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Beirut Explosion, so what was it?

The standard demonstration of dust explosions used to use lycopodium powder (which were actually the spores of the club moss fern..) in a biscuit tin*. In the tin you had a candle and a small funnel attached to a length of rubber tubing which led out of the tin. A tablespoon of Lycopodium was put in the funnel, the candle was lit and the lid replaced..

You then blew down the tubing causing a loud flash and bang, and blowing the lid off the tin.. IKYN this was the standard school demo back in the day...!

* not the modern flat biscuit tin you see these days. We are talking here about the old commercial biscuit tins which were about 30x30x40cm made out of quite thick tinplate..

Edited to add... some more interesting stuff about Lycopodium! Its main use seems to be to demonstrate dust explosions, although it is/was used to dust rubber gloves and condoms...

Who Knew! - be careful out there!


When I started working in the Middle East the only safety training I got was (a) watching a film of a custard powder explosion and (b) being told "watch out for the detonators. Handle them carefully and don't go near them if the windspeed gets above 20mph".

That was it. The HSE lay a long way in the future.

I added a third for my successor: (c) don't touch the dynamite without gloves or you will get a blinding headache".
 

HE117

LE
Jackie Ack the Plastic Chemist got her dreamtime hat on again eh?

I made it 638 myself!

I made it 636......

...honest...see I've got it written down on this fag packet:razz:
 
Seriously, that's a bomber command WW2 raid on the Reich numbers. Think how many 1000 pounders that would be in terms of HE filler. No wonder the place got trashed.
 
For the benefit of those of us who use SI units, what's that in decibels?
 
Jackie Ack the Plastic Chemist got her dreamtime hat on again eh?

I made it 638 myself!

She probably rounded down, whereas you rounded up.
 
Seriously, that's a bomber command WW2 raid on the Reich numbers. Think how many 1000 pounders that would be in terms of HE filler. No wonder the place got trashed.

Seeing as my brain seems to be functioning this morning; some quick fag packet maths:

638 tonnes = 1,406,549 lbs.

According to Wiki a Mk. 83 bomb has the nominal weight of 1000 lbs. Of that 454 lbs is tritonal HE.

Therefore: 1,406,549 / 454 = 3,098.1255.

Can't have part of a bomb so rounded up it is 3,099.

Therefore; explosives wise it was the equivelent of 3099 one thousand pound bombs all being daisy chained and set off at the same time.

Or,

The Lancaster bomber could carry 33,100 lbs worth of bombs.

Explosive value / Lancaster capacity = number of Lancaster equivalents

1,406,509 / 33,100 = 42.49

The same as 42.49 Lancaster dropping their full load accurately on the Beirut Port area.
 
Seeing as my brain seems to be functioning this morning; some quick fag packet maths:

638 tonnes = 1,406,549 lbs.

According to Wiki a Mk. 83 bomb has the nominal weight of 1000 lbs. Of that 454 lbs is tritonal HE.

Therefore: 1,406,549 / 454 = 3,098.1255.

Can't have part of a bomb so rounded up it is 3,099.

Therefore; explosives wise it was the equivelent of 3099 one thousand pound bombs all being daisy chained and set off at the same time.

Or,

The Lancaster bomber could carry 33,100 lbs worth of bombs.

Explosive value / Lancaster capacity = number of Lancaster equivalents

1,406,509 / 33,100 = 42.49

The same as 42.49 Lancaster dropping their full load accurately on the Beirut Port area.
Best you go sharpen those pencils in case you're unable to write the train engine number down next time you go spotting ;-)
 
Seeing as my brain seems to be functioning this morning; some quick fag packet maths:

638 tonnes = 1,406,549 lbs.

According to Wiki a Mk. 83 bomb has the nominal weight of 1000 lbs. Of that 454 lbs is tritonal HE.

Therefore: 1,406,549 / 454 = 3,098.1255.

Can't have part of a bomb so rounded up it is 3,099.

Therefore; explosives wise it was the equivelent of 3099 one thousand pound bombs all being daisy chained and set off at the same time.

Or,

The Lancaster bomber could carry 33,100 lbs worth of bombs.

Explosive value / Lancaster capacity = number of Lancaster equivalents

1,406,509 / 33,100 = 42.49

The same as 42.49 Lancaster dropping their full load accurately on the Beirut Port area.
42.49 kamikaze Lancasters crashing simultaneously on a football pitch.
 
Seeing as my brain seems to be functioning this morning; some quick fag packet maths:

638 tonnes = 1,406,549 lbs.

According to Wiki a Mk. 83 bomb has the nominal weight of 1000 lbs. Of that 454 lbs is tritonal HE.

Therefore: 1,406,549 / 454 = 3,098.1255.

Can't have part of a bomb so rounded up it is 3,099.

Therefore; explosives wise it was the equivelent of 3099 one thousand pound bombs all being daisy chained and set off at the same time.

Or,

The Lancaster bomber could carry 33,100 lbs worth of bombs.

Explosive value / Lancaster capacity = number of Lancaster equivalents

1,406,509 / 33,100 = 42.49

The same as 42.49 Lancaster dropping their full load accurately on the Beirut Port area.

Altho normal load was a lot less - you'd run out of hangers for the bombs and I don't recall them going over 22k ( Grand Slam ?)
Assume we used 8000 lb cookies at one per lanc plus 4x 1000 lbrs give us 12k effective weight ( lot less in terms of filler )
That's triple the no. of lancs - 127 of the beggars rough figures.

Where do I claim my anorak ?
 
Jackie Ack the Plastic Chemist got her dreamtime hat on again eh?

I made it 638 myself!

You know very well explosive estimates are in kilograms.

Do it again and double check the postcode.
 

Ritch

LE
An article from the Beeb. A team from Sheffield University studied the blast and say it was 1/20th of Hiroshima. One of the biggest non-nuclear explosions, ever.

 

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