Plasma Diagnostics And Science Fair

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Tom McCarthy
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Plasma Diagnostics And Science Fair

Post by Tom McCarthy » Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:09 pm

Hey all,

My school has just started getting entries for the BT Young Scientist Science fair - It's the national one.
I've entered with the idea of building my Fusor, I'm nearly except for the equipment...and the money to get it...Not really there, but hopefully I'll get funding soon, should be starting next week.

Anyways, I need to solve some sort of problem, or do something that is recognised as useful with the Fusor if I want to stand a chance of winning any awards - Though it'll still be a great experience if I qualify! One of my advisors, Paddy McCarthy (he's not related to me) has said I should probably get a langmuir probe and do some sort of measurement on the plasma as well as the general neutron, X-ray and other measurement.

So I have two questions: 1.Has anybody tried to measure any parameters in their plasma? ( I haven't read up much about plasma yet so I'm pretty unsure about the basics ). I found this - http://fusor.net/board/viewtopic.php?f= ... uir#p12532 - which means at least someone has but I don't know if that guy is still around, I haven't read the full post yet.

And 2. Does anybody have some sort of hypothesis or problem that needs solving with the Fusor? Anything!

Cheers,
Tom

Tom McCarthy
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Re: Plasma Diagnostics And Science Fair

Post by Tom McCarthy » Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:19 pm

Bump?

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Monroe Lee King Jr
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Re: Plasma Diagnostics And Science Fair

Post by Monroe Lee King Jr » Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:37 am

The fusor is a somewhat useful neutron source if properly built. It can demonstrate Electrostatic Inertial Confinement as invented by Farnsworth. Other than that it's a research oddity and it looks fairly cool, produces a somewhat interesting plasma display.

As for #2 look up langmuir probe and see what it's used for. That should give you some idea about further questions.

Monroe
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Chris Bradley
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Re: Plasma Diagnostics And Science Fair

Post by Chris Bradley » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:14 am

Monroe Lee King Jr wrote: It can demonstrate Electrostatic Inertial Confinement as invented by Farnsworth.
Just to clarify:- Unfortunately, Farnsworth's invention doesn't appear to work, as claimed.

Hirsch's modification is what is practised here.

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Monroe Lee King Jr
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Re: Plasma Diagnostics And Science Fair

Post by Monroe Lee King Jr » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:06 am

Most fusors here don't fuse either. :)

Monroe
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Tom McCarthy
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Re: Plasma Diagnostics And Science Fair

Post by Tom McCarthy » Sun Sep 08, 2013 5:07 pm

Ok guys, thanks for that. But any ideas on something that I could potentially solve to do with the Fusor? I saw somewhere Steve Sessellman from Australia was thinking that the neutron emission from the fusor was anisotropic rather than isotropic? Could I potentially find this? I'm not really looking to win the Fair as the fusor isn't really solving any world problems or helping many peoples' jobs. But I need some thing to actually qualify for it.

cheers,
Tom

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Carl Willis
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Re: Plasma Diagnostics And Science Fair

Post by Carl Willis » Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:09 pm

Hi Tom,

This is where your own imagination and interest really have to take the reins. There are no science fairs an open-source community can win. These competitions are for individuals.

Above all, my advice toward a high score is to keep your focus ridiculously simple and measurement-driven. Scoring is largely about measurement and interpretation. You need lots of time to collect good, solid data and to make presentable papers and posters. Enough time is rarely budgeted for these tasks. Often, as a state judge, I see a great engineering basis for a project, but the data is incomplete or an afterthought (or the entire measurement idea itself is an afterthought!) because time caught up with the student. If a lot of your poster isn't devoted to thoughtfully discussing what your measurements mean, you are missing some big, low-hanging fruit. Trite projects that cover these bases will always outscore ambitious projects that fall short. You'd be smart to plan on "finishing" with enough time to solicit feedback, and give yourself an opportunity to improve your data or presentation accordingly. It is at that stage of the project that you can really take the most out of other people's advice, including here on the fusor forum.

So look at what you've got lying around, and ask yourself, "What can I measure?" If you have the equipment to measure voltage and current and pressure, you might simply attempt to quantify the relationships between them. If you have the equipment to measure x-ray counts or doses, you can do a project that is themed on the radiation safety aspects of operating the fusor. Diversions are always tempting, but expand on your simple focus only to the extent that you can get the measurements done right and still have time to present them.

Good luck.

Carl
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Tom McCarthy
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Re: Plasma Diagnostics And Science Fair

Post by Tom McCarthy » Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:21 pm

Alright, so:
1. Build the Fusor.
2. Get some instruments for taking data and/or measurements.
3. Take measurements - See relationships if any between different parameters.
4. Write it all up.
5. Keep it simple stupid.

Thanks Carl, That's the plan now.

Tom

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Monroe Lee King Jr
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Re: Plasma Diagnostics And Science Fair

Post by Monroe Lee King Jr » Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:53 pm

Tom
If you already have components to build a fusor I suppose you would perhaps go about it that way. But if your building a fusor FOR a science fair that's kinda backwards :)
1. Research the contest enough to come up with an objective to win the science fair with it.
2. Decide how you want to present and achieve your objective.
3. Design your equipment to achieve your objective (include any means of measuring or proof of obtaining objective )
4. Decide if the experiment you designed can prove and achieve your main objective. (Win the science fair!)
5. Raise the funds based on your hard work! (The more work you do here hopefully the more funds you can raise!) Don't expect something for nothing!
6. Construct your experiment prove you obtained your objective and win the contest.
Do the hard part FIRST! The paperwork! That way at the end you get to do all the fun stuff! (reward)

And good luck!
Monroe
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Tom McCarthy
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Re: Plasma Diagnostics And Science Fair

Post by Tom McCarthy » Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:42 pm

Aaaah! You got me Monroe..

As I mentioned I have a document prepared to help look for funds - something for something! I'll have a link to the website with the document, hopefully some sort of chain reaction will occur ( person 1 to person 2: ' Hey look at this kids site' and so on). I think I'll be able to write up some paperwork before I get building, but as my experiment will most likely be 'to examine xyz produced by a Hirsch-Meeks Fusor' I will have to do a good bit of the writing afterwards.

Plan of action, brand new and improved:
1. Research contest and come up with an objective to win the fair.
2. Design the experiment, all theory before practical.
3. After designing, decide if experiment is viable, if it is continue, if not repeat steps 1,2,3.
4. Write up as much paperwork as possible.
5. Raise funds, utilising document, website and any other possibly helpful things.
6. Build/construct the experiment.
7. Write all results up in the best way possible and present them to a few people to see if they think they can be optimized if it is within competition rules (maybe some of you guys).

That's it!

Tom

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