A4_1 Archimedes' Death Ray

Cordelia Brown, Sean Brunyee, David Jessop, Luke Russell


This paper investigates the physics behind Archimedes’ ’Death Ray’, which used the shields of defending soldiers to focus sunlight onto approaching ships, causing them to burst into flames. By examining the thermal properties of wood we determine that ≈ 230m2 of shields could provide enough solar radiation to ignite the ships. We examine the relative position of the boat and the shields, determining the required elevation of the sun to be ≈ 34o .

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