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Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:59 pm
by Andrew Robinson
The title of my post explains it all... ... ar-reactor

This is in regards to the story, not the kids. Always great to see kids getting into science!

Re: Sigh...

Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:50 pm
by Jim Kovalchick
Wow, whoever's mentoring them is not helping as they should. Pumping their heads with crap like 'first of a kind' and 'future energy source.'

Looks like a very poor vacuum demo fusor. With 10 year olds clamoring around it turning dials, I hope they have the electrical safety part taken care of.

The comments people are posting on the web site are even more ignorant.

Re: Sigh...

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2019 3:10 am
by Mark Rowley
The media and 99.999% of the public have no interest in nuclear science and thus no understanding of it. Couple that with how news agencies intentionally salt and embellish stories to garner "clicks" and viewership ratings and you get a report like this. Not surprising.

But like you said, it's good to see the kids get some scientific exposure.

Mark Rowley

Re: Sigh...

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2019 3:43 am
by Richard Hull
A great little local story. As many here might know, we have a newbie teacher here at now doing this exact same thing with his students. All such efforts are great and certainly the Washington State team is and has been on this fine effort for years and are and have been doing real fusion. This is nothing new. Also, media tripping over the facts and hyping such efforts with plus-ultra hype and totally off the wall statements is equally not a new venue for them, either. I saw the Meiro grid" in this little video. This means that someone in that group was on for that one. Nice to know we are getting the word out.

Richard Hull

Re: Sigh...

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2019 3:51 am
by Frank Sanns
Not sure if you noticed but the waste heat is being turned to steam by the copper vent port at the top. Not sure if the electrode itself is hollow tubing? Grounded maybe or even floating.

Re: Sigh...

Posted: Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:07 am
by Richard Hull
I do think that pipe was the vent from the fore pump and what appear as steam was oil mist.

No need to worry about radiation when you are breathing venting oil mist. Most of us use a mist filter on our pumps and never get to see the effect common to 100% of all forepumps or, like me with fusor IV, copper pipe it out the back of my lab into the real world and not inside my lab. I once left my pump gas ballasting for an hour on fusor II and came back to find my entire upstairs lab looking like a midnight dock scene in a London murky fog. I attach my solution for fusor IV.

Richard hull

Re: Sigh...

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:11 pm
by Frank Sanns

Why would they be venting the vacuum out of the top of the chamber? Look at the video again. There are two ends of the copper tubing coming out of the insulated transparent top cover. One side of the tubing has a cap. There is also an electrical lead or ground wire connected to it.

It really looks like a eyedropper or two of water could be loaded into the tubing grid and caused to boil with just recovering the heat from the grid current.

Re: Sigh...

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:30 pm
by Richard Hull
Frank, with a second look, you are probably correct. They gave no info and if this is the case, it is reminiscent of the old "hit and miss" gas engines at local engine shows around the U.S. I imagine many Oklahomans go to such classic country fair events and enjoy seeing these old engines with their P.T.O belt driven corn shuckers at work with the steam vapor coming up out of the water reservoir. Maybe the steam pipe gives the impression of fusion steam energy being produced in a demo. Unless they have a significant reservoir on the fusor such an effort to cool the grid would not save a Meiro grid from being over driven.

Interesting take on faking a form of visible fusion energy in a demo. (of course, it is waste input electrical energy) I would love to know if they think they are cooling the grid or miming an example of fusion to steam in their demo or perhaps a bit of both. Cool either way and yet another take on a novel demo system.

Richard Hull

Re: Sigh...

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:41 pm
by Frank Sanns
My guess it is a way to demostrate that steam could produced that could turn a turbine and make electricity. Had there been solicitation for mega dollars for a hotel sized scale up, I would be screaming fraud for good reason. However, I do not think the lad was trying to get something over on anybody except to show that if a solution to fusion could be found then energy could be produced.

Who knows if one of those participants or somebody else will be motivated to go into science because of it.

Re: Sigh...

Posted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 2:42 pm
by Paul_Schatzkin
This story showed up in my Google Alerts a few days ago and I was tempted to post it as Andrew has, but wasn't quite sure what to make of it and held off. And I wondered about that steam rising from the system, too. Nice to find out what exactly that is.

I still think it's useful to get kids interested in this stuff, misguided as the efforts sometimes get. And y'all know I will never object to hearing fusion referred to as a "future energy source" despite Richard's rejoinder to the effect that "once in the future, always in the future."

And, from what I've seen of it, Carl Greninger's operation in Seattle is the gold standard for student-oriented nuclear science / fusion installations. Anybody who wants to see what students can do, and how the grown ups can effectively mentor them, should look into Northwest Nuclear Laboratories: