A fun project for the school hols

This will impress your science teacher!

Steel disc scored for screwdriver

Can you think of a better way of impressing your science teacher than presenting him or her with a home-made nuke?  You’ll probably have some of the things you need around the house or in your Dad’s shed: an electric detonator, some plastic explosive and a timing device (you don’t want it to go off too quickly and make a mess of the house). You will also need a steel disc 5 cm across and 2.5 cm thick.  It should be threaded and scored thickly across the top to take a screwdriver, so if you have a handyman in the family, ask them to make one for you. 


At the same time you could ask them to make a steel tube (about 20 kg in weight), internal diameter 5 cm, external diameter 10 cm.  One end should be flanged and threaded inside, the other end capped in steel.  You’ll need to drill a small hole in the cap to pass the detonator through, so it’s probably best to as your dad (or your mum’s present partner) to do it.  Drills can be dangerous!

Bowls when bolted together

Next, see if you can find two semi-spherical steel bowls with flanges so you can bolt them together to make a globe.  You’ll need to make a threaded hole in one of them to take the steel disc.

You should be able to find the rest on Ebay if your local B & Q or builders’ merchant doesn’t stock them: a flattish 5 cm disc of lithium and a disc of polonium the same size.



Last but not least...

Finally, you’ll need a ball of uranium.  Uranium 235 is best, but other brands are available.  This needs to be 12.5 cm wide, with a 5 cm hole drilled right through, and a rod of the same stuff to go through it when the time comes.  I know how impatient children can be, but don’t do it yet or you’ll spoil things.  These will be very heavy, so it’s probably best to look on the Ebay local deals site as otherwise the postage would cost too much.

Nearly done!

Now for the fun bit.  First, glue the polonium disc to the steel one, and screw them into the hole you made in one of the bowls.  Then pop the uranium ball in and bolt he two sides of the bowl together.  Be careful you don’t catch your fingers.

Push the explosive down the tube with a broom handle.  Glue the lithium disc to the flat nose of the uranium rod and ram it down into the explosive.  Screw it into the globe – it will look just like a giant lollipop!


And that’s it, really.  All you have to do is add the detonator and the timer, and you’re certain to get favourable marks.  Alternatively, you could set it off behind the bike sheds.  It will destroy everything for miles around and guarantee a day off school!