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: A really small Star in a Jar, sonoluminescence.
Date: Dec 05, 09:27 am
Poster: Joshua Resnick

On Dec 05, 09:27 am, Joshua Resnick wrote:


I recently read a Popular Science article titled "Star in a Jar" about the phenomenon of sonoluminescence (that funky little flashing light that can be produced by exciting water with ultrasound) . Well the theory goes that it is caused by the sudden implosion of a 50 um gas bubble. They claim that spectral analysis says the bubble is over 10,000 degrees Celsius. Pressure, heat, the perfect environment for a fusion reaction, correctol? So some water with deuterium was used and tested for neutron output. The calculations said that if they "were to tile the world with these SL devices ... and they generated thermonuclear fusion for an hour, all the energy put together would be able to heat a cup of water one degree". Sound promising? Don't get me wrong here, any new fusion research is good research, unfortunately, this one seems like a lame duck. Well the story gets even better. They brought one of these chambers under the mountains of Brigham Young University in Utah (Philo was probably rolling over in his grave for this one) and they tested it for neutron output for a week with no success. So here is the point and my reason for the seemingly smug attitude toward the article.
I have found the subject of sonoluminescence interesting from the time I heard about it three years ago. It is a very cool thing. Vibrate some water and light comes out. However, the research is pretty convincing that this technology will have nothing to do with future fusion solutions, yet the article was almost totally about fusion and how promising this technology is for fusion applications. They could have went on more deeply about the chemistry applications and physics behind the phenomenon, instead they rambled on about fusion and laser confinement. So it seems that people eat up news about fusion. People think fusion is clean, which it is to some extent when compared to fission. People know that working fusion power will be a very important technology when it eventually happens, if it was small enough for a spacecraft it would be a scientific wonder of the world.
We all know how astounding the output of working Fusor's can be as a switchable neutron source. Considerable fusion occurs in these chambers, and it is the only machine that can do it for less than a few million dollars. So, logic dictates, if there is any promising fusion technology (other than the Tokamak which is plagued by its enormous costs) it is the Fusor. Perhaps more mainstream attention would be good for the Fusor. Enough attention to the subject and someone is bound to pick up a higher level Fusor program!

Joshua Resnick