FAQ - The Sun versus the Fusor

It may be difficult to separate "theory" from "application," but let''s see if this helps facilitate the discussion.
Quantum
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Re: FAQ - The Sun versus the Fusor

Post by Quantum » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:56 am

Following on from what Kevin has said, Newtonian physics (gravity, mass, inertia, F=MA, etc) has been around for as long as charge and magnetism (maybe longer), yet we know far less about the mechanisms of gravity and mass than we do about charge or magnetism.

Personally, I'm extremely interested in what they are trying to do at CERN, trying to investigate the 'nature' of gravity.

Also that when mass changes velocity, photons are produced.

While charge and magnetism are 'wavelike', ie fields, and photons are also wavelike, and gravity also exerts a 'field', mass is 'percieved' as being something completely different, yet there has been no 'serious' attempt to explain what gives matter the property of 'mass'. It's just something that seems to be 'taken for granted', without an attempt to explain it.

(I realise I'm probably leaving myself wide open to attack here, but what gives matter the property of mass?)

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Richard Hull
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Re: FAQ - The Sun versus the Fusor

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:29 pm

Just back from the wars.......

Quote from my original post above...."Much quibbling, erudite point making and general trolling is possible about solar boundries, burnable mass, etc., but the above facts are what scientists have quoted as the accepted energy, diameter, volume and mass so it's what I am rolling with."

Oh how true it was.......... troll on......
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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Doug Coulter
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Re: FAQ - The Sun versus the Fusor

Post by Doug Coulter » Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:03 pm

Hopefully not a troll, but here I think we're doing it a lot differently than the sun does it, and so the comparison may not be worth a whole lot.

The sun is getting all this pushed together via gravity, we are not.

The sun has a gradient due to density of the various elements in it, we don't.

As far as I know we know (can I say that?) the sun is purely thermal, there's no directed aiming of this at that -- the energy of each particle is more or less equipartitioned between all available degrees of freedom, in a fusor, the particles are mostly "cold" but have a lot of velocity along just one vector per particle.

The sun has a feedback mechanism we don't -- IIRC it takes a long time for energy created near the center to make it out -- many times each photon hits something and gives up energy, to be re radiated later on (in general in a random direction). A fusor is so tenuous that this is very unlikely.

The sun can and does use more different reactions than we do, some of which are a lot harder to get, but they happen anyway due to the high energy density, and just plain density.

Thus a straight up comparison is pointless. We had better be doing better than a clumped ball of gas can do, even though we lack that nifty gravity well. We have something better if we set it up right, gravity is a very weak force compared to Coulomb and nuclear forces.
Why guess when you can know? Measure!

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Richard Hull
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Re: FAQ - The Sun versus the Fusor

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:43 pm

This whole comparison was a fusion reactor versus fusion reactor comparison and had no bearing on the manner or form of fusion, how done, when done or by what process.

It was all about efficiency related to two working systems that do fusion. Mass of fuel contained versus energy out. (Fuel use efficiency)

Also it compared volumetric effeciencies, nothing more. Very clear results were stated.

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.

Chris Roberts
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Re: FAQ - The Sun versus the Fusor

Post by Chris Roberts » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:02 am

Richard, thanks for the FAQ, I for one really enjoyed the comparison. I see it as the engineer's way of looking at things rather than the physicist's. More of a "but what does it ultimately do" rather than a "but how does it actually work" sort of comparison.

Oddly enough, I think I will be using the less-impressive volumetric comparison more often, as when showing others the fusor it will be a perfect way of helping visualize what this gadget is actually doing. Simply put, if you were able to shrink the sun down to the same size as this device, the mini sun would be cranking out roughly 200 times more power. (That is assuming of course I can match Richard's neutron numbers. ) So, it is not going to solve our energy problems, it is not going to explode, but it is a fascinating machine that can actually bottle a weak, miniature star...ish...thing.

-Chris

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