Frank Sanns

Compilations of the works of significant long term members of the site. Induction into this area is by long term contribution and by nomination only.
Post Reply
Frank Sanns
Site Admin
Posts: 2021
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 2:26 pm
Real name: Frank Sanns

Frank Sanns

Post by Frank Sanns »

I had been waiting to let others respond to their nominations first but to keep the momentum going, I will add my info and some highlights of my fusion work.

From the earliest age, I wanted to be in science. It did not matter what field but rather that I wanted to be able to ponder the unknown and discover new things. My father was pursuing an advanced degree in education so we often went to the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh. He would be off in his section and I would be unleashed upon the technical section. Physics was my favorite spot. I read about everything but skipped the math parts as I was still far too young to understand.

By 7th grade, I wrote a paper on the forth state of matter, plasma. It even included the shielding effects and the Debye length. The theory was not good enough for me so when dad brought home a single stage vacuum pump with no motor, no oil, and no top to it, I was off and running. There was just enough residual oil in the pump to create a suction. I found a piece of glass drain tube, put two stoppers in the end with a nail through each. Somewhere on the site there is a photo of this rudimentary tube. A old transformer with a weak arc out to an eight of an inch and I was in business; my first plasma. Of course I needed to keep my finger spinning the wheel of the vacuum pump but it was my first real experiment and result. It was glorious!

In early high school, I worked my way into a specialized program in advanced chemistry methods. There I learned essentially college chemistry and did everything from synthesis to analytical procedures even including X-ray diffraction. By the time I was 16, I was also operating a small water treatment plant for the school I was attending. I sent in required weekly analytical analysis reports to the health department to keep the plant certified and in operation.

When I turned 17, I had the opportunity to work full time in Exploratory Research at Koppers Co. Somehow they thought I was in my early 20s since I had also started attending the U of Pittsburgh for chemistry at night so they gave me a job. It was making polyester resins mostly and operating their high voltage testing lab. My first experience with voltages up to 150 kv. After six years there and as I was finishing up my BS degree in chemistry, I accepted a job at Bayer Corporation. During my fourteen years there, I had the opportunity to work on some very interesting chemistry and technology. Ultimately I lead a team of 17 PhD researchers and their technicians to develop polymers for the automotive industry. A significant amount of that work made it into high volume production and some of it is still on vehicles today.

Since the mid 1990s, I have been self employed, and have many patents. I consider myself a reverse consultant. I find a need, fix it, then offer it to companies or individuals that might highly benefit from it. Some are even available to the public like and with good following.

My work with fusion started with the first iterations of this forum. At first I read and then did some side research. By 2001 I had my chamber and first generation of peripheral equipment. I started posting and things moved quickly. You will notice a discrepancy in my start date and first photos. You see, 911 happened and the world became paranoid of things they did not understand. I was forced to delete my online work as the nervous Nellies of the country were going to cost me my ability to be at the local university. Once the paranoia waned, I started to quietly post again in 2003.

At the time, there was much talk of run away fusion reactions. I have to admit that before I ever put deuterium in my chamber, I did a calculation on what would be the worst case scenario if all of the deuterium fused all at once. It was on the order of a large fire cracker. Not too too bad but the neutrons would be a problem. Not long after running my fusor, it was obvious that it is just not that easy for fusion to occur. The reason of course for run away reactors was due to hot grids and thermionic emissions giving a highly conductive path for power supplies unloading huge amounts of electrical energy a fusor.

Here is one of the first images that Richard ever archived on the site and started a trend that makes our Images section such a current and historical place to see contributors works. You will see the lattice grid that was chosen for its multiple sharp needle points on the outer and inner grids. This was to study ionization at both locations. The outer grid is also deliberately smaller than the chamber and not symmetrical so plasma behaviors could be studied. The fluorescence of the outer aluminum grid added to the visual appeal but also was a good indicator of the emissions occurring within the fusor.

A neutron producing run with a smaller grid shows the scale of the innards of my fusor along with star rays that extend beyond the outer grounded grid. Much discussion about that also in posts on the site.
The next significant work was done with multiple grids nested within each other. This was my levitated pit design. A second high voltage feedthrough was added so polarity and electrical biases could be studied. The first conclusion was that a negative inner grid and a grounded outer floating grid is NOT the same as a positive outer grid and a grounded inner grid. It is true that electrically the exact same potential difference is there so they should be identical as two poles would be on a battery. This is not the case though because we are using spheres. With spheres, the charge runs to the outside of the conductor. For this reason, a properly biased setup will not produce any significant number of neutrons if the bias is positive outer and grounded or negative inner grid.
The previous picture also shows a set of pyrex bowls that insulate the inner and outer grids from the outer grounded chamber. This was done to study the free dynamics of the plasma in an insulated space. Here is a photo showing the paths of charged particles and where they are originating. You can see the "shadows" that they cast on the insulating pyrex bowls.
Sequence 01_3790Traces - Copy.jpg
And then there is an interesting area where fusion occurs but essentially no visible light. Here is a photo at the extinction of the plasma due to a pressure that cannot be sustained at 50kv. You can see some isolated plasma and fluorescence of the outer grid within the insulating pyrex bowls but nothing in between but dark current.
Sequence 01_3161.jpg

Then there are a variety of single and multiple grid configurations. Here is is a double inner grid configuration and even a brush electrode to show the dynamics within.
Frank Sanns Brush Discharge DSC05184.jpg

A single post cannot contain twenty years of work but hopefully this gives some highlights into some of the areas that I have examined. I have also managed this forum for a very long time. The structure you see today is an evolution that I am proud to have been at the helm for. The site is highly technical yet user friendly to the new user. Its layout and lack of visibility of some content to those not signed in, keeps ephemeral internet moths away and allows for continued good technical contributions and research.
Achiever's madness; when enough is still not enough. ---FS
Post Reply

Return to “Compilations of long term technical contributors”