Wikipedia:Today's featured article/January 22, 2018

Thermal Diffusion Process Building
Thermal Diffusion Process Building

The S-50 Project was the Manhattan Project's effort to produce enriched uranium by liquid thermal diffusion during World War II. The process was developed by Philip H. Abelson and other scientists at the United States Naval Research Laboratory, and was one of three technologies for uranium enrichment pursued by the Manhattan Project. Pilot plants were built at the Anacostia Naval Air Station and the Philadelphia Navy Yard. A facility at the Clinton Engineer Works in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was the only production-scale liquid thermal diffusion plant ever built. It could not enrich uranium sufficiently for use in an atomic bomb, but it could begin the process of enrichment that was completed by the Y-12 calutrons and the K-25 gaseous diffusion plants. It sped up the production of enriched uranium for the Little Boy bomb used in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. This plant ceased production in September 1945, but was reopened in May 1946, and used by the Nuclear Energy for the Propulsion of Aircraft project of the US Army Air Forces before being demolished in the late 1940s. (Full article...)

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