View Full Version : I heard somewhere that bolt rounds have a U-238 [depleted uranium] core...

08-05-2005, 16:12
Is this true and if so why do they have U-238 cores?

Rabid Bunny 666
08-05-2005, 16:18
its deuterium or something and it helps DA BOOM!

08-05-2005, 16:23
So, it's not U-238, and it's an explosive?

Rabid Bunny 666
08-05-2005, 16:25
i honestly dont remember, it was depleted deuterium, any flufflords know?

08-05-2005, 16:26
i don't recall exactly but i know water would have worked better?

Morgan Keyes
08-05-2005, 16:34
Well I see something here in IA2's Ammunition appendix saying "depleted deuterium", which is funny since it's stated it's there for a dense core to the round. Problem is, deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen and a very low atomic weight. Good stuff (the theory goes) for fusion generation and reaction mass, but certainly not for an armor-piercing core.

I'd suggest just mentally replacing "deuterium" with "uranium" or another heavy metal when reading.

08-05-2005, 16:34
Water?!? Water isn't an explosive!

08-05-2005, 16:49
I think he means water is heavier so would give the round more punch to get through armour.

Brother Munro
08-05-2005, 16:52
GW thought 'depleted deuterium' sounded cool. However it is infact either hydrogen or a neutron (depending on what you deplete) which is fairly useless. Bolter shells are supposed to explode inside you and the core is supposed to be an explosive, so a conventional explosive is more likely. It is possible some bolter shells use depleted uranium, but that is mainly for anti-tank capabilities.

On a side note U-238 is enriched uranium, depleted uranium is something else (U-234).

08-05-2005, 16:53
*Bangs head against wall*

Not this AGAIN!

OK, first of all, Deuterium is heavy hydrogen and is a stable isotope of hydrogen. You can make water with it.

Secondly, 'depleted' deuterium is nonsense. Uranium is 'depleted' as a byproduct when it has a lower-than-usual content of U-235 because it's been removed and concentrated. Deuterium IS the product that you want.

Thirdly, it makes no sense to put it in a projectile.

Fourthly, this passage is only so because whoever wrote it thought it sounded cool. It's nonsense.

And SonOfAbaddon - in answer to the original question, it's not uranium but deuterium, though uranium would actually make more sense.

08-05-2005, 16:54
U-238 is WAAAAAY heavier! One atom has 238 neutrons/protons, water has 8!

So, why deuterium? What's so great about it?

08-05-2005, 17:02

It's one part of the isotope mix used in terrestrial fusion reactors. However, fusion bolter shells are extremely unlikely given the Imperium's predominant level of plasma technology.

As such, it's still technobabble.

Brother Munro
08-05-2005, 17:03
Deuterium is not heavy water, it is H-2, ie a hydrogen atom with an additional neutron, though it is a component of 'heavy' water. There is no reason to put deuterium in a bullet unless you wanted to make a mini thermonuclear warhead, which would also require plutonium, and tritium is better anyway. To save time:

Depleted Uranium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depleted_uranium)

Enriched Uranium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enriched_uranium)

Normal Uranium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium)

Deuterium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deuterium)

08-05-2005, 17:12
So, it's total technobabble, designed to sound cool although it's totally impossible.

Well, that's cleared that up.

08-05-2005, 17:17
Unless it falls under the same category as Promethium, in which a pre-existing chemical (a metal from the bum end of the periodic table... element 61 from the Lanthanide series if my periodic table does not misslead me... has given up its name for generic hydrocarbon use.

09-05-2005, 09:07
I had this argument on this very forum about 6 months ago.

Both deuterium and promethium exist, and the uses they are attributed to in Wh40K are absolute nonsense, pure technobabble.

The fluff argument is that in the 41st millenium things have names not associated with the stuff we see today (thus 40k 'deuterium' may simply be the 40k word for uranium ;) ).

This is stupid and a thinly veiled attempt to cover oneself from a mega fau pax, but it works, albiet badly.


He Who Laughs
10-05-2005, 08:48
There are other examples of this too - did anyone else pick up the "phlogiston feed coils" on the Landraider Machine Spirit insert (on the big Landraider promo poster thats a few years old now)? ;)

For those without a chemistry background - "phlogiston" was a mysterious substance that was used to explain certain chemical reaction phenomenon (like why Mg gets heavier after it's burnt) - before early chemists actually worked out what was going on.

I'm sure GW know that deuterium and promethium are not used in the way they've suggested in fluff - but are having their own little joke...

... imagine how much more powerful bolter rounds would be if they actually took the deuterium out and put a useful core in it!!! :eek:

10-05-2005, 09:05
Yeah, I think He Who Laughs has it right, that GW are having an "in joke" with them.

Of course, if somebody gets really worked up about it there are 2 possible explanations:

1) The names have been corrupted over the past 38,000ish years and they aren't the same at all.

2)The names are a corruption of something much longer. (Like Di-ethene in the old BattleStar Galactica series)

Delicious Soy
10-05-2005, 09:18
Deuterium sounds like a GW in joke but I think Promethium is a corrupted term for Petroleum in the 41st millenium. Hence its use in both flamers and as fuel.

10-05-2005, 20:54
So we're all agreed it's total technobabble. Good, well that's anend to that.

P.S.: If the 40k word for uranium is deuterium then there is no way that the bolt rounds could explode, depleted uranium cannot reach super-critical mass therefore it can't explode. Even the purest uranium [which, for the sake of argument, is 100% regular uranium] you need 50 kilos of the stuff to detonate! And the purest you can get it nowadays is about 20% regular uranium, so you'll need about 300 kilos to get a proper explosion!

10-05-2005, 23:35
Uranium is used in modern projectiles because it's extremely dense and quite hard. It's not meant to detonate, it's meant to be penetrating through sheer point pressure.

11-05-2005, 01:06
Point is, bolters have (for standard shells), explosive cores, not kinetic penetrator rounds.

Sir Charles
11-05-2005, 02:18
Deuterium sounds like a GW in joke but I think Promethium is a corrupted term for Petroleum in the 41st millenium. Hence its use in both flamers and as fuel.
Promethium could also be in reference to Prometheus(sp), who stole fire from the Gods, acording to classical mythology.

Morgan Keyes
11-05-2005, 05:09
P.S.: If the 40k word for uranium is deuterium then there is no way that the bolt rounds could explode, depleted uranium cannot reach super-critical mass therefore it can't explode.

Well you could, just not nuclear and not using uranium or DU as the explosive element. Back in World War II some tank/anti-tank guns used Armor-Piercing EXplosive (APEX) rounds which were hard penetrators backed by an explosive at the base, the idea being the kinetic penetrator smashes through the armor and the explosive goes off to increase the behind-armor effects. And then there is Armor-Piercing Hardcore EXpolsive, or APHEX, also know as Multipurpose rounds. This type of round being intended to explode within the target by using incendiary elements forward of the penetrator core to ignite an explosive plug around that core, and it's function being the closest match to how standard bolter rounds are explained. Seen'em fired from M2 .50 cals, they blow stuff up really nice.

11-05-2005, 17:36
Ok, people, I get the idea now.

End of topic.