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I don't understand the problem in making sustainable fusion happen

- Tue, 23 Apr 2019 11:30:45 EST LIARuhXT No.79377
File: 1556033445586.gif -(2481121B / 2.37MB, 480x303) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size. I don't understand the problem in making sustainable fusion happen
Explain it to me a lay person.
The issue is they don't have enough energy to:
A) Create and sustain a reaction long enough
B) Also power the containment of the whole reaction at the same time
C) Generate this whole reaction not at some massive net loss of energy.

Maybe I'm stupid or over simplifying this. Why not hook one of these big fancy Chinese reactors directly to say a gigantic hydroelectric dam (or other renewable resources) that more or less generates infinite huge amounts of energy and use those to power reactors?

Pretty stoned.
Thomas Gellystone - Tue, 23 Apr 2019 16:53:33 EST 8Lh4u3KX No.79378 Reply
1556052813929.png -(230813B / 225.40KB, 730x430) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size.
If the reactor itself does not break even it's pretty much pointless to have it involved in power generation.
A net loss is a loss not matter how you look at it.

Besides that, it's the other way around: Compared to the energy potential of fusion every other source of power is peanuts.
And you don't want to just barely break even: You want to have a surplus of at least an order of magnitude. If not mass deployment of inefficient fusion would cook the planet faster than even the worst greenhouse gas scenario. (From simple waste heat)

There, however is an actual fusion power plant we would be technologically capable of building:

  • pick a remote location and blast a cavern into the bedrock the size of a small town
  • redirect a small river to flow into the cavern.
  • build a lid above the cavern out of reinforced concrete about as thick as a dam
  • drop a hydrogen bomb into it
  • attach a bunch of steam turbines to the "lid"

This was called
Project PACER
James Randi - Tue, 23 Apr 2019 17:02:19 EST LIARuhXT No.79379 Reply
Yeah but that would only work a few seconds at a Time probably and I think it costs a few million bucks just to even think about manufacturing a nuclear bomb.

The way I thought they are doing it now is basically whirling a bunch of plasma around a donut shaped chamber with magnets and then igniting it (leaving out several steps in my explanation) and then keeping and containing that reaction indefinitely.
Thomas Gellystone - Tue, 23 Apr 2019 18:41:25 EST 8Lh4u3KX No.79380 Reply
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Depending on the variant of the PACER project the bombs would have been dumped into the cavern several times a day (upto every 20 minutes)
There are different variants also, some supposedly safer than others (using molten salt as an intermediate heat storage)
It's also somewhat "scaleable" in a sense you can build a "small" version that is "just" about the size of a decent regular power plant, but also a humongous scale which could even power other mega-engineering projects like orbital launch loops, space towers or if you stretch it maybe an orbital ring.

Of course there are several reason why the PACER concept was flawed, one of which is of course producing hydrogen bombs at a rate that would dwarf the worst cold war scenarios.

In regards to fusion in a Tokamak that's not continuous but pulsed too. They have to refill the torus with plasma, heat it, constrict it, ignite it and then wait for the reactor walls to extract the heat. Much faster pulses though, but still nowhere continuous.
Samuel Cirringwater - Wed, 24 Apr 2019 00:57:45 EST AtxvGGY2 No.79383 Reply
The sun uses it's gravity well to contain the reaction and allow it to b continuous, its a neat trick, but not all that possible on earth. If you're gonna dig real deep, why not just go down to 30km deep and use molten planetary core as a heat source? Then you could skip the bombs and have continuous power instead as a further bonus.
On the topic of contain reactions, I remember reading about the accidental launch of the cap of surprisingly powerful underground test which popped off with enough velocity to reach orbit. could such a trick be used as an inexpensive launch option for dead weight or would the cargo be obliterated in the acceleration? no way a human could handle the g forces in a launch like that.
User is currently banned from all boards
Emma Shittingforth - Wed, 24 Apr 2019 10:42:51 EST 8Lh4u3KX No.79384 Reply
>If you're gonna dig real deep, why not just go down to 30km deep and use molten planetary core as a heat source? Then you could skip the bombs and have continuous power instead as a further bonus.
Of course, that's simple geothermal.
The problem is digging deep enough to reach a high enough temperature is only feasible in certain volcanically active regions. Normally the earth's crust is way too thick to dig trough it.

On the topic of "space guns", yeah those work but the g-forces required are so high that it's not even feasible for equipment transport to space. Raw materials would work, a solid hunk of metal would withstand the several 1000s G involved.
A much more useful approach are concepts based on superconducting magnets and a long enough track so that G forces stay within a sane region.
And again you don't really need raw materials in space, once you are there mining asteroids is way more efficient than overcoming earth's gravity well.
Emma Shittingforth - Wed, 24 Apr 2019 11:09:37 EST 8Lh4u3KX No.79385 Reply
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The neatest fusion power concept is "muon catalyzed fusion" imho:

There exist heavy particles called muons that can replace electrons in regular atoms.
The additional weight of the muons lead to fusion of the "muonized" atoms pretty much independently of the temperature. Once a muon initiated fusion to one pair of atoms it moves on to the next one and so on.

The problem is three fold though
  • we don't know an efficient way to produce muons.
  • muons decay very fast
  • muons get "stuck" after a random amount of reactions

I don't think it's possible to change the latter two because that's a random process from quantum physics.
But producing muons efficiently I don't see why not.
How it's currently done is using a particle accelerator to smash protons and then "filter out" the muons out of the particle soup.
If we had a way to convert a given amount of energy straight into muons (hypothetically) muon catalyed fusion would already net a huge energy surplus.

It's also very controllable and theoretically feasible to convert the energy from fusion straight into electric charge at the subatomic level. (muons kick out electrons remember)
!scyTheNg3k - Thu, 30 May 2019 18:02:59 EST +fcpEO88 No.79429 Reply
Essentially because the minimum reactor size, using designs that are /reasonably/ expected to work (i.e. not wild guesses), happens to be about five times the size of ITER, and the world can't even afford (won't pay for) ITER.
Albert Pagglesug - Sun, 02 Jun 2019 14:47:54 EST 8Lh4u3KX No.79431 Reply
Is it really that easy though?
I can't really see how scaling up a Tokamak would increase it's efficiency.

If that is the case chances for fusion energy will drastically improve once AI is able to handle complex assembly and production which is already on the horizon.
A_Wizard !cMZsY.BCnU!!vVWR8L52 - Mon, 03 Jun 2019 02:23:07 EST q9iuPyWA No.79436 Reply
As long as they're using current models of the particle physics meme, I doubt they'd even notice if they had achieved what they were attempting to do. Eh, I am wasting my breath though. If someone listens and proves me right, I will get no prize. If everybody shrugs off what I say, then it was pointless to say it.
James Randi - Mon, 03 Jun 2019 08:50:11 EST 0ZtUa/pQ No.79439 Reply
Again maybe I'm just dumb but it seems counter intuitive to scale up the reactor.
Wouldn't making it smaller make the whole process easier?
More concentrated plasma, more pressure, less energy required?
Hugh Boblingdare - Tue, 04 Jun 2019 00:18:48 EST QiRUncgI No.79441 Reply
A desktop scale particle accelerator (not fusion reactor, but they're based on similar technology) was completed a couple of years ago, so there's still plenty of the room on the bottom to explore to. It is pretty much just as bog simple as you describe in terms of the problem, but fixing that problem, finding ways to increase efficiency, is fantastically complex and beyond the horizon of our collective understanding. There are lots of promising projects though, particularly the stellarator from germany.
Electric Sun - Mon, 17 Jun 2019 18:31:14 EST pxPJrgVD No.79454 Reply
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Let's look at Project SAFIRE. They pretty much built an electrical model of a star. it's based on some alternate ideas about what stars are anyway and the sun acts as an anode

They can get the plasma to behave in different ways like planetary bodies. Its a marvel, they run it at 1kW to 20kW and it handles it all without arcing or discharging

If they tweak the current & voltage the anode produces a corona similar to the sun's. (one basic aspect is that temperature goes up as you go AWAY from the anode)
Electric Sun - Mon, 17 Jun 2019 20:59:16 EST pxPJrgVD No.79455 Reply
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The SAFIRE project is related to fusion by high energy plasma. Their working electric analog to the sun (corona) should relate to solar wind, where we find all the elements ejected from the sun.

Look at this infographic

They brought a tungsten probe to the anode and it got vaporized. Elemental analysis found new elements left after the discharge. Fusion! Atoms smashing to make new atoms

The plasma is high temperature because it absorbs high energy UV. Low pressure hydrogen carries this high frequency energy - this causes light to "slow down" in the material as its passed atom to atom.

more reading if interested: https://blog.usejournal.com/the-mysteries-of-the-solar-plasmasphere-3a2c31fdefb5
Electric Sun - Tue, 18 Jun 2019 13:39:59 EST K7zEWKge No.79457 Reply
Thanks I know because I dredge /tinfoil/ too. I can discern and whatever your hang-up is with Safire they obviously are sustaining a high energy plasma worth thinking about
Lillian Sottingdale - Sun, 23 Jun 2019 03:04:28 EST ASaGNcKH No.79472 Reply
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Hot fusion is hard to control; that's the problem. Fusion left to itself makes explosions ala hydrogen bombs.

Let's NOT talk about cold fusion.
James Randi - Sun, 30 Jun 2019 07:52:51 EST 0ZtUa/pQ No.79479 Reply
No one has answered the question in my OP.

I was thinking use hydro power act as like a starter battery and back up power to sustain the reactions untill you can get them running on their own power.

Sort of like an electric starter in a car (from my basic mechanics knowledge...i don't claim to know a ton about engines).
trypto - Tue, 02 Jul 2019 14:59:29 EST L5MY1jTl No.79480 Reply
I thought the main problem was just a materials science issue? like, they don't have materials suitable to contain a fusion reactor at scale. I forget where I heard that.
Hugh Tillingstone - Sat, 24 Aug 2019 16:34:50 EST zCQgmjjm No.79563 Reply
Regarding a "hydro" power "battery"
It's feasible to think about a torridal container in which a superfluid slushes around friction-less. If the walls of the container are strong enough the momentum, or speed of the superfluid could be increased by arbitrary amounts.

Where it breaks down is of course we know of no superfluid that remains stable without constant cooling and no materials to build the container out of.
Furthermore every conceivable method of extracting or putting in energy from/into the fluid will have losses.
But I suppose if we can use superconductors all over the process those losses would just amount to imperfections and quantum fluctuations.

The question in OP while interesting doesn't make sense to me without some creative interpretations.
Also congrats OP of being able to continue your stoned train of thought at a later date, I'm jealous.
James Randi - Tue, 27 Aug 2019 07:06:59 EST REIva1py No.79567 Reply
Thanks, I feel like I learned something.

Thats why I love this site, I can have a stoned thought and follow it here for a fucking year.

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