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: Farnsworth and Hirsch
Date: Aug 17, 00:05 am
Poster: Richard Hull

On Aug 17, 00:05 am, Richard Hull wrote:

>Thanks Richard, I needed to confirm the facts and I'm glad you have them.
>So did Dr. Hirsch think that the IEC could some day break even, or better yet did he ever think he could have done it with his IEC's if he had been given more time?


I think Bob realized the limitations of all the designs, but felt that with better funding, a concerted effort and some careful study that fusion on a demonstably efficient level could be achieved. Breakeven? I would say he would give a qualified yes to that. Self sustaining, probably a bit much to hope for.

He noted that the area of plasma physics is still as close to black magic as it gets. Plasmas are real complicated and simple extapolation from low power experiments is a no-no.

He commented that the idea and proof of concept has to come first and a small unit would lead the way, but never break even. He also noted that the problem with the old magnetic confinement fusion was one of sheer size. The thing was way bigger than in needed to be due to the auxiliary stuff required outside of the actual reaction volume. That volume was small, but an aircraft hangar sized building was needed to hold all the support stuff and costs quickly hit the 10 billion range for a failed idea.

Bob further said the IEC concept avoids this and the maxwellian limitations found in the tokomaks. The Princeton folks have a problem with the fact that the plasma relaxes and goes maxwellian. They are left with only the hottest few deuterons out on the tail to do fusion. Bob said the IEC device is a constantly stressed plasma with no relaxation phase in the reaction zone (poissor) as in the tokomak.

Bob made a key statement that he is a "oneliner" guy and loves poweful one liners which speak volumes. This being said, he gave me a oneliner which sums his considered thoughts on why the IEC concept is workable. "It is fusion done in VELOCITY SPACE". I am no physicist or plasma guru, but I plan on understanding what is meant by velocity space. He noted the concept was not trivial.

He believes in the viability of IEC fusion, YES!


>Oh, thanks for setting me streight on the tritium issue, it clarifies a major delema I have with some ITT stories.


Some checking of my notes here at home tonight shows that the license (an AEC Radio Nuclide permit with tritium rider) was held and administered by a researcher in the Spectroscopy lab at the Fort wayne operation by the name of Howard Leiter whose boss was Don Coles. Neither of these fellows were team members or in anyway involved with the team.

Leiter had no tritium on site, nor ever used any for any purpose, whatsoever, as it turns out. The team came to him after learning of his license and had him special order it from a government reactor facility (unknown which one.) The shipment came in several 10 curie ampoules.

The group's Eberline neutron counters were calibrated on site with there own 1 curie radium-beryllium source which provided a calibrated 10E5 neutrons/sec at a specified short distance. This puppy is still around somewhere, just pumping out the precise same measured neutron flux!! Gee I wish I had that!

Richard Hull