Laser Cannons Vaporizing Tie Fighters

This happens many times:

The Quotes

Tarkin monitored the ground-feed holovids. The droid fighters were highly manoeuvrable but no match for Sentinel's powerful guns. The moon's storm-racked sky grew backlit with strobing flashes and globular detonations, as one after another of the ridge-backed tri-fighters and reconfigurable vultures was vaporized.

~ Tarkin

The remaining fighters tried to split, two to port, one to starboard; Ematt opened up with the ventral turret, and a second TIE exploded into nothingness, vaporized by a direct hit.

~ Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo and Chewbacca Adventure

The two blips reappeared, and Skywalker called out for Biggs. But it was Red Two that vaporized the Imperial pursuer.

~ From a Certain Point of View

He watched, stunned, his drink halfway to his mouth, as the Falcon swooped in from out of frame, behind a trio of TIEs—one a little modified, maybe a custom job—that were trailing some X-wings running through some kind of trench on the Death Star’s surface. Its quadlasers fired, and it picked them off, vaporizing two and sending the last one, the custom, spiralling away into space.

~ From a Certain Point of View

So here is the calculation:

The Calculation

This calculation is good but I hate using base values for vaporization. I think a more in depth method should be called for.

The volume of the Tie Fighter 1,597,932.49524 cm^3

Density of Titanium is 4.506 g/cm^3

1597932.49524 cm^3 * 4.506 g/cm^3 = 7200.28382 kilograms

Now we can find the heat energy of first melting the tie fighter:

The melting point of titanium is 1668 degrees celsius. Space is around -270.42 degrees celsius. That makes a temperature change of 1938.42 degrees celsius.

Plugging it all in, I get 7,299,602,087 joules.

Next we need to add the latent heat. The latent heat of fusion and vaporization can both be found here:

Latent heat of fusion of titanium is 15.45 kilojoules/mol. 1 mol of titanium is 47.867 grams. That makes it 322.76934 joules per gram.

322.76934 joules per gram * 7200.28382 kilograms = 2,324,030,856.39 joules

2,324,030,856.39 joules + 7,299,602,087 joules = 9,623,632,943.39 joules

Next I will find the energy to actually vaporize the ship.

The boiling point of titanium is 3287 degrees celsius. Okay, to do this, we assume the ship is now a liquid slag that is 1668 degrees celsius, this means the temperature change is 3287 degrees celsius - 1668 degrees celsius = 1619 degrees celsius.

Plugging this temperature change into the heat energy calculator gives me 6,096,746,721 joules

The latent Heat of Vaporization of Titanium is 421 kilojoules/mol. This will convert to 8795.20338 joules per gram.

8795.20338 joules per gram * 7200.28382 kilograms = 63,327,960,590.6233116 joules

63,327,960,590.6233116 joules + 6,096,746,721 joules = 69,424,707,311.6233116 joules

Now adding these both together

69,424,707,311.6233116 joules + 9,623,632,943.39 joules = 79,048,340,255.0133116 joules

79048340255.0133116 joules = 18.893006753110253 tons of tnt (8-B)

Bonus round....

Laser cannons are described as sun-hot, so let's assume that means the surface of the sun's temperature, or 5504.85 degrees celsius

5504.85 degrees celsius - 3287 degrees celsius = 2217.85 degrees celsius

Okay, plugging into the heat energy calculator gives me 8,351,865,173 joules

8,351,865,173 joules + 79,048,340,255.0133116 joules = 87,400,205,428.0133116 joules

And 87,400,205,428.0133116 joules = 20.889150436905666 tons of tnt (8-B)

Bonus round two....

There is a quote where a colliding Tie-Fighter is atomized from hitting a deflector shield.

The Thunderstrike and Apailana's Promise flew in such tight proximity that their shields bumped and clashed, coruscating through the visible spectrum and releasing enough energy to atomize any TIE fighter that passed through their field. Any squadron that attempted to weave between the rebel vessels was destroyed as surely as if it had been crushed between their hulls.

~ Battlefront: Twilight Company

471 kilojoules/mol = 471 kilojoules/47.867 grams = 9839.76435 joules per gram

9839.76435 joules per gram * 7200.28382 kilograms = 70,849,096,041.917817 joules

Han Solo - A Tie Fighter Destroys an Asteroid

Some laser cannons shot destroy a decently large asteroid

Screenshot 2019-02-09 Watch YouTube Vimeo videos frame by frame Watch Frame by Frame

Millenium Falcon = 126 pixels = 34.75 meters Asteroid = 292 pixels = 80.531746 meters

522.3 tons of TNT

It seems to have been done by 2-3 shots, its hard to tell if the third laser cannon shot actually hit the asteroid

  • Low End: 174.1 to 261.15 tons of TNT (8-A)
  • High End (Unlikely): 1.3 to 1.95 megatons of TNT (Low 7-B)

It seems moreso that it was destabilized and unbounded by the laser cannon shots and fell apart, and it obviously was not vaporized; a 3.9 megaton vapor overpressure explosion caused as a chain-reaction from the vaporization would be extremely violent and much larger. So I think the low end is a lot safer to use for this feat.

Assuming it was pulverization (214.35 joules per cubic cm), which obviously isn’t, I would get 13.9860301 kilotons of tnt, which divides into 6.99301505 to 4.66201 kilotons of TNT. This is still a pretty high end, as we clearly see from the feat the asteroid was merely fragmented.

Star Wars Rebels - An Asteroid Hits a Ship

Lina’s calcs are good, but I must say that his assuming that the asteroids were made of hard rock are a bad call. Saturn’s rings, for example, are 99% ice. So is Uranus’ and Neptune’s. Jupiter’s is literally made of dust.

So I will assume it is made of ice, as that seems more realistic for the feat

Ice = 0.92 grams per cm^3

12,520.853 m^3 * 0.92 grams per cm^3 = 11,519,184.8 kilograms

  • Absolute Low End: 20.8026439 kilotons of tnt
  • Low End: 83.2576737 kilotons of tnt

Now, these are pretty bad low ends, so as better ends I will use 3 values:

  • Mid End (17 km/s): 397.830355 kilotons of tnt
  • High End (25 km/s): 860.359763 kilotons of tnt
  • Absolute High End (28.6 km/s): 1.1259838 megatons of tnt

So it possibly could scrape as a megaton level feat at the highest interpretation, but giving the asteroids such a speed honestly makes little sense. These asteroids have been under constant acceleration under the planet’s rings, and what likely happened is these Jedi gave it the “push” to have it accelerate itself out of the orbit. However, if it accelerates too fast, the asteroid would have been vaporized due to being just well… likely ice.

Also, if you look at the scan, the wings of the ship were merely grazed, if that. The ship wasn’t directly impacted and nothing was destroyed. If the ship really had a durability this high as to not even be scratched by what was assumed a direct hit in the calc, the Jedi would have just had it bullseye it to better disrupt the ship and have him lose the race. Given they specifically targeted the wings, likely in such a way not to kill him, I don’t think this calculation can properly scale to the durability of starfighters, though it is good for force users. Nevertheless, I will try to calculate the energy actually put on the wings to possibly get some number. To do this I will take the surface area of the part of the asteroid that grazed the ship and divide that from half the total area of the asteroid, then divide that with the collision energy.

I will use the asteroid actually measured in the calc, by the looks of it, it was this top conical “cap” extruding from the asteroid. I circled it in pink.

Wing graze

Imagery is kinda unclear, but it looked like the asteroid grazed underneath the wing

This extrusion is an ellipse 13 pixels by 73 pixels in dimension. 73 pixels is coincidentally also the width of the wing here, so this seems like the part of the asteroid which grazed the ship.

Using the pixel scaling on the original blog:

  • 73 pixels = 11.055108 meters
  • 13 pixels = 1.968718 meters

I will use the area of a rectangle here, cuz that’s how it moved when grazing it

11.055108 meters * 1.968718 meters = 21.7643901 m^2

Friction coefficient of steel is 0.6

The asteroid is

Using the numbers from the original calc again

2662.6413187 square meters

Since only the top hit, I will divide by 2

2662.6413187/2 = 1331.32065935 square meters

Now, I gotta divide area of the asteroid’s side that hit the ship with the area actually grazed

1331.32065935 square meters/21.7643901 square meters = 61.1696746

This results in:

  • Absolute Low End: 340.081 tons of tnt
  • Low End: 1.361094 kilotons of tnt
  • Mid End (17 km/s): 6.5037187 kilotons of tnt
  • High End (25 km/s): 14.0651355206 kilotons of tnt
  • Absolute High End (28.6 km/s): 18.40754929 kilotons of tnt
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.