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Homework answers / question archive / Energy release from an explosion, The eminent British fluid dynamicist G

Energy release from an explosion, The eminent British fluid dynamicist G. I. Taylor deduced the energy release E from the first atomic explosion simply by dimensional analysis. This was strictly classified information, but Taylor showed that those well versed in dimensional analysis have access to such confidential information! A shock wave of radius R is produced by the explosion and R increases as a function of time, t. Taylor showed that R = CE1/5t 2/5ρ−1/5 Verify his result, which was based on dimensionless analysis. The energy release was classified information but from the pictures of the explosion R vs. t could be plotted on a log–log scale and the plot should have a slope of 2/5. The estimate of the energy release can then be obtained from the intercept of this graph. Taylor assumed the constant C above to be nearly one (this value was based on a similar model problem) and estimated the energy release. His estimate was in close agreement with the classified value.