When weapon conceptors recognize using non-depleted uranium as a reactive material in missiles

US patent 7191709 for a composite reactive projectile and the identical US patent 7194961 clearly differenciate between “uranium” and “depleted uranium”.

Depleted uranium, in these designs, is used for the ballast in the middle of the missile, for flight stability. Uranium, however, is used for the reactive material. Reactive materials are a way to increase lethality of the missile by “up to a factor of five” according to weapons makers. Indeed they introduce oxydation at the explosion of the missile. This means pyrophoricity. It has been acknowledged that combustion of uranium weapons produces temperatures of up to 5000°C.

To quote both patents, from the US Navy,

As is known in the art, reactive composite materials generally include particles or powdered forms of one or more reactive metals, one or more oxidizers, and typically some binder materials. The reactive metals can include aluminum, beryllium, hafnium, lithium, magnesium, thorium, titanium, uranium, zirconium, as well as combinations, alloys and hydrides thereof

As you can see, nowhere it is mentioned “depleted” uranium, but only “uranium”, demonstrating thus that this uranium is not intended to be depleted.

But it is interesting to have here, clearly, confirmation that uranium for reactive materials is not depleted. See links above and research by Dr. Asaf Durakovic who demonstrated that the uranium found in Iraq is more radioactive than depleted uranium.

Another older patent for an armor-piercing incendiary projectile mentions the use of uranium without calling it “depleted “uranium”, it seems the same conclusions can be drawn from it.

It perfectly makes sense in this context that some weapons have actually been designed with plutonium and by knowing that, anyway, ALL these weapons use NUCLEAR FISSION and thus do NOT need the addition of any incendiary material. Nuclear fission involves the use of non depleted uranium (little tips of highly enriched uranium compressed at the impact to increase density and reduce critical mass), hence very likely the actual explanation of these patents. 🙂

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18 comments

  1. […] it is for the metal to take fire when it is submitted to an explosion, that’s pyrophoricity). The patent clearly underlines the uranium used in the reactive material is not depleted. Laboratory samplings by Christopher Busby in Lebanon and Iraq have demonstrated that the uranium […]

  2. […] But no one ever dared to pretend that this pyrophoric uranium would be depleted of its isotope 235 ! Except those who want us to believe the uranium used is depleted. And people believe them (dozens of very committed militants all around the Web). « See, they will think it’s innocuous ». And they are actually writing that, for instance, in many weapon patents ! Except these ones. […]

  3. A chemist you are not. You correctly observe that uranium was mentioned as one of the potential elements used, but your connection to that being anything other than depleted-U is desperate, if not with intention to mislead. Equally as bad is your flawed science in thinking that the chemical properties are any different between 235U and 238U. Pyrophoricity is a chemical property…radioactivity is a nuclear property…no need to confuse people by attempting to connect the two.

    From reading your articles, I cannot tell if you actually believe your flawed chemistry, or if you know the truth and are intentionally misleading your subscribers in order to push an agenda. I hope it’s the former. And making sense of using plutonium for the same purpose? Do you realize how much this stuff costs? My understanding is that plutonium would make a better material for this use because it is more chemically reactive that uranium, but not at the cost of such a material. I know that the use of depleted-U makes for less interesting headlines, but you need to stick to the truth here and not allow emotions to alter yours and your readers perceived reality.

  4. A chemist you are not. You correctly observe that uranium was mentioned as one of the potential elements used, but your connection to that being anything other than depleted-U is desperate, if not with intention to mislead. Equally as bad is your flawed science in thinking that the chemical properties are any different between 235U and 238U. Pyrophoricity is a chemical property…radioactivity is a nuclear property…no need to confuse people by attempting to connect the two.

    From reading your articles, I cannot tell if you actually believe your flawed chemistry, or if you know the truth and are intentionally misleading your subscribers in order to push an agenda. I hope it’s the former. And making sense of using plutonium for the same purpose? Do you realize how much this stuff costs? My understanding is that plutonium would make a better material for this use because it is more chemically reactive that uranium, but not at the cost of such a material. I know that the use of depleted-U makes for less interesting headlines, but you need to stick to the truth here and not allow emotions to alter yours and your readers perceived reality.

  5. If you simply take a look at the PATENTS of reactive materials for missiles I have quoted you see they clearly do NOT refer to “depleted” uranium but simply to “uranium” when it comes to the reactive part of the design. They refer to “depleted uranium” for the elongated structure of the weapon. This is a sign you can be confident in. Since depleted uranium is cheaper than non depleted uranium, they would have indicated one can use it for the reactive material if it were possible to use it. They do not. Furthermore, as explained in my last article, you find zero academic sources regarding depleted uranium pyrophoricity. Articles were written regarding uranium pyrophoricity but not regarding depleted uranium pyrophoricity. Lastly the reports that concern plutonium use come from sources that look reliable : the Pakistanese army is likely to brag about every weapon it creates, and how is it possible for someone to ask a question about a plutonium bullet in Jane’s (along with one uranium bullet, so there’s a difference, he’s not confusing it) that would not exist ?

  6. By the way : the production cost of plutonium is about 40 000$ / kilogram according to Charpak, Garwin and Journé 2005 (a book called “De Tchernobyl en Tchernobyls”, in French), that’s not so much
    (and 20 000$/kg for highly enriched U)

  7. I am not doubting what you’ve read or what you’ve quoted…I’m doubting the conclusion you jumped to. A chemist, speaking about the chemical properties of an element (in this case, specifically the pyrophoric properties), would have no need to mention the different isotopes of a particular element. Regarding chemical properties, uranium is uranium, and there’s no reason to mention natural, depleted, enriched in 235U, or 233U. To a person interested in pyrophoric properties, uranium is simply uranium, and he/she doesn’t care about the isotopic content.

    When speaking to its use in weapons systems (such as depleted uranium projectiles), we purposely include the word “depleted” so that we do not lead others to believe that we’re using anything resembling reactor fuel or weapons material. It a practice of careful wording and, in what you’ve quoted, that care was not taken. But this does not mean you should imply that the author meant something other than depleted. Instead, you should pull on a foundation of chemistry or physics and discern what is reality here. Your talk of how alpha decay adds heat, and accelerates pyrophoricity is made up science…not a bit of truth in it. Based on this alone, I concluded that you have a background in neither physics nor chemistry.

    As far as the plutonium projectiles, I cannot speak to what countries other than the US utilize. Plutonium has chemical properties more attractive than uranium with respect to pyrophoricity, so the science is there to make a case for its use. They would not need to use weapons grade Pu, however, but plutonium is still plutonium and I can’t imagine someone bold enough to use it in an incendiary round.

  8. As I said one chemist met in a metallurgy laboratory of the Lille University confirmed to me the idea that the presence of 235U helps to break the “barrier of potential” one has to break to get combustion. Because, as he said, heating (to get spontaneous combustion) is not enough, you need something more. That’s what is brought by the alpha radioactivity of 235U. He was very adamant on the fact that depleted uranium alone would not burn spontaneously even when heated.
    Besides, you can find no publication, no experiment about depleted uranium pyrophoricity, while this “phenomena” has been highly publicized (this should have encouraged experiment if researchers believed it was possible – I found one experiment, for a depleted U calorimeter, and at 500 degrees C for one hour a thin plate does not burn – that’s quite contradictory with reports of self combustion of dust at AMBIENT temperatures under experimental combustion, but it’s not depleted U dust) and I insist on the fact that the patent I am quoting is clearly separating “uranium” from “depleted uranium” (both appear in separate occurences) so that’s not a mistake. They are doing it voluntarily !

  9. I know a thin plate is no dust, but the plate was very thin and was heated in a flame at 500 degrees C for a full hour ! It should have taken fire ! Look up in my articles I have pasted a link to it several times.

  10. Okay, so let’s say that you are correct, that it’s not depleted-U, and we take it to be exactly what you quoted…”uranium.” As you stated in one of your other posts, uranium (without being labeled depleted or enriched) is 99.3% 238U and 0.7% 235U (in comparison, depleted-U is a minimum of 99.7% 238U, making it 0.3% or less 235U).

    What is your concern about it being the natural isotopic composition between 238/235 instead of depleted-U? What hazard does using uranium have over depleted-U? And why should people care?

  11. Well first this confirms work by Christopher Busby and other researchers who tested out soil and hair in Iraq and Lebanon and found traces of moderately enriched uranium : about 1,2% of enrichment (see for instance here : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3177876/ ). These studies have been heavily attacked by people like the ICBUW and I think it is making justice of it to show the importance of the presence of 235U for the pyrophoric reaction to appear.
    Secondly, I am convinced that the more 235U there is, the more powerful the oxydation reaction. This is obvious. And temperature reached during explosion of uranium bombs is known to reach 5000°C.

  12. Another chemist also confirmed to me that use of more radioactive isotopes increases flammability. The explanation is quite simple in fact : a rise in temperature of 10 deg C accelerates by a factor of 2 to 4 any chemical reaction.

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