F.I.C.S. Fusion a new concept in fusion

It may be difficult to separate "theory" from "application," but let''s see if this helps facilitate the discussion.
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Steven Sesselmann
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Re: F.I.C.S. Fusion a new concept in fusion

Post by Steven Sesselmann » Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:55 pm

James,

Thanks for the encouraging words. To me it doesn't actually feel as if I am applying any new laws of physics, electrical potential is a relative concept, and transposing ones frame of reference is and always has been allowed. What I have done is simply taking it to the limit, and asked the questions "What if" and "Why not". For some reason these questions are almost discouraged in academic institutions, where the senior staff believe they know everything there is to understand.

So what if, the electron and the proton were at opposite ends of the electric potential scale?

... the next obvious question is

Why wouldn't they be at opposite ends of the electrical potential scale?

....the next question is..

Where are we (the observers) on the electrical potential scale?

...answer

Somewhere in between, the proton and the electrons potential, but how do we know where?

This is where I think the nuclear reactions give us a hint, because some nuclei decay up and some decay down, with Ni62 being the point of lowest potential. This looks to me as the potential closest to what we call ground potential.

Now take the mass of Ni62, and divide it by the number of nucleons, then multiply it with C^2 and that's what we call ground potential. Somewhere in the order of 900 Mev and falling.

I suspect time itself is the slippery path down the potential energy ladder, and that it is the unavoidable decay of the matter we stand on that governs the passage of time. Much like a giant clock spring unwinding.

Humanities greed for energy, only makes the spring unwind faster. What we are trying to do with fusion, is to make it unwind a bit faster, without completely loosing control of it.

We should probably not be doing it, and let nature unwind the spring at it's own pace.

Solar energy and geothermal energy are natural sources of energy that are beyond our control, and if given our full attention, could be exploited to sustain humanity, albeit in a different way than the current lifestyle demands.

Smart architecture and town planning could support a large population with a fraction of the energy we use now.

My five cents worth...

Steven
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Chris Bradley
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Re: F.I.C.S. Fusion a new concept in fusion

Post by Chris Bradley » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:11 pm

I find your descriptions of the physical world intriguing, but the element of them that I find it difficult to work with is that you seem to define potentials on an 'absolute' scale, with respect to a ground potential.

Of course, we *can* describe 'ground' as the state of charge neutrality, but beyond that I do not see how your theory connects up fusion probability with 'absolute electrical potential'. Well, OK, I read the words, but it's not clear to me because I can only envisage fusion rates in relation to the 'relative kinetic energies' of the fusing particles.

If it was simply down to the 'electrical potential' alone, then you could go hang a lecture bottle of deuterium on the nearest 500kV transmission line, and call it a fusion reactor!

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Re: F.I.C.S. Fusion a new concept in fusion

Post by Steven Sesselmann » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:20 pm

Dan,

Reading your first paragraph, it sounds as if you are referring to STAR instead of FICS.

FICS is what I am working on now, and it differs from STAR in two ways.

1) It is a single ended accelerator

2) I am attempting to ceate the ions in the cathode rather than externally in an ion gun.

(see attached diagram)

Plasma behavior inside hollow cathodes has been well documented, and sheaths form against the cold wall, this in turn creates a build up of charge in the center. The cold wall is permeable to electrons, but not to protons, so the hotter the plasma gets, the more electrons are pushed out of the plasma and through the cold wall, leaving a net positive charge.

The big IF, is weather or not I will be able to keep the plasma hot. If not, plan B might be to try something like Carls RF heating, but to do it at cathode potential.

From my experience with STAR, I suspect the FICS reactor will sustain a plasma at much higher pressures than a regular fusor, rather than 10 micron, I think it will sustain a plasma and burn at 80 to 100 micron pressure. Time will show...

Steven

Image: The diagram is shows the cathode with approximate electrostatic field lines. the tiny hole on top of the cathode is the gas inlet, coming from a gas cylinder which is floating at cathode potential. Floating the fuel is not itself important, what is important is to ionize, ie separate the electron from the proton at cathode potential. But how to get the gas into the cathode, you can't simply run a pipe through a 100 kev potential?
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Re: F.I.C.S. Fusion a new concept in fusion

Post by Dan Tibbets » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:29 pm

Well, that would eliminate some of my confusion.

Concerning a polarized plasma where the electrons accumulate near the hollow cathode surface and ions are left in the center to forma net positive space charge, how are the ions contained. There is no central virtual cathode, only a repulsive central vertual anode. I suppose there would be a zone between where the ions might find a minimal point in the opposing potential wells, but it seems that between the central virtual anode and the periferal virtual(?) and real cathode, that the ions would quickly stream to the solid cathode. Any charge build up would be minimal and such things as the Brillion limit(?) would preclude any useful fusion density. How you would get densities (irregardless of the amount of energy pumped into the system) that could result in 10^14 fusions/ second in such a small volume seems incredable. Of course the Brillion limit is apparently not an absolute limit, there may be workarounds such as the Polywell claims, and other research.

I suppose you could get such fusion rates if you pump in enough energy to maintain a ion density against heavy losses. Breakeven may not be possible, but it might make an impressive neutron source.

And, of course "heavy electrons" changres things considerably IF they exist and are not just an abstraction to describe what happens in some circuits.

Also, the hollow sphere looks like it might obey Gauss's Law to a fair degree. I think that would preclude the trapping of the electrons before they reached the cathode wall. Using the Elmore Tuck Watson design, the open grid traps electrons by pulling them back inside the grid once they have reached radii outside of the grid. Gauss Law precludes any effect on the electrons (or ions) within the positive grid. Only when the charged particles pass to greater radii or hit the grid is there an effect (acceleration).

After saying all this I admit that there are strange layers and complex relationships and dynamics in Fusor like devices, so your insights may be more applicable than my ... um...understanding. As you say, the experiment will tell.

Dan Tibbets

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Re: F.I.C.S. Fusion a new concept in fusion

Post by Steven Sesselmann » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:43 pm

Chris,

Well I think we often forget to include ourselves in the equation. We like to calculate numbers around the event itself. We consider the two particles, their mass and their velocity, but pay little or no attention to number one, "the observer". You are the third element in the equation. Einstein paid attention to this and sorted out quite a few problems in his time.

Electrical potential and potential energy might turn out to be the same and it is not an absolute scale, rather it is a scale which is relative to you the observer.

We already know where on that scale we are because mc^2 simply describes the total potential energy. by dividing the mass m by the number of nucleons in the mass, we get the energy for one elementary charge or the proton if you like.

And it turns out that proton has a mass of 0.938 Gev. but when bound inside a heavier atom, the mass of the nucleon is slightly less, this is because it has fallen to a lower potential, by fusing with other protons.

So what we call ground potential is a potential somewhat lower than that of the proton, but nowhere near as low as the electron.

The proton and the electron therefore represent the extreme asymptotes of the potential energy scale with respect to the observer, and when we now compare the mass of the electron to the mass of the proton, we see that the potential of our own body is much closer to that of the proton than that of the electron. This is a good thing, as it means we have some time to go before we hit rock bottom

As for your other question:

"If it was simply down to the 'electrical potential' alone, then you could go hang a lecture bottle of deuterium on the nearest 500kV transmission line, and call it a fusion reactor! "

Not so, because the laws of physics remain the same for any potential, the difference between your suggestion and the FICS reactor is that a) we are providing heat b) we are providing a route for the fusion product to escape.

Once again, there are three elements in your thought experiment, 1) the deuterium cylinder 2) the low voltage potential 3) the observer at ground potential

The coulomb barrier height is a function of relative potential, and were you to hang your deuterium bottle on a low voltage wire that was -0.938 Gev there would effectively be no coulomb barrier, but sadly there would also be no potential energy to extract from the fusing of nuclei.

Let me know if you feel I have suggested any inconsistencies when answering your question.

Steven
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Re: F.I.C.S. Fusion a new concept in fusion

Post by Steven Sesselmann » Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:49 am

Dan,

You raise a few questions and I do not pretend to have all the answers.

The vision I have for FICS, differs from the classical fusor in many ways. We have a hollow cathode at the end of an accelerator tube, and deuterium gas bleeding slowly into the cathode.

At some point it is inevitable that the gas pressure will build up until a plasma forms, I have seen these kinds of plasma on many occasions, it is typically a thermal plasma and it tends to form inside the cathode.

Now we have a thermal plasma happening inside the cathode, into which more gas flows in and becomes ionized, those molecules that loose their electrons inside the cathode have low potential energy, and are therefore trapped in the cathode, inevitably the temperature/pressure of the thermal plasma will rise, and rise ....

Once pressure reaches fusion temperatures there will be a number of ways that feedback can take place.

a) fusion nuclei striking the inner cathode will sputter electrons back into the plasma
b) x rays will reflect in the holraum and heat the plasma in the center
c) fusion nuclei may directly collide with gas molecules.

Keep in mind that FICS will most likely operate at much higher pressures than a regular fusor. The gas density inside the cathode may be in the orders of 100's of microns, making the mean free path much shorter. Another consideration is the size of the cathode, my current design with a 70 mm cathode may be far from optimum, it may be that the cathode interior needs to be in the order of several meters. That would possibly be a outside the practical limits for an amateur, but no challenge at all from an engineering point of view.

Once a continuous fusion reaction is taking place inside the cathode, electrons will due to the heat, be forced out of the plasma, through the cathode, and back up through the electrical circuit.

At least one of the positively charged particles from every fusion reaction, will find it's way to ground via the accelerator tube, thereby completing the electrical circuit.

For each positive charge climbing through a potential of 100 kev., the electron must fall through the same potential to join it, and this is what I hope we can exploit.

If hypothetically the reactor was running at 10^17 fusions per second and each reaction sent one positive charge to ground via a 10^5 volt potential then we would have the equivalent of 10^22 electron volts per second of electrical energy, which is about 1600 watts, plus of course a whole lot of heat.

Please feel free to point out if you think I have drawn any wrong conclusions.

Steven
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Re: F.I.C.S. Fusion a new concept in fusion

Post by JamesC » Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:21 pm

>For each positive charge climbing through a potential of 100 kev.,
> the electron must fall through the same potential to join it, and this
> is what I hope we can exploit

Right, so being a first principles kinda guy and without looking into the specific arrangement used a F.I.C.S this seems to be a nice idea as a building block for energy recovery from Fusion in general.

Right now you are assuming directionality but as an overall principle the idea of birthing ions in an energy well and using fusion to climb the potential well leaving their energy behind seems like a really efficient energy transfer mechanism from my naive point of view.

I have often wondered how to handle energy capture from fusion, as it stands you have to capture the neutron in some sort of thermal jacket and extract hot fusion products in some sort of hot gas with all of the energy transfer losses this implies.

I guess the neutron capture doesnt change but at least the hot fusion products could be forced to efficiently impart a good chunk of their energy when exiting the energy well. I guess in the end you would want to ramp up the potential from 100KeV to something closer to the minimum fusor product - whats that - He at .82Mev for DD fusion? and maybe figure out some sort of staged system to handle other products.

Nice.. if thats true as an energy recovery mechanism I might just have to figure a way to incorporate it into my (theoretical) design.

Cheers,
James

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Re: F.I.C.S. Fusion a new concept in fusion

Post by Dan Tibbets » Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:37 pm

I don't know why a your ion and electron energy transfer to a third entity, would be equal unless the system was in isolation- mo walls, no radiation . If an electron is accelerated to 100 KeV, it need not transfer this energy to an ion going in the opposite direction. Energy may be discharged as Bremsstrulung radiation, or most importantly the KE would be transferred to a wall and discharged as heat. If you have a very tignly coupled plasma- cold and very dense, the ions and electrons may transfer the energy between them nearly equally. But fusion plasmas are hot and less dense, so they are at most weakly coupled (coupling means that the local attraction between oppositely charged particles dominates over space charge effects).

You mention that as much as 1/2 of the fusion ions will pass through the hole and climb up a potential well and give u[p its energy to the circuit. This direct conversion may work (probably does) though not at 100% efficiency. 90% may be doing good. The major problem though is that the fusion ions are created with KE in an isotropic manner- traveling in random directions from the point of fusion. Most would hit the wall- in proportion to the surface areas of the hollow cathode walls and hole. The Polywell might work with direct conversion, especially with P-B11 or D-He3 fusion where most of the fusion energy may be in the KE of charged particles. But, there are two important points. First the random directions in the Polywell is converted by the cusp magnetic fields into fairly direction flows through cusps (they bounce around inside by being turned by the magnetic fields till they hit a cusp) Thus most of the fusion ions achieve controlled paths that allows for possibly efficient direct conversion. Even if the fusion ions bounce around inside the Polywell for a claimed ~ 1000- 10,000 times, their MFP is so long that they will only rarely collide with a fuel ion and transfer KE to the feul ions. There is insignificant heating by the fusion ions.
In the DPF these flows are also focused by magnetic fields and is also pulsed, so they have the additional option of direct conversion through an inductive (?) effect.
The second issue is that multiple MeV fusion ions have relatively low Coulomb crossections. If the MFP = ~ 1 cm for a 10 KeV fuel ion, then a 3 MeV fusion ion may have a MFP of ~ 100,000 cm. They will exit the system or hit a wall long before they impart significant KE to the fuel ions . These minimally interacting ions cannot heat a plasma unless their residence time / distance traveled is comparable with the confinement times. In Tokamaks, these fusion ions can heat the plasma because they are contained for relatively huge amounts of time (hundreds of seconds). This can be done with cuspless magnetic fields like in Tokamaks (at least in theory) but the confinement of these hot ions are brief in cusp machines (like Polywells, DPF, etc) and is even shorter in Fusors (essentially one pass). That is why Fusors, Polywells are not suitable for ignition efforts like in a Tokamak.
The potential well designed to accelerate and contain a species of charged particle (either an electron or positive ion, but not both) is worthless for a fusion ion because it's KE is several orders of magnitude greater than the Potential well. I should mention that pushing potential wells into the region of fusion ion KE might at first glance solve this issue, but Bremsstrulung issues, other issues, and inefficiencies in energy recovery methods quickly lead to a losing situation from an energy balance perspective.

Again, after saying all of this I understand that Tri Alphas' FRC efforts may include some electrostatic effects to improve confinement (overcome some of the magnetic instabilities?). There are a lot of variations that may help. The problem is that anything that seems to help one aspect of the system, generally hurts another aspect almost as much or more. Clever workarounds and compromises is the only way forward.

Dan Tibbets

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Re: F.I.C.S. Fusion a new concept in fusion

Post by Steven Sesselmann » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:58 am

James,

Looks like you've got it!

Nice to have you on my side, now let's see if we can make it work

Steven
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Re: F.I.C.S. Fusion a new concept in fusion

Post by Chris Bradley » Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:27 pm

Hi Steven,

Might I ask a 'test' question about your theory?

What does your theory say about why the fusion cross-section curve is as it is - i.e. why do we see fusion generally fitting a function predicted by quantum tunnelling theory down to quite low kinetic energies (much lower than you might expect if particles were trying to get back to some ground level)? Or put it another way, why will you need 100keV when fusion can be detected in plasmas of just a keV or two?

Also, at the other end, why do deuterons smash each other up at >~2MeV rather than simply have yet more opportunity to take the 'path' back to lowest potential?

I hope thinking about how these are represented in your theory will help evolve it.

best regards,

Chris MB.

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