[ExI] lockheed's fusion video
spike66 at att.net
Tue Oct 21 18:37:00 UTC 2014
From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of John Clark
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:59 AM
To: ExI chat list
Subject: Re: [ExI] lockheed's fusion video
On Sun, Oct 19, 2014 at 8:33 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
OK so this is a high-beta concept. Fusion products are contained by magnetic fields.
> I really hope they found something new and maybe I missed it but I don't see anything that hadn't been tried 50 years ago.
John K Clark
I didn’t either John. More directly to the point is this: we can get some practical limits directly from first principles.
Every time a tritium nucleus fuses with a deuterium, it forms an alpha, a neutron, a neutrino and gammas which carry off most of the energy. There is no magic in-between state, no yakkity yak, no bla bla, that is what you get in that reaction. There isn’t a single word in there to suggest they have figured out a way to fuse two deuterons. The high-beta concept doesn’t go that route as far as I know. Anyone know different?
OK then, assume the Skunk Works has figured out a way to catch the energy from a tritium/deuterium reaction. It is easy to look up nucleon energies for tritium, for deuterium, for alphas and for neutrons, and we know an upper limit to how much energy could be released per neutron. (Ja?) All of those thermal neutrons must be absorbed somehow, for we can’t let those things go flying. So we can take the 100MW number, work backwards to get a neutron flux, then we know how much neutron-rich cladding material we are creating for each watt of energy we are creating.
We can assume a best case (known) for material to absorb neutrons, lead, then assume a lead alloy as cladding. Lead is great stuff: four radio-stable isotopes, it’s so common humanity has spent the last five centuries hurling it at each other for profit, and its daughter is harmless: bismuth, the active ingredient in pepto-bismol, a rare example of a heavy metal that isn’t toxic and doesn’t play guitars badly. OK then, the inner core, inside the lead still needs to stand up to high temperatures and contain the reaction somehow. Whatever is that material, which is not lead, still absorbs some of the neutrons and it still gets neutron rich, which causes it to break down by fission eventually.
The creators of the Tokamak when faced with this problem, went the only way I can think of: they made the reaction vessel huge, to increase the surface area of that inner surface, the first surface a hot neutron sees.
I don’t see anything in the description or in Tom’s video that makes me think they have discovered any magic way to deal with that problem of neutron flux causing the reaction vessel to break down.
But hey, I am not a nuclear physicist, so perhaps he has found something astonishing that the old timers missed. I am not buying stock.
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