In this space, visitors are invited to post any comments, questions, or skeptical observations about Philo T. Farnsworth's contributions to the field of Nuclear Fusion research.
Subject: Re: $1,000,000 prize
Date: Aug 13, 09:28 am
Poster: Richard Hull
On Aug 13, 09:28 am, Richard Hull wrote:
>>The farnworth fusor DOES DO Fusion... no doubt about it!!!!
>>Currently....nobody, and nothing... anywhere... does continuos, self- sustaining fusion outside of nature.
>Does that mean the Fusor doesn't sustain fusion?
Read carefully! Farnsworth's fusor, the Tokomaks, the Sphereomaks, the laser IC fusion units,.... All do fusion.... All will sustain fusion.... nothing produced by the hand of man will SELF-SUSTAIN THE PROCESS!
Sustained fusion is just continuous fusion which will not destroy the vessel. All of it is at a very low level and often requires 10-1000 times more input energy than the actual resultant fusion energy returns. These itmes range from research devices looking into higher levels of fusion to neutron sources which allow a college or institution to do nuclear experiments, neutron activate various materials, etc. This avoids the hassles of colleges having a dangerous reactor on site with a 24 hour a day team to man it. It also avoid the maintaining and licensing of NRC controlled fissile materials or Californium sources. All of which pose a major radiation hazard 24 hours per day for years to come. The fusor or similar neutron fusion source can be turned on and off like a TV set, and they are cheap! No licensing required, etc.
A SELF SUSTAINING fusion reaction is one which once some seed energy is placed in the device to start the process, all that is needed to continue the reaction is a simple stead flow of nuclear fuel (deuterium, tritium, etc.) The reaction is ideally controlled exactly like a gasoline enegine. More power more gas, less power, less gas. a fusion reaction like this can run away, but would destroy the vessel or damage some key system and the delicate reaction would cease due to a temperature drop. Damage would be repairable and radiation would be very limited. Remember a really big power fusion reactor would be hot as hell due to neutron activation, but no lethal fissile material can enter the environment and there is no such thing as a runaway fusion reaction (except in stars, but even those self moderate at a point.)
The key words are
1. Fusion reaction-
forcing by any method deuterons, or tritons to fuse into helium and tritium. The reaction releases energy in the form of heat and fast neutrons, typically. Abysmally easy to do...
2. Sustained fusion reaction -
Creating a vessel and supplying enough power to a fusion reaction system which will survive the continuation of the fusion process. Always requires much more power input from the outside world than the nuclear fusion yield produces.
Easy to do at low levels. (a few watts - output)
3. Self sustaining fusion reaction -
A fusion reaction which, once started with seed energy, will "self sustain" without any further input of energy from the outside except the continuous supply of the nuclear fuel to keep the reaction alive. Outside energy input would, of course, still be allowed and needed to contain and confine the reaction, but to be practical, this energy would have to be a tiny fraction of the output energy from the device.
A common fission reactor is a good example. It requires hundreds of thousands of watts to operate pumps, valves, heaters, computers, controls, motors, etc. Once started however, the reactor will power itself and have a few hundred megawatts left over for electrical consumers. This is a self sustained type of reaction with net output.
So far....Impossible to do.
Don't read too much into the Fusor. It is a fusion device which can be made on the cheap, work on your kitchen table, and supply neutrons.
None of these things can be said for any other of the classic fusion reactors.
There are advances to be made in all areas of fusion research.