Friday, May 7, 2010

Lawrenceville Plasma Hits 1 Mega Amp

This informs us that the work on focus fusion is advancing very nicely and even better, they like to talk about it to let us share in the excitement.  It is sure nice to not be in a public company strait jacket in which every news release ends up been vetted by legal council.     

This is progressing rather well and they have certainly already surpassed previous work while not maxing out the devices physical limits.

And while we are at it, this is as close to a science fiction inspired device as I have ever seen.  One can imagine something like this on a starship.

And yes dear reader, you are allowed to be excited about all this.

MAY 05, 2010

After six months of modifying the switches, LPP finally achieved the firing of all 12 switches within 25 ns of each other in four shots on April 26. At a charging voltage of 30 kV, we achieved our first pinch at over 1 mega-amp (MA). The fill pressure of the deuterium gas was 40 torr, which is a record for a pinch in a DPF. We were deliberately using a pressure about twice what we believe is optimal for this charging voltage in order to avoid a pinch so we could test the electrical characteristics of the device. But the plasma pinched anyway, although well after the higher current had passed. The 1.03 MA current is a record for us when creating a pinch, but the 40 torr is a record for a pinch in any DPF.

During the month of May, we will be replacing the automotive spark plugs in the switches (which had been leading to the prefiring) with custom-built tungsten-rhenium rods from which we will make our own spark plugs. We expect them to have a very long life and practically eliminate prefiring in future testing.

Finally, a joint team from LPP and the Focus Fusion Society has produced a 70 ns simulation of the formation of a single plasma filament as part of the plasma sheath in the DPF. It showed a filament pinching itself down from a radius of about 300 microns to around 50 microns, a first step in compressing the plasma and its magnetic field. The simulation team consisted of John Guillory, Jeff Schoen, Henning Burdack, and Luis Angulo. FFS volunteer Burdack, who lives in Germany, provided the implementation that actually ran. Previous versions of the algorithm used had shown numerical instability where the values oscillated wildly. The new runs are the first to be stable and appear to show the filamentation process. In time, such simulations will complement our experimental observations and analytical theory, and may find applications in other fields of plasma physics as well.

Focus Fusion describes the software simulation progress. 
Cross Off Another one of the Eight Objectives

Another one of the eight research objectives for 2009-2010 can be crossed off

* A goal was at 25kV (kilovolts): Produce 1 MA (million amperes).
they achieved 1.03 MA at 30 kV but at intentionally higher pressure.

Optimal pressure and higher voltage should allow the MA to go to 1.5-2.0.

Soon another major objective: move to 45kV, 2MA, with Deuterium.
The fourth goal is to increase the charging potential on the machine, by 5 kV steps, up to the full capacity of 45 kV and in the process achieve a peak current of about 2 MA with deuterium.

APRIL 27, 2010

Analysis of shots we did in March gives more convincing evidence of high ion energies, certainly more than 40 keV (440 million degrees) and probably above 65 keV in the best shot (715 million degrees). These are very encouraging results, as they are as good as or better than those obtained in Texas at peak currents that were nearly twice as high. 

In all three cases, Ti exceeds 40 keV, and in the best shot it exceeds 65 keV. This is strong additional evidence that FF-1 is achieving ion energies comparable to those in the Texas A&M experiments in 2001, but at currents of only 700 kA, as compared with the 1.2 MA used in Texas. This is encouraging, and we will no doubt have much stronger evidence of high ion energies as we get more shots at higher currents. For comparison, ion energies of around 100 keV will be enough to ignite pB11 fuel, given adequate density
One of the objectives is to achieve 2 million amperes of current. If the peak current target is achieved then it would appear that the energies will exceed 100 keV.

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics will continue to adjust their system to achieve the higher current and energies before shifting to deuterium and heavier gases and then proton-boron.

  • At 25kV (kilovolts): Produce 1 MA (million amperes), determine optimum gas pressure
    * The third goal is to test the theory that adding a small axial magnetic field, and thus a small amount of angular momentum, to the plasma will greatly increase the size of the plasmoids and thus the efficiency of energy transfer into the plasmoid.
    * The fourth goal is to increase the charging potential on the machine, by 5 kV steps, up to the full capacity of 45 kV and in the process achieve a peak current of about 2 MA with deuterium
  • * the fifth goal is to confirm the Texas results of high temperature and density, but with far more complete diagnostic instruments.

  • * The sixth goal is to confirm LPP’s theory that heavier gases will lead to higher compression and to thereby achieve gigagauss fields. This will involve running with combination of D (deteurium), He (Helium) and perhaps N (Nitrogen) and will also involve replacing the electrode with shorter ones, which they predict will be optimized for the heavier gases. These experiments are more complex and will be more time-consuming. 
  • * The seventh goal is to demonstrate some fusion burn with pB11 (proton-boron) fuel.
    * The eighth and final goal will be to demonstrate the scientific feasibly of producing net energy with pB11. 

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