The Futility of Fusion

It may be difficult to separate "theory" from "application," but let''s see if this helps facilitate the discussion.
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Frank Sanns
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The Futility of Fusion

Post by Frank Sanns »

It is often important to look objectively at a project and to consider best and worst case scenarios. It seems helpful to ascertain how close we are to break even in a fusor or even in other electronic plasma devices. Instead of doing a rigorous set of equations, I opted for a simplified empirical approach for the neophytes.

A fairly typical setup on our site delivers around 40kv @30 ma to the fusor. These will be the values used in the calculations.

One amp is a coulomb per second. Elementary charge is 1.6 x 10^-19 coulombs. A 30 ma (0.030 amps) current is 0.03 coulombs or 1.88 x 10^17 charge carriers. This is split between the deuterium ions and electrons since both are charge carriers.

The number of deuterium ions in a fusor running 30 ma is then 0.94 x 10^17.

Using the very best numbers for a fusor or beam on target, reported numbers are approximately 1 x 10^7 neutrons per second.

The conclusion is that it takes approximately 1 x 10^17 ions at the proper velocity to get 2 x 10^7 fusion reactions (only half of the D-D fusion reactions produce neutrons so the number is doubled). TEN ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE!

The futility is that fusion is a statistical losing game that requires 10,000,000,000 ions to make just one collision resulting in fusion!

But there is a huge energy release when fusion does occur. Approximately 4 MeV (all branches and particles) is released. From this perspective, it means that up to one hundred 40 KeV deuterium ions could be used for only one hit needed for break even. Unfortunately, that still leaves 8 orders of magnitude to make up from the losses.

I have not used input power and have excluded some minor contributions but in the end, an electrostatic machine requires 100,000,000 times more ion input than the output. So for those of you trying to double or triple you neutron outputs, you are still 100 million times off the mark.

Not trying to discourage but rather put into perspective how difficult fusion is.
Achiever's madness; when enough is still not enough. ---FS
We have to stop looking at the world through our physical eyes. The universe is NOT what we see. It is the quantum world that is real. The rest is just an electron illusion. ---FS
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Richard Hull
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Re: The Futility of Fusion

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After Frank's accurate simple mathematical treatment above, he ended with......

Not trying to discourage but rather put into perspective how difficult fusion is.

It is to be remembered he is not talking about fusion itself, for we are doing fusion of value to experiment. However, Frank was, as he started out, talking about breakeven fusion !

It is to be remembered breakeven fusion is not power fusion! It is a zero sum game fusion. Nothing is lost in the process and nothing is gained! It is a Q total of 1.0.

When looking at usable, controlled, power ready fusion of some true bean counter acceptable level, a Q total of 20 is a starting point! A one megawatt coal fired plant would be needed to make a 20 megawatt fusion plant work. Would that be acceptable? Really? It is realized that once started and making electricity, it might feed one megawatt output back into itself to output 19 megawatts and allow the power up source to be disconnected. This is where the term ignition comes in. Recycling some fraction of its output back in to keep the reaction going as long as fuel is fed in to keep it going.

I and others have long observed and admitted we, typically, do fusion at a billion to one net loss. However, we do fusion usable to the amateur for experiment and learning. As noted above electrostatic fusion as we do it or, as it has been tied thus far, is a loss filled endeavor.

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
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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Richard Hull
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Re: The Futility of Fusion

Post by Richard Hull »

Frank's new signature closer is interesting..

"We have to stop looking at the world through our physical eyes. The universe is NOT what we see. It is the quantum world that is real. The rest is just an electron illusion. ---FS"

This ties into our being locked into a 3D universe of bulk matter which is purely electronic in nature. Atoms with no electronic shells can't be used for anything! Electrons give nuclei physical form! Create solid bulk matter!

Bulk electronic matter can form useful metals, react chemically and electronically. This is what puts the Tech in technology!

The pity is the quantum world is a world of probabilities and so far as condensed matter is concerned, is a crap shoot, at best, when working at the level where matter at its core level enters the Quantum realm.

I have always found it interesting that the electron can't be broken down into smaller particles. Like God's classic response to Moses query about God's existence...I am that I am. So the electron is that it is. It exists to make things real to us, ponderable solid matter that is usable and reactive at our level of use and understanding.

Frank just points to the obvious for at the level of the core constituents of matter, the quantum world rules. We are at a cross roads of what is typically called the end of science. We are stuck. The understanding of Gravity and Inertia and their relation to bulk matter are under scrutiny as never before and we think the world of the quantum is involved at a level we just don't have a grasp on.

Fusion, in the end, is a quantum roll of the dice in and amongst kinematic application of energy to particles, which by the laws of charge, forces a probalistic union that demands a neutron be either created (P-P fusion) or is already extant within the colliding nuclei (all other fusions).

The neutron is key to forming nuclei and the electron is key to forming bulk matter.
Finally, what is the neutron when beta decaying or if free of the nucleus? It decays within an unstable nucleus or in free space to form, in fact, a proton and an electron from whence it came.

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
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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Dennis P Brown
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Re: The Futility of Fusion

Post by Dennis P Brown »

No argument about the electron; however, I' need to clarify it is when electrons interact via electric fields, and also by photons, that the reality we experience occurs. Even electrons are beyond our experience. Only the electric field they produce is reality. I rather believe this aspect of electrons is the key to unifying gravity and quantum mechanics but that is another issue for another day.

I am very confident that science isn't stuck. Rather, our best physicist love mathematics so much they refuse to pay attention to the real world. String theory and far worse (and complete nonsense) the extensive work on the interior of black holes has created the problem. So many theoretical physicist have lost their way and gave up on science and think mathematical beauty trumps all. An utter fallacy and I am so glad this false path has been shown to be rubbish.
Frank Sanns
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Re: The Futility of Fusion

Post by Frank Sanns »

There is that pesky electric field again. Why the "fundamental charge" one for an electron but only one third for quarks?

And what about those invisible neutrinos that are everywhere and involved in nuclear reactions. They are not vaporous apparitions. They are a window into what the universe really is about without the electron/electric field illusion.
Achiever's madness; when enough is still not enough. ---FS
We have to stop looking at the world through our physical eyes. The universe is NOT what we see. It is the quantum world that is real. The rest is just an electron illusion. ---FS
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Richard Hull
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Re: The Futility of Fusion

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Agreed, Frank! The fractional charge is a ridiculous concept. The neutrino was merely dreamed up out of nothing in the 30's but only found to a great acceptable degree in the 90's. This vaporous particle ain't real in the sense of our 3-D world of electron domination about fixed nuclei of only protons and neutrons. There are no mesons unless you have over 100 mev in its world. Their are no Quarks until Gev environments locally abound. They have no real existence in our time and local temperatures. Even the neutron is a 10 minute ghost particle once out zipping around on its own.

There was an age of the quarks, probably a fraction of a second. An age of the mesons much longer. As the universe cooled everything condensed into what is real and measurable today at the universal 2.3 kelvins. (electrons, protons, and only within condensed nuclei above protium, neutrons). There are no multi-proton nuclei without neutrons.

Neutrinos are like some unknown and perhaps unknowable link to other realms. A whisper of lost energy from events of strength at the extremes of Stellar fusion fires and ice cold radioactive condensed matter decays. Neutrinos represent energy lost from events where something originally fused due the application of potential energies converted to kinetic energy. Stellar fusion converts gravitational energy to neutrinos instantly. Collisions of neutrons stars and some super massive super novae lock a fraction of the stored gravitational energy causing their death to create the heaviest, unstable elements that, over time, pay back that stored now long lost gravitational energy (binding energy) with the release of a beta electron particle and the vaporous neutrino.

Without the potential energies of electric fields or gravitational fields. There would be no light, no magnetism and no motion of bulk matter in the universe. Light, (EM radiation), as it reacts with matter via the electronic shell interactions, degrades in energy to ever longer and useless wavelengths. A net loss of universal, net potential electron field energy which created it in the first place. The neutrino is a net loss of stored gravitational energy.

We view it as a loss but are the two losses complimentary at some level perhaps in some sort of restorative level?

We are in need of something far more suitable than the standard model as we are looking at micro bits that no longer exist in the universe at most energies. Mesons can still form with the aid of cosmic rays colliding with bulk matter in the atmosphere. Neutrons can still form in stellar gravitationally driven fusions. Free mesons die in less than 1 microsecond and free neutrons die within 10 minute half-lives. As we get further from their ages, their half-lives become ever more short in our 2.3 kelvin universe. In short, the universe can no longer allow them to be as free entities in space as they once were. They all decay into condensed matter, most often with the release of gamma rays or neutrinos in many cases.

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
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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Richard Hull
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Re: The Futility of Fusion

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I have been writing about this subject and issues around fusion which smashes the rose tinted glasses of the ever hopeful.
Here is a video that condenses almost all those issues into a nice bundle of fact.
We did the calcs years ago here and showed that the sun per unit mass is far worse that our little fusors.
This film notes that the biothermal energy conversion of the body per unit mass, vastly exceeds the equivalent to solar energy per unit mass.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3VGDCa9fZg

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
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
Frank Sanns
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Posts: 2115
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Re: The Futility of Fusion

Post by Frank Sanns »

To demonstrate how blind we are to the reality of things, consider a pancake probe Geiger counter. Background reading might be on the order of 100 counts per minute. A hot rock might be 20,000 cpm. A really hot one might be 100,000 cpm.

Now consider the background neutrino flux on a similar sized detector with the same efficiency. Such a detector does not exist but if the actual number of neutrinos passing through the detector are on the order of 100,000,000,000 per SECOND!

We don’t see or detect this monstrously high number of neutrinos but they are omnipresent.

Add the electric field into our daily lives and we can see and detect the smallest number of charge carriers. It blinds us to the universe that has no charges.
Achiever's madness; when enough is still not enough. ---FS
We have to stop looking at the world through our physical eyes. The universe is NOT what we see. It is the quantum world that is real. The rest is just an electron illusion. ---FS
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Richard Hull
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Re: The Futility of Fusion

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There is a theory and a large group of people that view the universe as an electric one. At the core of it, and from our senses, the entire universe is, indeed, an electric universe. There is only matter and space in the universe.

Where there is matter there is what we call gravity and either ionic charged matter, (stellar), or locked down charge, (solid, stable, neutral matter). All are in relative motion. Why? Solely because of the potential energies of charge and gravity constantly being exchanged within space. Without these two matter characteristics of gravity and charge there is no motion. A dead universe, we think.

Space is just a container for matter so far as we view it....Or is it? We absolutely must ascribe only electrically related characteristics to free space (permittivity and permeability). These allow free transmission of EM energy. Electromagnetic radiation all ties back to, and owes its existence to an electron either in uniform or accelerated motion.

In the end, for us, even space is just a carrier of matter, charged or uncharged, in motion and electromagnetic radiation. We are totally blind to a concept of an electrically based space or classic void. We are blinded by light and moving matter in a void in which they exist. Gotta' have something for all this light and matter to move around in. The presence of massive gravitational matter can be seen over billions of lightyears distant as it alters the path of EM radiation. Space is altered by matter and matter is electric in nature. We are caught in a well defined and understood loop!

Charges are always viewed as containing potential energy, as is what we call gravity. With no charged or neutral matter there is no gravity. Warped space is a nice concept to hang one's hat on as an escape from the grubby, physically measurable, charge based matter. The equivalence principle is like taking money out of one pocket and putting it in another as a way of deceiving oneself that work has been done and we are enriched by it.

We have rules in science, (physics), that are accepted and work in advancing a technical, touchy feely universe by which we think we are aware of all that is.

We have just scratched the surface.

Finally...Yes, finally.

We have not, as of yet, found any constituents within the electron. It is that it is. In neutron decay, whether within the atom or in free flight we see the result is always a proton and an electron. We are scolded for saying the neutron is just an electron and a proton. It is a pile of Quarks. If we accept the proton as a pile of quarks, where does the electron come from?? Is it sucked out of free space? Then there is that neutrino, "the balancer" particle dreamed up by Fermi. Wherever we are forced to allow for a neutrino some form of matter like a neutron or an electron is involved. P-P fusion creates a neutron with the aid of a neutrino..Neutrons decay with a neutrino and a proton and electron.

Are neutrinos some sort of bi-directional exchange of space and matter in special conditions (pair production from EM radiation with a neutrino involved, yet the effective charge of the universe remains unaltered) Pair production is only possible when a Gamma ray interacts with matter! Too much energy wandering around among matter....Not allowed.... So, we pair produce.

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
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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Dennis P Brown
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Re: The Futility of Fusion

Post by Dennis P Brown »

You are correct Richard - the whole quark and newly created electron during neutron decay is one strange process that defies our non-quantum reality. And it certainly seems like an ad-hoc Band-Aid put upon the process to explain something that has no equivalence in our mundane world.

So, when a free neutron decays an electron is created out of the field that is responsible for the creation/existence of all electrons. This then requires a quark to change its fractional charge (!) so this particle then converts into a proton. This is due to the fact that a free neutron is unstable - contains too much energy without being confined in a nucleus (an interesting fact is that same neutron is essential for the existence of any nucleus having two or more protons - otherwise, those types of nucleons are too unstable to exist together. Umh, a bit of a snake eating its own tail there.) Yes, the neutrino was a required addition to explain the energy difference that couldn't be hand-waved away. Of course, now we know that whenever a neutrino is created the weak nuclear force has come into play - converting some quark into another flavor (charge type).

An electron 'field' that creates a free electron is one of the strangest ad-hoc creations that science has come up with yet. This is used to explain 'how' an electron can spontaneously come into existence - overall, a rather strange idea. Of course, the main reason is that otherwise, conservation of charge would be violated (not because that comes from deep theory but rather, only through observation - that terrible thing called experimental science that so many physicist ignore now-a-days). Yes, a rather complex series of events to explain a common process that we can easily observe in a home lab. Of course, if such a process didn't occur, our Universe would cease to exist in short order as fusion created massive charge imbalances would tear Suns and even atoms apart. So, overall, its a rather good thing that favor change does occur in our Universe.

Does this whole process create a pleasing sense of logic compared to our typical world experience? LMAO - it certainly does not. But that chain of events is the best physics based math and more crucially, the best experimental agreement we have for the mess of elementary particles and nuclear processes we do see. Ugly but it does lead to a better understanding of the Universe and gives us answers to questions we didn't even know we had until we make better observations and discover its strange predictive power; a power that works! So, that is why it is accepted. Of course, if a better theory is developed that provides a deeper and maybe more clear explanation we would all be happier. Then hopefully, the current mess of quarks, gluons*, infinitely small electrons and numerous and unmeasurable fields that permeate throughout space like some Aether would be explained away.

* To really add to the mess, gluons, which are a massless type of photon, create over 95% of the 'mass' we measure (as weight) for all atoms (which means us, too.) Talk about a silly thing. Yes, rest mass and mass are two very different things and the later is what makes up most of us; not rest mass. We are well over 95% massless photons by ... well, mass. ;)
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