How Powerful Are FALLOUT 4’S Energy Weapons? (Because Science w/ Kyle Hill)

How Powerful Are FALLOUT 4’S Energy Weapons? (Because Science w/ Kyle Hill)

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– Welcome to orientation,
Vault Dweller. In today’s lesson, we’ll be
going over defending yourself in a world after complete
nuclear annihilation. You might need to vaporize
some people or things, so let’s make sure that you
at least know the science of what’s going on. (upbeat electronic music) So, Vault Dweller, I’m sorry, I can’t
talk like that anymore. So, Vault Dweller, I’m sure that you’re eager
to get back out there into the Wasteland, and to vaporize some raiders as you see right there, But we should at least have
some kind of understanding of the physics of the
laser and energy weapons in “Fallout” before we do so. First, what does
“vaporization” really mean? There’s a big difference
between separating all the atoms in a person’s body and
reducing them to a pile of ash. First of all, atomic bonds
are really hard to break. Consider a water molecule
with one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. To break the bonds between
the oxygen and hydrogen of just 18 grams of water, you would need to input 920 kilojoules of energy, or about the
same amount of energy in the form of work
that it takes to stop a small car speeding
down the highway at 60 miles an hour, or the amount of energy
that comes from blowing up half a pound of TNT. If energy weapons were
separating all the atoms in a person’s or
supermutant’s body, then it would take a
gargantuan amount of energy, 3,000,000,000 joules of it. That’s the same amount of
energy you’d have to input to melt 5,000 pounds of
steel or power armor. But let’s dig into that number
a little bit like a mole rat to see where it comes from, because most of the energy that
goes into vaporizing someone is spent vaporizing
that person’s water. A pile of ash is devoid
of water content, so energy weapons must at least
be vaporizing all of that. If the average person
is, maybe, 70% water and weighs 78 kilograms, then, on the whole, the
average person contains 56 kilograms of water. That’s what we have to vaporize. Time for a chemistry lesson. Thinking back to the
water molecule again, we have to break both of
its oxygen-hydrogen bonds to totally vaporize it, and to do that, we have
to insert what’s called the “bond enthalpy” energy,
which is the amount of energy you need to insert into a
chemical bond to break it. And we know that the
oxygen-hydrogen bonds break by inserting 460
kilojoules of energy per mole of these bonds. A “mole” is a
standard measurement defined as the number of atoms
in 12 grams of pure carbon, 12 which just happen to be 6.02×10 to the 23rd atoms, now known as
“Avogadro’s constant,” named after the scientist
who discovered this constant. Now, using this as a
standard measurement, if you take the combined
atomic mass of an atom or a molecule like
water and add it up, that’s how many
grams of this stuff are in 6.02×10 to the
23rd of that stuff. Since hydrogen has an
atomic mass of roughly one, and oxygen has an atomic
mass of roughly 16, that means that
the water molecule has a combined atomic mass of 18, yeah (laughs). So, that means that in every 6.02×10 to the 23rd
water molecules, there are 18 grams of water. Now, with all that
chemistry out of the way, how much energy does it
take to vaporize someone like in “Fallout?” If the average human body
contains 56 kilograms of water, we divide this by
18 grams of water per one mole of water
to find the moles, which equals a little over 3,000 moles of water. And in every one of these 3,000 moles of water, there are two
oxygen-hydrogen bonds, remember back to
the water molecule, which means there are
roughly 6,000 moles of these oxygen-hydrogen bonds, which, remember have
a bond enthalpy energy of 460 kilojoules per mole. You see where we’re
going with this. So, if you multiply
these values out, 6,000 moles times 460 kilojoules per mole, you get a gargantuan
amount of energy; 2.8 billion joules of energy, which is like (lightning
crashes) two full
lightning bolts. (cash register dings) So, there you have
it, Vault Dweller! With “Fallout’s” energy weapons, you’re literally carrying
around lightning in a bottle, or microfusion cell,
ready to vaporize raiders. The technology may
have changed, but war, war never changes, except… Wait, no, it totally changes. Think of the difference
between dropping one guy, dropping a nuclear
bomb on a city, and a bunch of dudes lining
up on a hill, 10 feet away, and shooting each other. Yeah, yeah, war totally changes, because science. Okay, bye! (upbeat electronic music) Want more science? Check out my last video on
how modern hoverboards work. Go back to
for more videos. If you want “Because
Science” two days earlier than anyone else, head to Vessel at And, as always, if you have
any comments or questions, or suggestions for
future episodes, you can hit me up on the
comment section below. Thanks!

100 thoughts on “How Powerful Are FALLOUT 4’S Energy Weapons? (Because Science w/ Kyle Hill)

  • veleriphon Post author

    All the energy weapons have to do is boil all the water in your body in a short time. The rest of you insulates the water…

  • LRL BIGLEE Post author

    okay sorry just have to say this. if a person only has around 70 of water in them they are severally dehydrated. a well hydrated person should have around 75 to 80 percent water

  • Matthew Park Post author

    If only my chemistry and physics classes were this engaging and intriguing.

  • Katie Reed Post author

    Holy glowing mushrooms, Batman!

  • Ravenwolf Fenrirson Post author

    war never changes but how it is done is. meaning people fought with swords, then boats, then guns, then bombs. the reasons are the same and people are still going to die

  • JAR Gantuan Post author

    Wouldn't it be the formula mass, rather than combined atomic?

  • Jake Graber Post author

    I've been watching a lot of videos by you guys (or guy, I'm not sure how many people's effort go into these videos) so I figured I'd subscribe. Great videos man idk how you learned to right backwards so smoothly but I gotta give you props…and a like. I'll be back!

  • Quinn Silver-Smith Post author

    I have to agree with a lot of the commenters on the state-change reaction – but I also need to point out that Hydroxide gas is HO, a single hydrogen oxygen pair that quickly reacts with CO2 to create bicarbonate ions, meaning to vaporize water into a gas you only need to break ONE hydrogen oxygen bond per molecule (you only need to break both if you want to separate the hydroxide gas) resulting in the creation of bicarbonate ions from atmospheric CO2 reaction to hydroxide gas, and hydrogen gas, as well as halving the total energy required.

  • PaleoFisher The barrionix Post author

    But then again… game physics witch makes no sense.

  • firetruckedup Post author

    Hey dude, just gotta mention, you don't need to break the bonds of water to vaporise it, water molecules can be turned to steam (which can be seen rising from ashy remains) for a lot less energy

  • Edres Samama Post author

    Can you make videos for fallout 4 just like 'cops of skyrim'? :))

  • clownrock95 Post author

    wouldnt all that oxegen and hydrogen released cause a huge fireball?

  • Jordan Thomas Post author

    Wait…wait…wait. Does vaporize have a different meaning in physics than engineering? Because if you "vaporize" water in engineering-speak…you just turn it into vapor (a.k.a. steam…you boil it). In which case the energy of vaporization is the energy needed to heat to boiling plus 40.7 kJ/mol…You don't break any molecular bonds.

  • Damian Breen Post author

    Annihilation is not applicable to the fallout series

  • James Retzer Post author

    Huh, cool

  • David Rideeoutte Post author

    Does that also faster in how much people sweat a day too.

  • Lore Theorist Post author

    why is it I understand all this stuff and chemistry and science stuff but can't understand basic algebra

  • Meeep 90 Post author

    War never changes, however the way to conduct war definitely does

  • FantasyFanatic Post author

    Couldn't the water just have been evaporated?

  • Gonzalo Arancibia Post author

    The means of war change, but war, war never change.

  • Delfin Balagtas Post author

    AVA-KA-DOO's constant……….

  • David B Post author

    No offense but they covered this by Austin on another channel about energy weapons and plasma, but with a lot more swearing.

  • CountDoucheula Post author

    I've been watching these videos for years, and I've only now been high enough to ask the question "Does he write all of this shit backwards?"

  • watdaduckfuk Post author

    You clearly don't get the quote it's a philosophical quote. while yes in practice war changes with technology in theory it doesn't you always have diffrent parties, always soldiers, always weapons, always distruction and always victums of said distruction.

  • Christopher Day Post author

    Pretty sure that you need to do two different calculations, since the energy required to break an O-H bond from a hydroxide ion would be MUCH harder than breaking one from a neutral H2O molecule. It should be a MUCH higher number you get at the end…!?

  • Victor Barton Post author

    Do an episode of if a mole-rat is a mutated mole or a mutated rat.

  • Felesmiki ESP Post author

    It's late but, I always love ur videos (and still watching all), but the explanation from Austin (shoddycast) is more fun, "is more possible that the weapons create a portan to the center of the sun to take the necessary energy to transform a behemoth in to a pile of goo"
    Its no a human, it's not laser, but still energy weapons 😀

  • Wilhelm Schmidt Post author

    You say vaporization, but then talk about fission. Vaporizing water and burning the carbon wouldn't take even close to the amount of energy mentioned. If the weapons worked this way, enemies would be exploding in small nuclear blasts, not just being incinerated. This was dumb.

  • AlphaChocolateTruffle Post author

    war doesn't really change. it's still killing people over the same reasons [mostly] land, recourse or power.

  • ja wd Post author

    It never changes cause there's always loss and destruction.

  • V1 rocket production Post author

    War doesn't change the weapons, warfare, and tactics change.

    Going back to war, war is a conflict between different nations or states or different groups. So the premise in war doesn't change because it's still about being superior over the other nations or states or different groups weather it be armed or verbaly

  • darkchronos Post author

    16+1= 18??? are those post apocaliptic maths lol?

  • Tacozone Post author

    Except laser pistol sux and the only good shit is plasma rifle

  • Alain Martel Post author

    You only need to vaporize water, not atomize it. Changing water into steam takes a LOT less energy that breaking it's bonds.

  • Amethyst Blade Post author

    War never change is more about the why and the who…sure, the means to wage wars changes, but the war itself isn't different…

  • ZaylexuVlogs Post author

    How is he writing in the air

  • Robert Mcbrayer Post author

    what kind of explosion would you get if you dumped that much energy on a Target

  • marek pastyrik Post author

    isn´t vaporization just changing liguid to well vapor?

  • Benjamin Raskin Post author

    So why or how does it take 2 whole mags to disintegrate an enemy??

  • PJ Post author

    Please make more Fallout content? 😀 😀 😀 😀

  • Skippy Post author

    What if the energy weapons actually burnt people, with the chain reaction ash pile happening when some odd resonance thing raised the energy level of the body so much that the compounds of the body easily reacted with the things around it and eachother?

    Because psuedoscience?

  • Robbie Robinson Post author

    The vaporization process would be so fast and violent, the person effected would actually explode!

  • Finn McHenry Post author

    Wait… What? Surely vaporising means to convert from a liquid to gaseous state. Why is the discussion here about covalent bond breaking when a far less energy intensive process would be to evaporate the water content of a body? There's absolutely no need to concern covalent bonds here, this is about hydrogen bond-breaking.

  • George Cowsert Post author

    Just a friendly reminder that laser weapons would actually be more powerful than plasma, because lasers can actually create plasma as a byproduct.

    Also, plasma has zero ballistic damage.

  • Damian Durrant Post author

    "War never changes" is a metaphor for the events that happen after the bombs. The only difference is instead of running around with rating and sticks, it's pipe guns

  • Armando Valenzuela Post author

    Technology and warfare changes but not the concept of war being a dispute between people

  • ericjoyce99 Post author

    But dosent it take mutipl shots though

  • Shawn Gao Post author


  • Manic Macho Legs Post author

    Im watching this in 2018 and his hair is so short

  • James Hedin Post author

    this seems… unlikely? the water will probably boil first, and even if the bonds are breaking, they'll probably reform into h2 and o2, giving more energy back to break more bonds.

  • Pork Cracklins Post author

    I'm a little late on this, but maybe you want to be careful with things like "double lightning bolts." You know. Cause Nazis.

  • Grim reaper Post author

    War never changes, the stuff they kill you with does.

  • Brandon Myers Post author

    You would need a lot less energy than you think as you'd only need enough energy to quickly evaporate the water content and the residual heat from the interaction would now immolate what is left of the body.
    Also wouldn't energy weapons have the same side effect of lightsaber contact so every hit on a person would cause a steam explosion?

  • Machiahveli Post author

    The point of "War never changes," is to explain that war is a fight between oppositions and the hell that seeing your bunk mate shovel his intestines back into his body is. The actions taking place in war are all that evolves. Much like how the goal of science to discover harder, better, and faster ways to accomplish tasks we can already do, the goal and hardships don't change but the end does not.

  • Wilson Alberto Post author

    Was there ever an episode about Half Life 2's Gravity Gun?

  • R Cola Post author

    Heavy Bolter from W40K.

  • Aeterna Nox Post author

    Okay, almost every junkenstein in wastelands has energetic weapons that are powerful enough to shoot the equivalent of two lightnings from them with each shot. Yet, there was a great war because of the oil shortage and there is almost no electricity around now. Seems logical.

  • FalloutJack Post author

    This is interesting and all, but I wouldn't say vaporization is what's going on. I would say that the actions involved are incineration (with the lasers) and liquefying (with the plasma). You are worried about the water, and I can understand that, but really…during a critical hit with a laser weapon (Bloody Mess perk applied, most likely), the water is just boiling into steam very rapidly. They aren't becoming not water. They are being rushed to their next cycle as the organic solids are are reduced to ashes. Plasma is, meanwhile, turning people into a slurry of organic waste material. And while there is some question as to whether plasma can actually be used offensively or not, the actual applications of plasma today (for cutting purposes, say), exceed the temperatures to be found on the surface of the sun. Terrible things will happen to flesh at that point. Even still, not actual vaporizing. That's more Star Trek than Fallout.

  • Sean Wisniewski Post author

    hey Kyle time for an anatomy lesson; people are actually made up of mostly aqueous material not water so 70% isn't an accurate value as water is mixed with a bunch of other stuff like blood plasma which is only ~45% of your blood the other things being red blood cells at ~55% and white blood cells at less than 1%. Water is also mixed with other stuff that's not blood but simply put the human body is made up of around 70% aqueous material not water and of that material at most only half of it is water and the water in the body is almost always in an aqueous solution making it much harder to evaporate like sea water is to fresh water. Lets even suppose that you do manage to evaporate all the aqueous solution in a person; if the person wasn't already dead depending on if the skin is broken or not the person would witness having either their insides explode out of said wound likely at the person who shot them or if the heat is some how transferred with out breaking the skin the individual would likely explode out of their path of least resistance for examples: your mouth, nose, eye sockets, genitals or asshole and potentially all of the previously mentioned area's at once given the separation of internal bodily systems

  • Benjamin Roles Post author

    Is it easy to write backwords…

  • Ernie Velveeta Post author

    5:09 – Microfusion cells are more.

    Bethesda "streamlined" the various energy weapon ammo into "fusion cells," though Gatling Lasers use "fusion cores."

  • Klony Post author

    War…. War has changed.

  • juggy666 Post author

    If you just heat to boiling point you get water vapour.

  • Restive Leech Post author

    I’m surprised he didn’t make a mol rat joke

  • Illoney Post author

    Why are you saying "vaporise" when you clearly mean "disintergrate"? Vaporising is just turning something from liquid to gas, not breaking the atomic bonds between the molecules.

  • Rok Adamlje Post author

    Vaporization is not breaking bonds between oxygen and hydrogen.

  • steeldrago73 Post author

    Water vapor continues to be water, im not sure what percentage of molecules would be broken in the conversion to vapor from a liquid. Exploding body on ailse fallout!

  • Jon Ray Post author

    I would really like to see an episode of how deadly fallouts radioactivity would be 200 years after the war

  • Ratchet Eden Post author

    men have 60% water in them and women have a bit more i forgot how much

  • Carter Baker Post author

    I am more impressed at how they created these weapons with out transistors. In Fall Out universe transistors were never invented.

  • Don’t read my profile picture Post author


  • Derrick Wiedemann Post author

    Stop talking so much about water I your videos, you make me thirsty. Like damn, have to keep a glass glass of water on hand just to watch you're videos

  • Patrick Nagle Post author

    War never changes, it means people are always fighting and dying, it doesn't matter how you fight your still fighting

  • Thomas Easley Post author

    Kyle hill, how soon will nananites be a reliable tech?

  • Ionizator 3000 Post author

    That commertial at the begining sucks

  • Administrator Post author

    It just works!
    – T. HOWARD

  • Archer Post author

    Kyle, just curious… ¿how do you draw in the air so that the camera notices? ¿do you see the stuff you draw? duuude this got me thinking…

  • HighQueefYT Post author

    Pretty op…. flashbacks to one hitting a ancient behemoth with a plasma pistol

  • roadhouse699 Post author

    I'm still only gonna use conventional firearms in fallout games.

  • Nicholas Haff Post author

    Smart guy keep up the good work

  • Lucifer 69 Post author

    Regardless of how we interpret the "disintegration" or "gooification" the energy requirement would be extraordinary.

    Still getting zapped by lightning would be quite… electrifying.

  • Samantha Winters Post author

    I think they meant more of the reasons for war never change

  • Cid Alderlaine Post author

    After watching this, I got a +20 to Energy Weapons, Huzzah!

  • Valyn Hernalth Post author

    @Nerdist (Kyle Hill): I believe the statement of 'War Never changes' is more of a statement that there will always be war, and in war you will have death. So, while we may change how wars are fought; 'War', itself, 'Never Changes'

    I find this series fun, I wish i had found it sooner.

  • wyatt hatch Post author

    Wouldn't just turning all the water to steam work?

  • akli maron Post author

    Wouldnt you justicia need to boiler the water ?

  • FalloutFrenzi Vicdamon Post author

    The weapons may change and the world may change but war, war NEVER changes. It's still people killing for what they want right or wrong

  • Mishary El Professor Post author

    Is he related to jake roper from Vsauce?? He kinda looks and talks like him

  • Mittens FastPaw Post author

    And you nitpicked it. You know damn well what they meant.

  • Mahaddiedaddy Post author

    War doesn't change, just the style and fashion in which it plays out.

  • Shaun Catania Post author

    Game Designer 1: I want the guns to disintegrate people.
    Game Designer 2: Science says no
    Game Designer 1: I want the guns to disintegrate people.

  • CKing Pro Post author

    Pff…easy. Use the nuclear reactor for 2.8 GJ of energy /s

  • Mantha Boo Post author

    It's not how war changes but the facts that we as humans never stop causing and fighting in war

  • Christopher Shell Post author

    Couldn't you just sublimate a person. That would greatly scale down the energy output.

  • Soaren Borsari Post author

    As an old school fallout fan, (2002, long before fallout 3), I found this interesting. 2 lightning bolts? We are a few years away from that.

    Gonna be zapping mutties in ten years 😂

  • Ama McGlone Post author

    I like the game itself

  • John Doe Post author

    I remember Star Trek TOS they were vaporizing people left and right. What could they have done with all that surplus energy if they just turned down the phasers? In one episode called "The Omega Glory" Capt. Ronald Tracey had the stones to ask Kirk for weapons and then he vaporized Kirk's redshirt! And Tracy gets upset when he runs out of ammunition fending off a primitive tribe of Yangs. Maybe if he limited his phasers setting he wouldn't had been captured by the tribe.

  • Orwell Jones Laeddis Post author

    My mentats wore off midway through the video T-T

  • Rebecca S Post author

    Plasma is really easy to create.

  • NEO CON WAR HAWK Post author

    It take 108 mega joules to melt a human and it takes a bit of time for them to melt.

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