Columbus-I Pinch Tube Build

This forum is for other possible methods for fusion such as Sonolumenescense, Cold Fusion, CANR/LENR or accelerator fusion. It should contain all theory, discussions and even construction and URLs related to "other than fusor, fusion".
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Mark Rowley
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Re: Columbus-I Pinch Tube Build

Post by Mark Rowley » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:38 am

The Project Sherwood book by Bishop is definitely an educational read. Richard, I believe it was you who mentioned it sometime in the mid to earlier 2000's which piqued my interest to the point of getting a copy.

Patrick Lindecker
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Re: Columbus-I Pinch Tube Build

Post by Patrick Lindecker » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:18 am

Thanks Rex and Mark for both links (abstract and 70 Mbytes PDF). It seems interesting and a lot to read.

Patrick

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Richard Hull
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Re: Columbus-I Pinch Tube Build

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:34 pm

A very wise man, Mark.... A large number of folks, especially newbies just seem to refuse to read up extensively on the history of fusion. The bulk of ideas that tend to bubble up here are just hair-brained the rest have pretty much already been tried and failed. What is the old saying..."if you don't know history, you may be doomed to repeat it".

Certainly, making a fusor is just repeating what has already been done over and over again, but it is a conscious decision to do so, a learning moment and an opening to a much broader, hands-on, experience with fusion. Only a fool would think they are going to push it or use it as anything more than a stepping stone, if they really are interested in moving on beyond its capabilities.

So far, zero-point-zero folks here who have made and operated a Farnsworth fusor have pushed out way beyond the fusor. Some of the younger set may have gone on to college and are "in th' biz" for cash and glory, but still zip in the "fusion for real" biz. Not one watt of electrical generation for real use has taken place. What was once ancient history in the fusion biz is now pretty again, (Stellarator), while the latest wonderments, (NIF), is just another shot in the dark that missed. So far, in the world of useful fusion, we have monster projects spread over many acres of land, all have monster budgets and spending and not one of the folks in the biz who claim they reached over unity has bothered to heat a little bit of water and turn a "tom thumb" generator to light a light bulb. I realize this would be stupid, but then that very act would make me unable to claim 0.0 electrical generation.

The now much storied fission "water boiler" in the 40's generated real electricity, fission electrically powered submarines, a Russian 40 megawatt power station supplied fission electricity to an entire city and a United States fission reactor powered the town of Argo all before 1956 just 11 years after the atomic bomb. Where is fusion? Still lying on its face in the dirt....still trying to get up.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Dennis P Brown
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Re: Columbus-I Pinch Tube Build

Post by Dennis P Brown » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:38 pm

I built a small magnetic "mirror" machine as my senor project in college. It was very instructive but my diagnostics were far too primitive and few to get meaningful results - I simply had a scintillation detector to 'see' back-scattering ions. The key to any such machine are diagnostics so I'd follow the advice of some here on that issue. Neutrons, however, are of little use since the point of any such ion 'trap' is measuring the ability to hold the ions, and neutrons flux will provide little meaningful feed-back on that aspect of your machine.

That all said, the building of your device is, of itself, a worthy goal and I hope you both continue and post your progress.

As for successful fusion (not even talking break-even, here) in any near time-frame, zero chance of that even as billions are wasted on many projects. While the German stellarator is certainly the best current device and very successful for what it is trying to do, it uses no tritium and isn't meant to do any real fusion. If it continues on its excellent path, and achieves its goals, certainly that shows some interesting promise - but as Richard very correctly points out, that is still zero energy.

The Germans would, if they get their final goal and finish successfully, want to build a true proto-type power reactor that would likely (again, if they manage to build it) achieve well above true net power (a 'if' but not a stretch like most all other ideas/approaches.)

However, regardless of that I am deeply concerned about the cost to build, not the physics of their Stellarator. While their current machine cost around a billion dollars, then by the cube law, and considering shielding for the magnet's (meaning far larger still) a real proto-type would likely cost well over over nine billion in today's dollars - so, ten years from now, likely much more.

Then if that worked (that is really getting very questionable speculation now) that would indicate that a real power plant would far exceed that cost. In other words, even if real fusion was achieved, its cost based on currently 'best' physics approach - i.e. the stellarator design - would cost, at a minimum, three to five times the currently hideously expensive fission plants. How does that in any way make economic sense for a giga-watt plant?

Sadly, even if fusion is possible via the only realistic mode anyone has really studied (no, tokamak's are not really useful devices - besides making stellatators look moderately priced, their basic physics is terrible for any power production), fusion energy on earth simply can't be useful in the time frames that it really would be most critical - the next fifty years. So, basically, Richard is spot on even if current progress does (again, if) continue successfully.

For those interested, here is a site for the latest news relative to the German Stellarator:

https://phys.org/news/2018-11-peak-stel ... sults.html

It is very promising but as I said, cost is the only issue that really matters in the real world once one does get past the physics problems. There is no engineering approach that can help so I simply see no viable approach to fusion energy in any realistic time frame that matters to humanity.

With the terrible damage of AGW even now becoming fully apparent (and ignoring its far greater disastrous effects within the next fifty years as the Earth's equatorial regions become impossible for human life without AC) it is tragic that the Candu fission reactor is being completely ignored as a very safe, and extremely low carbon power source.

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Richard Hull
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Re: Columbus-I Pinch Tube Build

Post by Richard Hull » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:21 pm

Candu is a nice system but demands huge amount of heavy water. However this would not be an obstacle if the world got serious about heavy water production.

The reality for any nuclear generational source that proves itself real and viable is cost as Dennis notes. I have harped on the bean counter being the final arbiter in any final scenario.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Mark Rowley
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Re: Columbus-I Pinch Tube Build

Post by Mark Rowley » Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:01 am

Dennis,
It would be best to flat-out abandon all hope for any power producing fusion machines in our (or anyone else's) life time on this forum. There's no "sadly" in my book. There's a "it would be nice to have" and I feel most of the old guard here are quite content knowing our efforts here are fun and highly educational pastimes. For me, I love history and the technical / scientific era between the late 1800's and 1960. I can read and study the vintage concepts for hours and be quite content...content knowing their fusion efforts were in earnest, but of limited use and in no way will achieve the ultimate goal.

Just enjoy the hobby.

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Richard Hull
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Re: Columbus-I Pinch Tube Build

Post by Richard Hull » Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:55 am

Yes, the early work was in deadly seriousness. The researchers were earnest and serious and made great use of often relatively limited funds of the period. Sherwoood was bathed in secrecy, (cold war). Finally, realizing that fusion was no big deal and not going to happen due to the major early efforts, they just opened the books to the world in an effort to share, (open source), and get others looking into fusion and reverse sharing.

The Russians really made some strides with their tokamak and we did a monkey- see-monkey-do trying to improve it.........seemingly forever and without end.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

Rex Allers
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Re: Columbus-I Pinch Tube Build

Post by Rex Allers » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:03 pm

Richard, thanks for the mention of obtaining the actual Project Sherwood book. I decided to look. My first search results pointed to places like Amazon that had recent, paper-back printings for ~$60 or more. Next day I tried a shorter search and found some with better prices.

Some listings that looked good were on alibris.com. I never used them before but decided to go for an original 1958 hard-cover for < $9 including shipping. It came in less than a week. Very clean ex college-library book.

Book is small, 6-1/4 x 9-1/4 x 3/4", 216 pages. Chapter 1 is 14 pages, looks like a nice straight-forward intro to basic fusion principles. Some Appendix with good reference info. Rest of book looks like interesting accessible descriptions of what was going on at the time.

Here's a link to their current listings at various but affordable prices.
https://www.alibris.com/Project-Sherwoo ... ?matches=9#
Rex Allers

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Richard Hull
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Re: Columbus-I Pinch Tube Build

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:21 pm

As always, in specific titled, used books, prices range from a pittance to grossly and embarrassingly over priced. I tend to use ABE American Book Exchange and it has similar ranges of low prices to exorbitant in their listings. A number of the books are sent postage free.

I have amassed a rather fabulous scientific, but mostly nuclear library. I have even indulged myself with a few special first editions.

As with all such books there are a few that I just constantly go to for reference as they are the best of the best and always tend to contain just what I have questions about. I typically have a pristine copy bought and retained for my formal library. (10-40 dollar range). I also deliberately buy a rather ratty copy to keep in my two shelf lab library. ($5-$15 max) These poor copies have my yellow highlighting, oil soaked, smudged finger prints and glued-on tabs for quick access marring them forever, but ready for use in the highly active lab area.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Mark Rowley
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Re: Columbus-I Pinch Tube Build

Post by Mark Rowley » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:15 am

Just a quick update on the pinch tube progress.
Working out some minor vacuum leaks, awaiting delivery on some supplies (metering valve, fittings, etc), building the spark gap, and determining the best course on the 30kv capacitor charging supply. The Fusor power supply is out of the question as I don't want to risk killing my xray transformers; especially since I have another fusor project starting up. I have a 60ma 20kv transformer (35 lbs of core) and a 14.4kv 5kva pole pig as possible starter resources. No hurry but a ways yet to go.

Mark Rowley

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