Anti-matter Catalized Fusion?

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Linda Haile
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Anti-matter Catalized Fusion?

Post by Linda Haile » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:23 pm

"It's a good short cut," Schmidt said of antimatter-catalyzed fusion. In this approach, a small quantity of antiprotons is beamed into a fusion target. The resulting matter-antimatter annihilation heats a target enough to cause thermonuclear fusion.

The above is an excerpt from this article

http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlin ... pr99_1.htm

It is one I've not come across before and may be of interest to some here.

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Chris Bradley
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Re: Anti-matter Catalized Fusion?

Post by Chris Bradley » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:57 pm

Not sure I would call it 'catalysed' - where are the anti matter particles after the reaction??

Sure, I don't see any immediate reason why you couldn't reach thermonuclear temperatures instantaneously and highly localised with an anti matter beam. But it would be far far from 'break even'. For interstellar propulsion, that'd not really matter and it might be a means to 'range extend' your stash of antimatter. But just note that if you built endless Penning traps to hold antimatter then perhaps you'd be able to accelerate your space ship from 5km/s to 5.001km/s, then you'd've probably run out of your antimatter fuel.

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Doug Coulter
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Re: Anti-matter Catalized Fusion?

Post by Doug Coulter » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:46 pm

Obviously, any way of heating something up really fast and really hot can make fusion, and if you make enough from the input initiation, you might even break even. But that requires a pretty big bang if you're making antimatter as the heat source to get to gain (a very inefficient process indeed) -- weapons sized nuclear bangs don't interest me, personally, I'll stick with chemical high explosives for those. Too hard to gather the energy from while living through it. Give me plain old radiation, smoother the better, that's fine, but in huge bangs, not so fine.

Eg to get to gain you have to get to what the weapons folks call "non-equilibrium reaction/burning of fuel" -- a thermonuclear weapon of some decent size per shot. Which is what the laser guys are really doing, it's a way to avoid breaking the test treaties while still doing meaningful tests, not the green polish they sometimes apply to their work for PR reasons. They are not interested in energy production, but making sure our nukes work as designed. A worthy project to be sure, just not having much to do with practical fusion for power uses.

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Richard Hull
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Re: Anti-matter Catalized Fusion?

Post by Richard Hull » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:58 pm

How much energy is wasted/used to make the anti-matter? Lotsa' flys in this ointment.

Again, glib and casual use of anit-matter or muons or whatever is just great until you need that kind of stuff in amounts to be useful.

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Linda Haile
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Re: Anti-matter Catalized Fusion?

Post by Linda Haile » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:42 pm

I appreciate it is no more practical than any other form of fusion energy Richard and, as Doug pointed out, there would be some containment problems but it is another one for Chris Bradley's list.

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Chris Bradley
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Re: Anti-matter Catalized Fusion?

Post by Chris Bradley » Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:20 pm

My list is for methods that have been experimentally tried out.

I was thinking of doing one for 'ideas' but I can't see where the boundaries would come. Too many crazy ideas. Maybe for ones 'patented'.

Linda Haile
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Re: Anti-matter Catalized Fusion?

Post by Linda Haile » Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:08 pm

Tried out or published? Would they publish if they had tried it? But I do agree that you can only accept those with published experimental results Chris.

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Chris Bradley
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Re: Anti-matter Catalized Fusion?

Post by Chris Bradley » Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:07 pm

'Published' is a very loaded phrase in the current scientific environment that is overly dominated by institutionalised research.

The typical idea of 'publication' to a gravy-train-riding academic means text hidden in an obscure journal that you [an ordinary Jo Public] have to pay an exorbitant fee to access. That's not publication in my understanding of the word. That's a print in a subscription.

*This website* is what I would call a publication - it is information made public. It's time science went back to when 'publication' meant what the root of its word says.

But my list is for actual experiments physically done. It's all in the notes to the list.

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