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: Non-Thermonuclear neutrons-"Splitting"
Date: Aug 09, 3:44 pm
Poster: Richard Hull

On Aug 09, 3:44 pm, Richard Hull wrote:

to anyone who can shed light...

In a number of books and in some conversations over the last three years, I have heard of "splitting", That is non-Fusion neutrons coming from deuterium plasmas.

In the most recent book on the history of fusion, all of the early devices in the 50's produce what the author termed non- thermonuclear neutrons. paraphrasing several entries in the book...' The early systems could not achieve the temperature needed to do fusion but, from the edges of the plasma reaction came neutrons.'

The author is no physicist, but hopefully faithfully relayed interview results from the original parties.

Here we go again.

What energy level or conditions cause splitting? (deuterium). I was assured by a physicist at CEBAF that a simple fusor could not achieve splitting off of the deuteron's neutron at the low voltages we were using.

Were the early stellarators and Zeta pinch type machines not developing a full voltage across their plasmas or was the maxwellian tail of the hottest ions so small that fusion was that unlikely? I just can't believe this of those big boy scientists!

The simple fusor is a continuous, non-pulsed device with a DC impressed, measurable voltage across it (plasma). The device is not strictly maxwellian as the reactions are taking place in velocity space. Simple logic forces us to realize that deuterons created near the shell and accelerated to the inner grid, un-impeded, must arrive at the full potential. Likewise, over two times and up to four times the Ke of particle energy is present in head-ons with like particles.

As stated before, such collisions are very rare and volume in the form of higher density or gas pressures assure a decent though relatively tiny fraction of accelerated deuterons do achieve this desired state and the d-d cross section demands some fusion!

Is the fusor doing fusion or splitting. Scott Little and myself went round and round on solving this puzzle, but no one we talked to or queried had a clue. Questions posted to the Princeton fusion "answer man" forum went unanswered. We finally, after consistently failing to pin down either the situation or energy levels at which real splitting occurs, accepted the research particle physicist's assurances that we did not have the muscle to split neuts off of deuterons.

The idea comes to mind that with a sensitive enough RGA a hydrogen content check could be made of a D2 charged fusor chamber prior to a run. If the only the hydrogen level rose significantly or in statistical agreement with neutron counts, then we would be seeing only splitting.

If, however, the tritium level rose along with the hydrogen level and He3 then we would be fusing. This again, has got to be the difinitive test for fusion in any device if splitting is as common in plasmas as a few would have us believe.

We certainly seem to be in the cross section corridor for thermonuclear d-d fusion to really happen in the fusor, albeit pitiably poor per unit accelerated mass. It should be remembered that those early maxwellian fusion machines used much lower pressure reactions than we do, also.

Any data on this out there????

Any comments???

Richard Hull