Helium 3 gas pricing-gas handling

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Richard Hull
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Helium 3 gas pricing-gas handling

Post by Richard Hull » Fri Jan 25, 2002 3:46 pm

Helium 3 is avaialble from spectra gases, as is deuterium.

http://www.spectra-gases.com

I phoned and the smallest cylinder avaialble is a 25 liter STP, 310 psi, lecture bottle. This is more than enough for amateur fusor use.

They have a fire sale (this month only) on a 25 liter cylinder of highly IMPURE 89% 3He for only $2,825.00 and this is in the common cylinder with VCR fitting. The same 25 liter cylinder with marginally pure 99% gas is only $3,575.00. A spectro grade of 99.99% pure is a steal at $8,925.00. Any body still hot to trot on 3He???...........I thought so.

ADDED**** I just got another quote.... 25 liters of 99.9% 3He from Icon Scientific gases....$4125.00

Usually, for helium and hydrogen a special regulator is recommended $$$. A normal regulator can be used, but it is subject to leaking. (you MUST use a regulator of some sort!!!) If you use or adapt a normal oxygen regulator to either D2 or 3He tanks, you should just pressurize the regulator and low pressure line. Immediately re-close the main tank valve. This will conserve gas when the system is not in use. If you use a dead volume or reservoir in the low pressure line, make sure it is small. I use an adapted CO2 cylinder. I run my D2 line at 2 psig. It is senseless and potentially wasteful to pressurize the low pressure line to much above 2 psig.

Note that 3He is a poor fusion gas and will never surpass the fusion rate of pure D2 unless you have a MINIMUM of 50 or 60kev to apply to the fusor....PLUS you will have to mix D2 and 3He 50:50. This will required some more sophisticated gas metering gear like dual mass flow controllers @ $1000 each, etc. The only work around would be to pre-mix by molarity/pressure calculation into a reservoir and leak it into the fusor.

So... Unless you have (1) won the lottery, (2) are familiar with the worsening corona issues at the highly elevated voltage of 50-60 kv, (3) have the necessary feedthroughs, (4) care to make up a mixture of these expensive gases, I suggest you stick with D2. D2 will continue to give decent increasing performance up to 100kv, and won't go flat until 1 million volts!

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.

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Re: Helium 3 gas pricing-gas handling

Post by guest » Fri Jan 25, 2002 9:22 pm

Maybe we should start a "Helium 3 Production" consortium for your really industrious "how-to'ers". LOL

guest

Re: Helium 3 gas pricing-gas handling

Post by guest » Sat Jan 26, 2002 7:30 pm

Glad you covered it.
He3 is refined from the helium obtained Helium Rift in Kansas. It won't get any cheaper. The primary other source of this stuff is the surface of the moon.
The sun outputs this stuff as solar wind. The moon traps the ions and it becomes deposits of He3 gas in lunar dust. Gerad O'neil proposed mining this stuff in the late seventies. You see what happened.
There is always someone asking about this stuff.
I would be happy just to get a bottle of deuterium.
This stuff (fusion) is hard enough with out a gross screwup in the finacial end.
Think of the equipment you could buy with 2k bucks.
Before I would buy HE 3 however I would do the following first.
I would go down to the drug store and buy boric acid and make boron fuel instead. About a thousand times cheaper. ( the fire works are neat.. you use modified aluminothermy for refining or powdered magnesium with fused borax be sure to wet to prevent explosion or use calcium chips ...the white scum float to the top wipes clean) Mix with finely divided sand to get silicon hexa borate after heating to red heat. It could be made as a cermet.... powdered tunsten and boron oxide formed into pellet by 10 ton press baked at about 1200
degrees celcius for about an hour in a ceramic kilm to form a greyish pellet. This is solid state reaction I learned during the synthesis of high temperature superconductors. It is called solid state chelation.
And you thought metalurgy classes were boring.
You come up with artifical spondamonteen which is basically a boron rich rock. (Miley used a rock sample from Norway for the ion source.)
It is a very safe form to use in vacuum just apply voltage and heat makes a very cozy boron ion beam.
Lanthanum Hexaborate is a better emitter.
If you go down to the Miley patents in Bert Pooles web site....You will see all this
laid out in glorious detail.

About the same headache as HE 3 fusion but much cheaper.

But I would be happy to buy it for 2 cents on the dollar if offered.

( It would go great on the Amplifier Slab Coffee Table I'm Planning (NIF Ebay Purchase).)

Larry Leins
Physics Teacher

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Re: Helium 3 gas pricing-gas handling

Post by guest » Sun Jan 27, 2002 5:11 am

Boron fusion might better be handled in the following manner. Diboran B2H6 can be made fairly easily, at least in principle. However, this material is toxic and pyrophoric (ignites or rather explodes spontaneously in air). If you know chemistry and have good technique as well as being familliar with anaerobic handling of materials this would be the material of choice. This is very dangerous stuff and it is not recommended!!!!! Boron hydrides (boranes) were investigated and abandoned as possible rocket/jet fuels largely for the reasons mentioned. BF3 is not good stuff either. Using magesium and borax (thermite like reaction) is not recomended either (an explosion is very real possibility, particularly when mixing). It is unknown how stable any of these materials would be in a hydrogen atmosphere, low presure and 60 Kev bombardment. I suppose none of this stuff is child's play: x-rays, gamma rays, neutron radiation, high voltage etc. Be careful out there and look before you leap. You may not get a second chance....

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safety

Post by guest » Sun Jan 27, 2002 9:12 am

As Larry (3L) commented in another section- "Be careful out there"- I heartily agree that thermite and such are best left in the lab- and I have seen enough lab accidents to make my blood run cold (yes even post-doctoral researchers have been known to make fatal and near fatal mistakes). Pyrophoric reagents require precise and expert care, even when commercially packaged and prepared.

R

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Re: safety (Boron)

Post by guest » Wed Feb 06, 2002 3:24 am

The boron hydrides are all very poor house guests. Diborane is poisonous and pyrophoric, and has a limited shelf life even when very dilute. Those who use the pure stuff get it shipped to them in a crock of dry ice. Pentaborane is even more poisonous. Try doing a search on pentaborane on Google, and you get a couple of sites for people who used to make the stuff when it was in vogue as a potential high energy rocket fuel. Read the safety data and it will curl your hair. It is deadly stuff. I don't know that much about decaborane, but its probably poisonous and very flammable to boot. Even ignoring all of this, I would imagine it would be difficult to get hold of any of these compounds as a private citizen without a whole lot of red tape.
Any other boron compound will load up your chamber with impurities. Remember, you want just boron and hydrogen in there Ive got some SS fittings that have seen BF3 or BCl3 - they are a mess..
The only safe way I've been able to think of so far to use boron in a fusion context is to either vaporize it in a crucible, or to place a boron target in the vacuum chamber and hit it with a focused laser. As you might imagine, any notions I have for trying the boron-hydrogen reaction are for the very far future. I'm not even mentioning the voltage required for a measurable reaction rate. The Wisconsin D-3H3 fusor has to run inside a big, thick shield to keep from running through grad students too fast. The environment will be even more nasty for a boron-hydrogen reactor.

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Re: safety (Boron)

Post by guest » Wed Feb 06, 2002 5:54 pm

I checked on the web, and decaborane is also exceedingly poisonous ans reactive. These chemicals (boron hydrides) belong in a laboratory context with with safeguards, not in a garage or hacker's basement.

guest

Re: Helium 3 gas pricing-gas handling

Post by guest » Sat Feb 09, 2002 7:34 pm

Another thought has entered my brain of late.
Call it bad attitude.
If everyone pitched in money for one tank of HE3.
Sold teashirts or sold jr Fusioner Membership or whatever.
With one tank of the precious stuff experiments could be run but I believe in the division of labor concert better.... so take empty propane bottles like those that run hand held propane torches... Flush out residual propane with plain old helium then fill to about ten pounds with HE3. A possible solution. Not to hard with the right rig. He3 is basically inert ... few hazards.

Larry Leins
Physics Teacher

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Richard Hull
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Re: Helium 3 gas pricing-gas handling

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Feb 11, 2002 3:34 pm

Unfortunately, helium leaks through anything. The tanks and valves are critical. Propane tanks would allow too much loss via leakage through the seams and gasketing in the common tanks designed to hold the large propane molecule.

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.

guest

Re: Helium 3 gas pricing-gas handling

Post by guest » Mon Feb 11, 2002 7:34 pm

I see what you mean but sample bottles exist for this
type work?

Larry Leins
Physics Teacher

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