Still alive

Every fusor and fusion system seems to need a vacuum. This area is for detailed discussion of vacuum systems, materials, gauging, etc. related to fusor or fusion research.
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Adam Szendrey
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Still alive

Post by Adam Szendrey » Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:25 pm

Yup, i'm still in business :).

What you see in the pictures is the vac. station i'll be using. It was sitting in the lab for five years, collecting dust (and apparently a lot of dry leafage from a plant that was sitting on top of the whole pile). With the help of the teacher who lends me the stuff, i cleaned it up a bit.

Then we had to put one of the electric valves in, the other way it was originally, as it's shutter was not at the suction side (towards the diff. pump). You can see that in the first shot the valve is installed the other way around, it's fixed in the second.

Also note, that the red coolant hose (outlet) coming from the top of the diff. pump (has an additional cooling cap on it, probably a trap), is replaced by a transparent(ish) hose in the second... That's because the original hose started leaking the moment water started flowing through it..or rather out from it. It's material was old ,and was simply falling apart from the slightest stress.

Finally, we capped off two open ports and fired up the rotary pump to see if it works...it works flawlessly. Then my teacher had to run, and i also had an appointment.
Next task will be testing the diff. pump, and hooking up a couple of instruments onto the gauges, to see how well the setup performs.
Then my chamber will be hooked up onto the system, and we'll test if it is suitable for this kind of work at all.

It took a little fiddling to make my baseplate connections compatible with the system, but as you can see i have managed. The capoff on the left connector (on the right in the second image) is not yet screwed in place. I'm planning to install a needle valve there. The chamber will be hooked up, at the port you see near the electric valve on the left, in the second image. Btw, the setup has two Pirani gauges and a Penning gauge (covered by a bluish cylinder). If req'd i can install additional vacuum gauges, there are plenty lying around in the lab (they don't use them at all).
A bit old, a bit dirty, a bit rusty, but it seems to work quite well :).

Adam
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Adam Szendrey
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Re: Still alive

Post by Adam Szendrey » Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:34 pm

Today, the diff. pump has been tested (remember, the whole system hasn't been used for 5 years). It pulled down to around 1e-5 Torr, at it's intake (chamber was not connected). After being turned off, pressure risen to 0.5 microns in about 10-15 minutes, as the diff. cooled down, and stabilized there, as long as the rotary was on. Tomorrow i'll try to test the chamber. Here are two shots:
The support of the chamber is rather crude i admit :P. Any comments?


DaveC
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Re: Still alive

Post by DaveC » Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:56 am

Adam - looks to be good, solid, equipment. Some years ago, I obtained a complete rough/diffusion/system from a former company, that had not been operated for a number of years, too. It only took a day or two of running before it was quite well behaved.

The nice part about vacuum systems is that if they have been valved off, the exterior dirt is of no consequence. Once you get the adsorbed water out, it should be good to at least 10 -6 Torr, I'd estimate.

We will be looking forward to lots of interesting work from your part of the net.

Dave Cooper

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Adam Szendrey
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Re: Still alive

Post by Adam Szendrey » Thu Mar 30, 2006 5:51 am

Thanks Dave. Two ports were left without a capoff for all those years, so probably a lot of moisture has been absorbed.

Adam

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Adam Szendrey
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Re: Still alive

Post by Adam Szendrey » Thu Mar 30, 2006 10:11 am

Today, i have tested the chamber. The rotary pulled it down to around 15 microns (and stayed there for an hour), then i turned on the diff. pump, and after the heatup time the pressure dropped sharply...problem is the cable i wanted to use for the Penning gauge was in use , and i couldn't find another, so i have no idea how deep the diff. pulled the chamber. I'll find that out next week. Until then i have other matters to attend to.

Adam

Q
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Re: Still alive

Post by Q » Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:45 pm

hi adam,
sounds like you've got a good vacuum station to work with.
hopefully it'll work well for you. i hope to see some exciting furion experiments in that chamber!

Q

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Richard Hull
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Re: Still alive

Post by Richard Hull » Thu Mar 30, 2006 3:38 pm

Very nice work! In the same vien of what Dave said, I think looks are for visitors only. Regardless of physical appearance, it is the result that feeds th' bulldog. Limited funds often force a certain Spartan look to our systems. I am sure that you now realize, that you have conquered the most difficult obstacle to amateur fusion.

The vacuum system is an exercise and torture that must be endured and expense that must be borne. The rest is just trim work if you are just looking to achieve first fusion.

In surmounting each new hurdle and involving yourself in each new technology, you learn in a dynamic fashion far outside any value found in a college passman's classroom. But, hey, I am singing to the choir here. The bottom line is learn what you need to learn to "git' r done" This also includes a lot of reading and formal classroom time for the young members.

You are now well postioned to start forging new atoms from deuterium.

Thanks for sharing and keeping all of us in the loop.

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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Adam Szendrey
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Re: Still alive

Post by Adam Szendrey » Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:17 pm

Thanks for the kind, and reassuring words guys :).
The next step is to get some glow in there, just for the eyes :). Then i'll try to get together a decent power supply, and fiddle around with the operation of the fusor. Then , i'll need to obtain some D2O so i can finally put those Pd tubes, Roberto gave me so kindly, to work. Ofcourse the measurement devices are still non-existent, and they need to be obtained or built from scratch. But all in good time :).
And ofcourse, needless to say, but i would be nowhere without all the help i get here...

Adam

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Richard Hull
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Re: Still alive

Post by Richard Hull » Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:56 pm

I highly recommend the glow mode as it will really bouy your spirit and, in its best iteration in "star mode", will urge you forward to also grab the neutrons and achieve fusion.

As I have said, many times, several hours over several nights with just you, your demo fusor and the plasma in a dark room will teach you volumes as you vary the pressure, voltage, and move a super magnet around the chamber from the outside.

This is better training than reading all the books out there on plasmas and ionization. To make this happen you will need full voltage and current readings as well as an accurate vacuum pressure readout.

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.

DaveC
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Re: Still alive

Post by DaveC » Thu Mar 30, 2006 10:05 pm

Let me add my nod of the head to what Richard has written. The initial experience of producing the contralized glow, and learning what governs it size, color and even shape... it invaluable.

It also gets others (your prof) excited.

To this I would add, the importance of learning to formulate from physical theory and your own understanding, what results you would expect for the next experiment. This is process of true science. It is the formulation of a theory, and validation (or not) of that theory by experiement and testing.

All too often, we fall into the slippery rut of building and doing things without a clear idea of what to expect. We are all different in mind-set, but the commonality of the scientific process is the theory-experiment revision- repeat cycle.

This really is valuable to focus your studies, and goals in school and career. You learn to stick your neck out theoretically speaking and then find out what survives the hammering and pounding on natures "anvil".

Carry on... !!

Dave Cooper

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