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: Fusion Reactions
Date: Jul 26, 10:02 am
Poster: Richard Hull

On Jul 26, 10:02 am, Richard Hull wrote:

>In school we are taught that fusion reactions release a tremendious amount of energy. If you people are doing real fusion, why can't you even get 1W output? I have a certain feeling that my teachers have once again been full of baloney. :)


The fusion we do (d-d) in our amateur fusors occurs at a rate of hundreds of thousands of fusions per second and are split equally among two reactions. While not totally equal in energy output, the average is on the order of 4-6 million electron volts per fusion. That would make just under a trillion (10e12) electron volts of energy released in a simple fusor each second. A lot of kick butt reaction, Huh? No not at all.

A paper clip falling off a 3 foot tall desk expends about one quintillion (10e18) electron volts of energy as it hits the floor. So a good running amateur fusor can add up to the paper clip fall in energy output after 1 million seconds of run time. (11.5 days!)

The scientists like to use big numbers to boost prestige and allow for big budgets. Energies in nuclear physics are always expressed in electron volts which is an inconceivably tiny amount of energy. Likewise, the fusion reaction temperature is often given in millions or billions of degrees kelvin and is another slight of hand joke played on the public who knows a turkey is well done at 450 degrees, so billions of degrees is quite a feat. They imagine an incredibly hot all vaporizing oven. In actuallity, the reaction takes place in a rather cold, benign plasma. (as our senses would relate it.)

You gotta' fuse a lot faster to get a watt. A simple fusor producing 100,000 fusion reactions each second would have to operate for a about 1000 days to give off a watt-second of energy. All this would require an input energy of 4 megawatt hours of electrical input energy.

You can take it from there and gather what you will about not only our efforts, but about the probability of realizable, cost efficient fusion power in the near future.

By the way the big boys with the billion dollar fusion projects are fibbing when they claim break even fusion figured over the 0.1 second time frames. They never figure in all the support equipment power needed to have a go at fusion, only the absolute current and voltage working the plasma itself. Real clever...., and they get away with it at budget time, too. Words like breakeven, billions of degrees and trillions of electron volts never fail to impress congressional funding guys.

Richard Hull