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Lightsabers are extraordinary weapons, they can cut almost anything and reflect blaster bolts, but one of their most amazing feats is the quantity of energy they deliver. I particularly remember this scene where Qui-Gon Jin melts his way through a blast-door :

Qui-Gon melting his way through a door

How much power, in watts, does the lightsaber's blade need to accomplish this?

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After a quick search, I was pleased to learn that Someone already did the job for us!

Check the link for the complete calculations. It uses the color of the melting door to estimate the temperature of the door and approximate many values, like the material of the door and melting point. The estimates seem pretty good, with the lack of anything better.

Temperature

What is the temperature of the metal (I assume it is metal, but it doesn’t really matter) door? Here is a shot of the door being cut (melted) by Qui Gon. I used the PhET simulator to match the color of the heated parts of the door to blackbody temperatures.

i-207a7ca194c3339d3fd63013ef9dee65-2010-02-02_untitled.jpg

This seems pretty rough, but it is a start. One problem is that the screen captures might be a slightly different color. Oh well, it is close enough.

The final answer around 28 kilowatts.

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    So... not enough to power the Delorian? – Jersey Sep 13 '13 at 15:27
  • And not enough to cut through Darth Vaders very thin shoulder armour with an intention filled two handed swing. And yet moments later enough to casually lop through 3 big metal pipes full of gubbins with an overswing. (Luke vs Vader in ESB.) Don't analyse it too much! :-) – Grimm The Opiner Nov 21 '13 at 17:38
  • @Jersey 1.21 gigawatts/28 kilowatts is 43210, so you'd need that number of lightsabers to power the DeLorean. Given that there were about 10.000 Jedi alive prior to Order 66, it is unlikely that the entire order had access to that many lightsabers. – Thomas Jacobs Aug 14 '15 at 9:14
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    @Grimm IIRC Darth Vader had lightsaber resistant armor. – Azor Ahai Dec 26 '15 at 4:57

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