Article ID: CBB000932743

Centrifugation during the Manhattan Project (2009)


Manhattan Engineer District documents from 1942 to early 1944 reveal that consideration of centrifugation as a means of enriching uranium-235 during World War II was more extensive than is commonly appreciated. A full-scale prototype centrifuge was fabricated and tested at near-production speeds; enrichments at close to levels expected theoretically was demonstrated with pilot-plant units; and plans for production plants were developed. By January 1944 most of the engineering problems encountered with high-speed centrifuges had been overcome, but the project was dropped in the face of growing confidence in the eventual success of the competing electromagnetic-separation and gaseous-diffusion enrichment techniques, which already had received significant funding.

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Authors & Contributors
Cioci, Vincenzo
Farrell, Don A.
Joseph, Timothy
Hoerlin, Bettina
Salio, Giovanni
McRae, Kenneth D
Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia
Technology and Culture
Physics in Perspective
Chemical Heritage
Bulletin for the History of Chemistry
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Pavia University Press
Simon & Schuster
Micronesian Productions
Raffaello Cortina Editore
University of New Mexico Press
Steerforth Press
Manhattan Project
World War II
Nuclear weapons; atomic weapons
Science and war; science and the military
Atomic bomb
Simon, Franz
Weinberg, Alvin Martin
Vegard, Lars
Smyth, Charles Phelps
Mawson, Douglas
Heisenberg, Werner
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, early
21st century
20th century, late
United States
Hiroshima-shi (Japan)
Tinian (Northern Mariana Islands)
Tennessee (U.S.)
United States War Department
Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Chemie
Harvard University

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