Another step?

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
Post Reply
Jon Rosenstiel
Posts: 1405
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2001 5:30 am
Real name: Jon Rosenstiel
Location: Southern California

Another step?

Post by Jon Rosenstiel » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:37 am

Using data from an aging NASA spacecraft, researchers have found signs of an energy source in the solar wind that has caught the attention of fusion researchers. NASA will be able to test the theory later this decade when it sends a new probe into the sun for a closer look.

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/sc ... solarwind/

User avatar
Chris Bradley
Posts: 2930
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 11:05 am
Real name:

Re: Another step?

Post by Chris Bradley » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:24 am

I'm unclear on why this would have 'caught the attention of fusion researchers'.

Ion cyclotron resonant heating (ICRH) has been used in fusion plasma research since the 50's. It even pre-dates the tokamak, as a means to heat a thermonuclear plasma up.

Instead of the Sun, thermonuclear plasma reactors use radio antennas instead to inject the ion cyclotron waves into the plasma.

I'll mention, though, that IMHO I think they have only 'half' researched the potential for ion cyclotron waves. My patent is, effectively, an ion cyclotron wave generator but instead of using antennae like thermonuclear machines on the outside of the plasma, mine creates them between a central electrode and outer electrodes;

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=8024#p57428

The objective behind my work is to herd the 'right' (q/m) ions into gyrotations about a given geometric position, rather than simply an ICRH scheme where the ions undergo gyrotations about 'any-old' centre of rotation. The former will then have the effect of mitigating entropy increases (beam-forming) whereas the latter does it with the intent of thermalising the energy input as a means for heating.

If they did it like my scheme, that is using the plasma as the central electrode and applying ion cyclotron frequencies with external electrodes, then I believe they would effectively herd the ions in the outer edge of the plasma. I think this partially happens anyhow, due to the inductive near-fields of the antennae, even though they don't realise it.

(See 'figure 8' of my patent document, and look at the central anode, A, as the plasma.)

Funnily enough, I did explain this to Culham some years back and they said my scheme has 'nothing to do with tokamak physics'. Subsequently they have discovered that using neutral beam injection (NBI) *together with* ICRH is more efficient than just using NBI alone. One might therefore suspect that ICRH does more than simply heat the plasma (because NBI can input higher powers than ICRH). I have pointed this out to Culham and asked them whether their internal discussions have considered whether this might be using the methods of my patent, and they have gone all 'attorney-client privilege' on me and they don't want to discuss it or let me know what they discussed.

It might also be worth pointing out that the effective performance of ICRH is very variable between different reactors, and it seems that it is dependent on the type of antenna used. So, for example, JET has, proportionately, very large antenna structures close to the plasma, whereas the DIII-D has a relatively small aperture into the chamber and they have found ICRH to be of such disappointing effectiveness that they are actually removing that system from the reactor this year. To my mind, this is further inference that my scheme may be a 'go-er' because it would need large, electrically active antenna elements to be present for the methods of my patent to take effect, and that appears to be the case in practice.

User avatar
Dennis P Brown
Posts: 1927
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 2:46 pm
Real name: Dennis P Brown
Location: Glen Arm, MD

Re: Another step?

Post by Dennis P Brown » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:12 am

I hope we can have more of these types of threads? While I know this forum is about building (and is outstanding due to the incredible people here – their knowledge and clear technical answers are amazingly good and valuable), these articles of interest and related discussions have been extremely informative (to me, at least.)

Thanks - this is almost like the old Scientific American magazine - the fantastic Amateur Scientist articles with some very informative (accessible but fairly technical) science articles, as well.

Gleedaniel Martin
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:03 am
Real name: Gleedaniel Martin
Contact:

Re: Another step?

Post by Gleedaniel Martin » Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:19 am

Using data from an aging NASA spacecraft, researchers have found signs of an energy source in the solar wind that has caught the attention of fusion researchers. NASA will be able to test the theory later this decade when it sends a new probe into the sun for a closer look.
Hopefully, they could turn this something into a most useful one like they did before. This could be very interesting and useful to us.

Post Reply