclearw0000kahn

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >Suboptimal for delivering the maximum damage (requires airburst).
            This deserves major qualifiers though anon if we're being honest. Airburst optimized for counter-value (so maybe 5psi over pressure), yeah that reduces fallout enormously.

            But if you're going for counter FORCE, which is base US 1st strike doctrine for example, then it's assumed you're going up against heavily hardened targets like missile silos, nuclear rated aircraft shelters etc. You need more like 200psi to reliably take out a nuke silo. That's still not a groundburst per se, optimal remains somewhat elevated (hence where superfuses come in) but it's close enough the fireball will touch the ground, so it's still producing significant fallout.

            Granted for that reason in part we build our silos way the frick away from everything. But there are air bases closer, and at any rate that'd still make plenty of (granted, mostly desert) areas shitty for a long while and we could get unlucky with the wind. There'd definitely be detectably more cancer for the next hundred years, same as with ground atmospheric testing.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        when the numbers were crunched, it became obvious that a large number of small yield warheads was far superior to a smaller number of large yield warheads. You can hit more targets, enemy needs to intercept more warheads, less unwanted collateral/fallout, more efficient explosions, cheaper, simpler. And I'm sure there's even more benefits I couldn't remember. Most deployed warheads are in the 300kt - 1.2mt range even though we've made 25-50mt monsters.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        power-to-weight ratio

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >why not only make frickhuge 25Mt nukes?
        Besides what everyone else has already explained about many small nukes being more effective than one big nuke:

        1. You want warheads that are small enough to fit many on a single ICBM (or one warhead on whatever smaller short-to-mid-range delivery mechanism you choose). Size matters.

        2. When tactical nukes are used against you, you're going to want the tactical nuke response as an option. Going full strategic countervalue strike should never be your only option. Dial-a-yield is the gold standard.

        3. In a tactical nuke scenario you want to avoid collaterally frying or irradiating your own guys and infrastructure. Megaton+ nukes typically don't give you that option when the enemy is close enough.

  6. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    naquadah

  7. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Aerogel

    It's purpose is to focus the x-rays from the first stage on to the second stage

  8. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    It's made of literal fog

  9. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Data integrity has always been tough, but I'd argue its probably gotten even worse since the advent of electronic storage for a lot of things. Anything from making a component to operating some machinery often never ends up in hard copy and just exists as some kind of file squirreled away on an obsolete computer in a file format with no software support for the last 30 years.
    Unless its regularly updated and maintained, there's a good chance whole libraries worth of important shit can disappear in a generation or two before we even realised we needed it

  10. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    A lot of these things were made with imperfect manufacturing process, which introduces impurity. And somehow the impurity was the key component for the material

  11. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    FOGBANK is aerogel and here is a video how you can make it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeJ9q45PfD0

  12. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Well iirc the original H bombs used polystyrene foam as the plasma material so it can be inferred that it's something similar to that but much better that's much more space efficient.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Probably a polymer aerogel that has similar properties to expanded polystyrene. I've actually heard from what I would think would be credible sources that FOGBANK is far less important that what everyone believes it to be for channeling X-rays for radiation ablation. Allegedly, it's primary function is for a support structure for warhead components with being helpful to facilitate downstream x-ray compression a secondary function. Who actually knows, because none of us here have a Sigma clearance where we would actually know (and surely wouldn't be posting about it on 4chins)

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        the cia is actually completely terrible at covering up tangible truths, they're just extremely good at turning phrases and words that would otherwise be descriptive into nonsense.

        aerogel was shilled so fricking heavily when i was a kid, it's on a level near unfathomable for someone that didn't grow up reading print mediums. its a material nobody really wants or needs, with ridiculous claims made about its capabilities, put into every pop science magazine and educational book since the 80s about how its going to 'change the world' and like obviously its not one of those technologies because it was developed at great expense to do something 40 years ago and the primary use for aerogel is still educational youtube videos.

        fogbank is just aerogel. it's probably a specific kind of aerogel, sure, but putting aerogel in the public consciousness in the first place right when they put the money into re-developing fogbank is... well... there's the enchilada, my guy. they didn't even hide it.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Its used as insulation in industrial settings nowadays, where its cost is meaningless relative to the savings it gives.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >fogbank is just aerogel
          That's like saying a state of the art 3nm chip is "just patterned dirty silicon on metal". There's kind of a fricking lot that goes into the patterning and the right kind of dirtying (impurities) in the silicon, to the extent that a single fab costs over $10 billion.

  13. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    The lack of proper documentation for some very important things now is scary
    T.dude reviewing documentation in a critical industry

  14. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >It allegedly is insanely crucial for the compression of the fusion stage
    The implosion happens in the first stage with the fission bomb which is done via explosives wrapped around a core that will make it go critical upon compression from the explosion. The energy from that fission reaction is than used to make the hydrogen isotope conduct fusion due to the immense heat under fractions of a second. The idea of some super secret material being needed to do that sounds like some CIA psyop.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      The Teller-Ulam design uses radiation, not heat, to trigger fusion.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        The radiation that is used is X-ray radiation. The only material that you would use for fusion would be something that could bounce the x-ray's to maximize its effect on the hydrogen. Which could be something basic like lead, I doubt you would need some super duper uber secret material for that. Shit, it could even be something like Styrofoam or that tempur pedic "don't spill wine while jumping on the bed" material could be it.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Lead doesn't reflect X-rays, moron.

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          It could literally be beryllium infused polystyrene. The special thing could be as simple as the foaming agent, which provides the uniformity of voids in whatever your polymer of choice is. Pentane is a popular one.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >It could literally be beryllium infused polystyrene.

            I think it is a beryllium aerogel to reflect neutrons away from the core until the implosion completes. Maybe it also has some kinda borated plastic also to absorb neutrons, and other weird shit too, to be self-healing as other poster alluded to.

            • 4 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              What do the Russians use as the x-ray channeling interstage in their warheads?

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      I think the material (and the inside geometry) may play a role by ensuring the X-rays from the primary arrive at the secondary roughly at the same time, thus leading to an uniform pressure distribution and a proper compression. I believe this is a key requirement in the Ulam-Teller design and probably one of its greatest secrets.

  15. 4 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    tech industry is full of this. lot of old software, even like videogames or something that were super popular and people would love to have modern ports/updates of? can't cuz back in the 90s they'd just toss all the source code and assets onto whatever in a closet.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      the thing people dont understand about source code is that you have to compile it and if you're talking about a video game console from like 25 years ago then the source code is going to rely on middleware and build tools that are 25 years out of date and difficult to find documentation for especially if the built tools or SDK were intellectual property of the publisher

      i had a hell of a time trying to compile old 25 year old quake mods because of the minute differences in quakec code and how compilers read it - and quakec is functionally a modern engine without machine code or specific hardware implementations. imagine trying to do that for like, sega saturn games. i dont even know where i would frickin start

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