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## It Takes 2.99 Gigajoules To Vaporize a Human Body272

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-so-you-know dept.
Have you ever wondered how much energy is needed to power a phaser set to kill? A trio of researchers at the University of Leicester did, so they ran some tests and found out it would take roughly 2.99 GJ to vaporize an average-sized adult human body. Quoting: "First, consider the true vaporization – the complete separation of all atoms within a molecule – of water. With a simple molecular structure containing an oxygen atom bonded to two hydrogen atoms, it takes serious energy to break these bonds. In fact, it takes 460 kilojoules of energy to break just one mole of oxygen-hydrogen bonds — around the same energy that a 2,000-pound car going 70 miles per hour on the highway has in potential. And that's just 18 grams of water! So as you can see, it would take a gargantuan amount of energy to separate all the atoms in even a small glass of water — especially if that glass of water is your analog for a person. The human body is a bit more complicated than a glass of water, but it still vaporizes like one. And thanks to our spies spread across scientific organizations, we now have the energy required to turn a human into an atomic soup, to break all the atomic bonds in a body. According to the captured study, it takes around three gigajoules of death-ray to entirely vaporize a person — enough to completely melt 5,000 pounds of steel or simulate a lightning bolt."
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## It Takes 2.99 Gigajoules To Vaporize a Human Body

• #### Re:Bad science (Score:4, Insightful)

on Friday September 13, 2013 @05:53PM (#44844957) Journal

Even so when you go from a liquid to a gas let alone a solid to a gas you increase volume by well allot! Considering the epic calamity that is ~man sized boiler, say the type that was used to power to power stream tractors makes when it bursts; it should be clear that a phaser blast is not turning the victim into a gas or plasma. If it did that, it would be very disruptive and probably harmful to anyone in the immediate vicinity. Yet in Star Trek you can safely stand next to someone that is being disintegrated by phaser/disruptor.

• #### Re:JiggaWatts (Score:4, Insightful)

on Friday September 13, 2013 @05:54PM (#44844965)

Depends on how quickly you want it done.

If you wanted it done in 2.5 seconds, 1.21 gigawatts would be perfect.

• #### Re:Disintegration (Score:5, Insightful)

on Friday September 13, 2013 @06:12PM (#44845105)

Often on TV, killing is actually easier than dealing with the bodies. The network censors really hate bloody corpses, but have less objection to the process of making them. A common solution is to introduce either mooks that conveniently diappear when dead (See Buffy, Charmed - the prefered fantasy solution) or weapons which leave no body (See half the weapons in Doctor Who or STs phasors - the prefered sci-fi solution).

The vaporisation option usually ignores the difficulty of where approximately eighty kilograms of water vapor is going to end up - boiling a human in such a short time would result in a blast of high-pressure superheated steam and organic soup.

• #### Re:Disintegration (Score:2, Insightful)

on Friday September 13, 2013 @06:18PM (#44845151) Homepage Journal

Disrupt molecular bonds, I guess.

While phasers phase molecular bonds.

In some theoretical sci-fi future, there is a difference.

Perhaps the reason they are hand-held is they actually produce the energy needed as part of their discombobulation process by capturing the existing energy of the molecular bonds and redirecting it, sort of like a nuclear chain reaction. So it only needs a little zap of energy to kickstart the process.

• #### Re:Disintegration (Score:3, Insightful)

on Friday September 13, 2013 @07:59PM (#44845723)

Often on TV, killing is actually easier than dealing with the bodies. The network censors really hate bloody corpses, but have less objection to the process of making them. A common solution is to introduce either mooks that conveniently diappear when dead...

Saves money, Saves time.

You don't have to show the blood and bodies on screen. You don't have to remove the blood and bodies on screen.

The same reasons why Star Trek and Dr. Who have teleportation. Why the TARDIS is bigger on the inside than the outside.

• #### Re:Vaporize or ionize? (Score:5, Insightful)

on Saturday September 14, 2013 @02:22AM (#44847155)
From TFA

the complete separation of all atoms within a molecule

And then what? You have <however> many moles of highly reactive ions in a location. What are they going to do? React again. So all you've done is apply energy to a mass, liberated a bunch of ions that will then recombine as soon as the input power goes away (or they dissipate from out of its field) and then release the energy of ionisation that they had absorbed. Result: Boom! All that 3GJ comes back at you as a chemical explosion.

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