Fusion Message Board

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: ruminations on break-even
Date: Feb 25, 4:35 pm
Poster: Jim Lux

On Feb 25, 4:35 pm, Jim Lux wrote:

>I've been thinking a lot about what stands between the current state of fusors and break-even.

As have many others. I don't have it here in front of me, but Chacon, et.al. wrote a paper assessing some of the engineering issues with a breakeven fusor, which, as you note, would be on the order of a meter, at lower pressures, etc.

And, even if it just an intellectual exercise (most of us aren't going to be putting a 1 meter vacuum chamber in any time soon), working out what the physics limits and engineering limits helps to better define what good small scale experiments might be. From this comes good and useful science; not that it's not fun just to tinker.

For instance, if you identify that in a breakeven scale machine, the grid would have to dissipate a certain amount of power (from ion impact), you can measure dissipations in a smaller unit (preferably several, of various sizes), and determine if your proposed scaling laws are correct.

I'd love it if someone would conjure up a little spreadsheet with some of the operational parameters (like voltages, currents, gas pressures, etc.) that would allow fast playing with the various configurations. I've done some of it: I have EXCEL lookup functions for DD and DT cross sections (if someone has data for other reactions like p-B11, I'd be happy to massage it)
I also have a spreadsheet that looks at transparency and beam collision angle effects.

Sometimes, great insight can come from just rejiggering the numbers around and around.