I'm looking to make a sonic[Citation Needed] bomb that is lethal enough to kill enemies at short range. The goal is for something akin to a lethal flashbang grenade or some sort of C4 sound device. It would work by creating such a loud sound as to hit on one of the numerous ways that sound can kill. I'm not looking for a sonic gun, it needs to be something with a sort of timed release.

To cite

...the European Space Agency says that it now has such a sonic weapon in its arsenal that, if it was so inclined, could kill you.

The existing device is a large apparatus, but I want to be able to set this in a similar way to allow my military to utilize this in space. Note: I do not want an actual explosive (as in hand grenade, small explosions to create the sound are fine), as that may damage the space station.

Technologically we can use up to near future devices, so some future tech might be warranted. So, now for the whole question.

How can I create a realistic sonic bomb given these constraints?

  • $\begingroup$ @downvoter, Did you just not like the question, or could you explain why you downvoted please? $\endgroup$
    – Anoplexian
    Mar 3, 2017 at 15:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You could strap a bunch of blue hedgehogs onto a conventional bomb. To counter, you gotta go fast! $\endgroup$ Nov 30, 2017 at 1:24

2 Answers 2


What is sound? Sound is a pressure wave in the air.

What is a loud sound? Sounds are louder when the difference between the high (compression) and low (rarefaction) portions of the pressure wave is greater.

How do I make a sound? Normally, you would vibrate something else, and allow that something else to transfer those vibrations into the air as a pressure wave. Examples include you vocal cords, a stretched fiber you pluck or rub, an object you strike, or a tube you blow into (i.e. singing, guitar or violin, drum or xylophone, oboe or flute, etc.)

Another common way is to place a fixed magnet attached to a flexible membrane within the field of a rapidly oscillating electromagnet. Someone did that a while ago, and called it a "speaker."

The above are generally not capable of creating a sound loud enough for your purposes. (Though some uses of an oboe might at least make your enemies run away in disgust.)

There are other ways, like forcing the molecules within a substance to rapidly combust and create much larger volume of waste product than the original volume, i.e. blow something up. I've just described a conventional bomb, which does make a pressure wave more or less as you require when it explodes.

That bomb also sends out shrapnel. Can I get the loud sound without that? (I want to hurt people, not the equipment around them.) Ah, but now we get to the crux of the problem. You want a pressure wave with such a large difference between the high and low sides that it actually shocks the system of the person it hits- a shock wave, if you will. Seem familiar?

Let's pretend that you can, in fact, build the mother of all oboes. Position your fingers for F above middle C and give a puff over the reed. Honk! It puts out as much energy as Krakatoa in 1883. Yes, your enemy dies. But you also tear apart everything else around you.

  • $\begingroup$ So, oboes are capable of playing the brown note? $\endgroup$
    – Mrkvička
    Mar 2, 2017 at 22:49

I'm sorry, I confused.

You are describing fuel-air bombs. These kill from the pressure wave, which is the end point of sounds getting too loud.

These range in size from grenades on up. If you don't want an explosive, but want the small size, you need something with the energy density high enough that it is a danger to the space station. At best, you could power them off of short term capaciters, making 'exploding bullets'.

If you just want to kill people without explosives, there are lots of ways to make grenades for that. Shuirken are great against space suits.


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