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Navy scientists claim that slices of CR-39 plastic, like this one, have recorded the passage of atomic particles emitted during successful cold fusion nulcear reactions. Photo by Steven B. Krivit, New Energy Times
New proof that cold fusion works could fuel additional interest in generating power from low energy nuclear reactions

Cold fusion, the ability to generate nuclear power at room temperatures, has proven to be a highly elusive feat. In fact, it is considered by many experts to be a mere pipe dream -- a potentially unlimited source of clean energy that remains tantalizing,  but so far unattainable.

However, a recently published academic paper from the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) in San Diego throws cold water on skeptics of cold fusion. Appearing in the respected journal Naturwissenschaften, which counts Albert Einstein among its distinguished authors, the article claims that Spawar scientists Stanislaw Szpak and Pamela Mosier-Boss have achieved a low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) that can be replicated and verified by the scientific community.

Cold fusion has gotten the cold shoulder from serious nuclear physicists since 1989, when Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann were unable to substantiate their sensational claims that deuterium nuclei could be forced to fuse and release excess energy at room temperature. Spawar researchers apparently kept the faith, however, and continued to refine the procedure by experimenting with new fusionable materials.

Szpak and Boss now claim to have succeeded at last by coating a thin wire with palladium and deuterium, then subjected it to magnetic and electric fields. The researchers have offered plastic films called CR-39 detectors as evidence that charged particles have been emerging from their reaction experiments.

The Spawar method shows promise, particularly in terms of being easily reproduced and verified by other institutions. Such verification is essential to widespread acceptance of the apparent breakthrough and is an important precursor to scientists receiving the necessary funding to fuel additional research in the field.



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By Bladen on 5/5/2007 5:41:52 AM , Rating: 1
Most forms of electricity generation require enough heat to boil water (to make steam to turn a generator), with the exception of photovoltaic conversion of light into electricity.




By Soccerman06 on 5/5/2007 6:25:04 AM , Rating: 4
Magic


By S3anister on 5/6/2007 11:04:13 PM , Rating: 2
They use the magical loller-berries.


By Griswold on 5/5/2007 6:32:47 AM , Rating: 5
The difference between "hot fusion" and "cold fusion" is that the former uses super heated plasma and high pressure to force two nuclei together and thus generate energy/heat. One of the big problems currently: you have to invest much more energy than you can get out of it, which also limits the time you can keep the fusion process going to a few seconds.

Cold fusion on the other hand, is supposed to skip the part where you need extreme heat and pressure (and therefore enormous amounts of energy) - but the result would still be energy/heat if it worked.


By ilmdba on 5/6/2007 4:09:13 AM , Rating: 4
christ googer, who pissed in your canteen?

go hang out on usenet if you wanna just post flames.


By doctor sam adams on 5/6/2007 8:03:50 AM , Rating: 5
The funny part is, he's replying to himself.


By S3anister on 5/6/2007 11:04:53 PM , Rating: 3
Dude, that doesn't even make sense, is that person bi-polar or something?

split personality?

lolololol


By powermil on 5/7/2007 12:33:54 AM , Rating: 2
The REALLY funny part is, he is RIGHT.
MOST power is made using boiled water to drive steam turbines. Water is boiled using oil, gas, or nuclear fuel, it is sent through a steam turbine attached to a generator...
However, to Googers point, the photo-voltaic blurb did not represent a full thought...uh, process.


By mindless1 on 5/11/2007 10:31:24 PM , Rating: 2
The REALLY REALLY funny part is he wasn't right and your reading skills are off a bit. He wrote:

"Most forms of electricity generation...".

No, most forms don't use boiling water. Those most commonly used for producing consumable power for a large number of people might, ie - power plant, but that is not what was written. He was probably thinking the right thing but did not express it correctly.


By QuantumPion on 5/8/2007 11:11:48 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
According to your logic; I guess that batteries, methane fuel cells, hydrogen fuel cells, diesel/gas generators, solar panels, electric eels, wind turbines, tribocharging, hydro-electric, and hand cranked radios all require boiling water to operate?


Batteries, fuel cells, solar panels and wind turbines are not heat engines. They don't create energy, they merely capture or release energy generated previously. In order to generate sizeable amounts of energy with any realistic efficiency, you need to use a heat engine which obeys the 2nd law of thermodynamics. The max efficiency you can get is 1-(Thot/Tcold) (temperature in kelvins or rankines). In order to get 30% efficiency, you need a temperature difference of 90 K ,which would be above the boiling point of water (starting at room temperature).


By ccnuke on 5/8/2007 1:09:00 PM , Rating: 3
Cold Fusion will NEVER work without the MOST important ingredient that you have all seem to have forgotten....

The Flux Capacitor

:)


By SomeYoungMan on 5/11/2007 6:15:02 PM , Rating: 2
Plus they need more cowbell. I'd say over 9,000.


By Brick on 5/10/2007 11:32:29 AM , Rating: 2
The fusion energy from the experiment was not enough to power even a small light bulb so converting it would be meaningless. I would say the results of the experiment were an effect of tunneling just like we learned in physics about the non-infinite energy wells. If there is a "barrier" with a non-infinite energy level and we directed a particle with a kinetic energy below that barrier's energy it would have a probability of tunneling through the barrier. The probability would be dependent on the difference between the kinetic energy of the particle, the barrier's energy and the thickness of the barrier. So, because there is a barrier to overcome in fusion that is not infinite in energy or depth a particle could possibly tunnel through and "get stuck" (fusion). The issue is to fine tune the kinetic energy of the particles so that enough tunnel through without continuing through and tunneling out the "other side" to obtain useful energy. Another issue is that if we took a nuclei and tried to accelerate them toward target a nuclei we would have a small probability of the accelerated nuclei even coming close to the target. So to get useful energy would take a lot of nuclei. Therefore the probability is extremely small that nuclei would fuse together in the table top experiment used and therefore only a few neutrons would be detected.


Everything is Impossible...
By Xavian on 5/5/2007 7:48:29 AM , Rating: 2
Everything is Impossible to science, until some smart git figures out how.

If this is true, then this is a massive step forward in our technological evolution. Free Energy... amazing.




RE: Everything is Impossible...
By S3anister on 5/6/2007 11:03:41 PM , Rating: 2
We should have a way to harness gravity to make energy.

ridiclous. lawl.


RE: Everything is Impossible...
By powermil on 5/7/2007 12:25:12 AM , Rating: 4
Yeah, gravity making power...hahaha, ridiculous...oh wait, Niagra Falls generator station...


RE: Everything is Impossible...
By Korvon on 5/7/2007 11:46:18 AM , Rating: 2
They already have one in process...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_power


RE: Everything is Impossible...
By S3anister on 5/7/2007 5:58:49 PM , Rating: 2
same with the hydroelectric generator being built in iceland.... but that's not what i was talking about.


RE: Everything is Impossible...
By Cincybeck on 5/8/07, Rating: 0
By Xenoterranos on 5/11/2007 12:36:24 PM , Rating: 2
Well golly, if all it takes in a ginnormous hole in the center of the earth and enough copper to build a SPACE ARK for the entire earth from 100% copper while using copper ingots the size of a bus as kinetic fuel, then O.K.

But I digress. The original question stands, does this just boil water to spin a turbine, or does it create electrical charge via some other physical means?


RE: Everything is Impossible...
By mcswell on 5/11/2007 5:31:23 PM , Rating: 2
Can you say "perpetual motion machine"? I knew you could... If you eliminated all friction (including air friction, by pumping a vacuum), then if you don't extract any energy, your slider would oscillate back and forth forever. However, if you extract energy, via your copper coil, then the slider doesn't make it all the way out the other side--each pass through the Earth is shorter, until eventually it comes to rest at the center, thereby blocking the tunnel.


Video Explanation
By mtnmanak on 5/5/2007 11:44:04 AM , Rating: 2
Here is a video of Pamela A. Mosier-Boss explaining the procedures they used:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-121473314...




RE: Video Explanation
By GI2K on 5/5/2007 1:57:48 PM , Rating: 2
OMG Brains and beauty really don't go along...


RE: Video Explanation
By MarkHark on 5/5/2007 6:14:51 PM , Rating: 3
C'mon, people, don't need to be so harsh with this guy.
His post gave me a BIG laugh.


RE: Video Explanation
By Davelo on 5/6/2007 9:12:47 PM , Rating: 3
Sure, she can create cold fusion but can she fix her hair? Wait a minute, I guess Einstein had that same problem.


RE: Video Explanation
By OxBow on 5/9/2007 12:17:28 PM , Rating: 2
Couldn't they have taken two minutes to edit out the idiots walking around and put a mic on her?


RE: Video Explanation
By iollmann on 5/11/2007 11:47:30 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, DailyTech. The articles are interesting, but the readership is absolutely the bottom of the barrel!

Geez folks, she's giving a talk, not dressing up to go out on a date with you!

Anyone announcing cold fusion has a lot more to worry about than her hair -- acceptance by her peers for one, I'd wager. Brave lady, I'd say.


Naturwissenschaften Magazine
By arazok on 5/5/2007 11:39:31 AM , Rating: 5
Naturwissenschaften? Say that three times fast.




RE: Naturwissenschaften Magazine
By S3anister on 5/6/2007 11:02:42 PM , Rating: 2
First off, it's german...

second, it means "sciences"

...rawfol. and i guess it's only hard for people to say if they have no idea how to pronounce german.


RE: Naturwissenschaften Magazine
By powermil on 5/7/2007 1:07:40 AM , Rating: 2
How about the german word faq?


By S3anister on 5/7/2007 5:59:54 PM , Rating: 2
whoah, somebody's got anger problems


Navy Heats Up Cold Fusion Hopes
By sbkrivit on 5/10/2007 2:49:26 AM , Rating: 6
Bennett Daviss' article in New Scientist on May 3 is a follow-up piece to the in-depth article on the SPAWAR San Diego research by Steven Krivit and Daviss published in New Energy Times in November.

Apparently, New Scientist chose to neglect the term "low energy nuclear reactions," which those of us observing, and working in the field have now adopted.

The term "cold fusion" was never chosen by Fleischmann and Pons; it was wished on them by the press. It was and is a poor descriptor for the phenomenon. The concept of fusion remains highly speculative, a variety of phenomena are clearly not fusion, and then there is the Widom-Larsen not-fusion theory. (http://www.newenergytimes.com/wltheory)

Related New Energy Times stories:
Report on the 2006 Naval Science and Technology Partnership Conference (Sept. 10, 2006) (http://newenergytimes.com/news/2006/NET18.htm#FROM...
Extraordinary Evidence (Nov. 10, 2006) (http://newenergytimes.com/news/2006/NET19.htm#ee)
Extraordinary Courage: Report on Some LENR Presentations at the 2007 American Physical Society Meeting (March 16, 2007) (http://newenergytimes.com/news/2007/NET21.htm#apsr...
Charged Particles for Dummies: A Conversation With Lawrence P.G. Forsley (May 10, 2007) (http://newenergytimes.com/news/2007/NET22.htm)

P.S. If you want to use my photograph on your site, that's fine, but please do not edit out the photo credit. Here is the source file in case you want to fix this problem http://newenergytimes.com/news/2006/19IMG/CR-39Det...

Alternatively, you can add "Photo by Steven B. Krivit" on the image you took from our our site and that will be satisfactory.

Steven Krivit
Editor, New Energy Times




Asgard Technology
By austenite on 5/7/2007 4:17:13 PM , Rating: 3
Well it's about time they started releasing alien technology for all of humanity to benefit...we need it now more than ever with the planet heating up...but of coarse...they have to make it look like we are developing it through pain staking research. Cold fusion will be the norm in twenty years.




RE: Asgard Technology
By geddarkstorm on 5/9/2007 11:42:15 PM , Rating: 2
Lol, stargate much?

What's funny is there is a "how to" artical in Popular Science back in April 2007 about making a fusion generator using similar concepts (deuterium gas, 45,000 volts on a steel wire, and near vacuum). Some kid did it for his high school science experiment. Apparently it isn't that hard, and is real fusion, it just makes enough energy to bearly heat up a cup of coffee. But hey, you can do it for only 1k : D!


By regsoft on 5/7/2007 12:41:50 PM , Rating: 2
The physics underlying “Cold Fusion” is explained in patent application publishing on June 29th 2007, U.S. Patent Application No. 11/617,632. There will immediately be lots of jumping up and down over a decay product. Those jumping up should keep in mind that reactions in a solid proceed differently than reactions in an accelerator. Hint, if a nucleotide has momentum and too many neutrons, it will lower the energy by sending it off with a neutron, if that nucleotide is “stationary”, it will undergo beta decay and use phonons! “Cold Fusion” is a misnomer as defined by the LENR crowd. If you do not understand the physics underlying something it will be difficult to control. However, if you do understand the physics, control is easy!




By lewisglarsen on 5/10/2007 12:08:39 PM , Rating: 2
Contrary to most of the existing “cold fusion” scientists, Widom and larsen believe that certain well-established anomalous experimental results (e.g. He-4 production, excess heat, transmutations) that have frequently been reported by researchers in the field since 1989 are best explained by invoking the weak interaction, not strong interaction fusion or fission. Our theoretical model of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions is outlined in four readily available papers noted below.

Importantly, no “new physics” is involved here, merely an extension of collective effects to electroweak theory within the context of the Standard Model. Thus, the phenomenon is not strong interaction “cold fusion” and never was!

So here are short, "plain English" summaries of our 4 published papers. They will hopefully provide readers with a high-level conceptual overview of what we are doing in each of our papers before having to delve into the gory details of the physics and mathematics.

Using the Widom-Larsen theory, Lattice can now answer three key questions about anomalous LENR experimental results that previous "cold fusion" researchers have been unable to answer to the satisfaction of the mainstream physics community for the past 18 years. These questions and our answers to them are:

Question 1 - If LENRs are truly based on the process of fusing two positively charged deuterons, then how is the Coulomb repulsion barrier overcome at the moderate temperatures and pressures that prevail in LENR laboratory experiments? It is well known that stars such as our sun require temperatures of millions of degrees and enormous pressures to trigger nuclear fusion.

Widom and Larsen answer - LENRs do not involve strong interaction fusion of charged deuterons or protons. Rather, LENRs involve the weak capture of surface electrons (bathed in a soft electromagnetic radiation field) by collectively oscillating "patches" of protons or deuterons located on metallic hydride surfaces. Under such conditions, protons or deuterons in the "patches" can react directly with surface electrons, thereby producing "ultracold" ultra low momentum neutrons which then function as uncharged "nuclear catalysts." Such neutrons are always locally absorbed by nearby nuclei, triggering additional "weak" nuclear transmutation reactions (which create different chemical elements) and the release of heat. Importantly, there are no Coulomb barriers to such weak interactions; so extremely high temperatures and pressures are not required, as is the case with strong interaction fusion processes. The neutrinos that are always produced when neutrons are created simply radiate off into space; they don't really interact locally with anything on Earth.

Question 2 - Why aren't large quantities of high momentum (energetic) neutrons produced in LENR systems, as would be expected from typical nuclear fusion or fission processes?

Widom and Larsen answer - As stated above, weak interaction nuclear reactions are not Coulomb barrier penetrating as would be the case with strong interaction nuclear fusion. Furthermore, the initial weak nuclear interactions produce only ultra low momentum neutrons that are locally absorbed by nearby nuclei. Accordingly, we would not expect biologically significant quantities of energetic neutrons to be externally detected in LENR systems, which is exactly what has been observed in thousands of experiments.

Question 3 - Why aren't large quantities of "hard" gamma/X-ray radiation seen in LENR experiments that have also produced substantial amounts of excess heat and/or nuclear transmutations? It is widely appreciated that the anomalously large excess heat and/or transmutations observed in LENR experiments cannot be explained by a chemical process without invoking nuclear reactions. However, typical nuclear processes such as fission or fusion would be expected to emit copious, lethal doses of energetic X- and gamma rays during experiments. So, why aren't all the many LENR experimentalists dead from hard radiation poisoning?

Widom and Larsen answer - The expected gamma rays are in fact produced when ultra low momentum neutrons are locally absorbed by nuclei in LENR systems. However, surface electrons bathed in "soft" low energy radiation also have the unique ability to quickly and efficiently absorb "hard" gamma rays and convert the gammas' energy into other "soft" radiation --- that is, mostly into the form of many more soft infrared photons (heat). Thus, in LENR systems, hard gamma ray photons in the energy range between 0.5 MeV and 10.0 MeV are locally absorbed and converted directly into heat. Importantly, in the relatively rare cases in which gamma radiation has been detected experimentally in LENR systems, the observed quantities of hard radiation are relatively small (not biologically significant) with energies that are strongly suppressed above about 0.5 MeV, exactly as predicted by our theory. So, LENR systems have intrinsic built-in gamma shielding, a remarkable property by any standard.

According to our theory, primary end-products of LENRs include stable isotopes, beta and alpha particles, "soft" electromagnetic radiation (in most LENR systems, predominantly infrared along with some barely measurable amounts of low-energy X-rays), and neutrinos. The ~1 MeV electron neutrinos, of course, radiate without any consequence into the environment.

Also according to our theory, in LENR systems, extremely neutron-rich, unstable intermediate reaction products turn into stable elements very quickly via cascades of rapid beta decays. In the case of LENRs, these very neutron-rich intermediates probably have half-lives measured in milliseconds, seconds, minutes, or at most hours --- typically not days, months, or many years. We believe that this is exactly why LENR systems do not produce large quantities of long-lived radioactive isotopes like existing commercial fission reactors; importantly, there are no known nuclear waste disposal issues with LENR systems.

Generally, X-rays, when detected, comprise small fluxes of "soft" photons. Biologically dangerous quantities of really "hard" (MeV+ energy) X- and/or gamma rays have never been observed in thousands of experiments with LENR systems over 18 years.

In our opinion, the phenomenon of LENRs is not predominantly strong interaction fusion or fission. According to our work, LENRs are mainly driven by the weak interaction. Sadly, the "cold fusion" people have doggedly pursued an incorrect D-D fusion paradigm since 1989. That problem, along with substantial misdirection of experimental work and other related "wheel spinning," is one of the many reasons why the field stagnated for so long, as noted in numerous critical comments made by outside scientists during the last DOE "cold fusion" review panel back in 2004.

(1) Eur. Phys. J. C 46, 107-111 (2006), "Ultra low momentum neutron catalyzed nuclear reactions on metallic hydride surfaces"

The mass of electrons embedded in collectively oscillating surface plasma oscillations can be markedly increased (renormalized) by the extremely high electric fields (> 10*11 volt/meter) occurring in surface layers of protons or deuterons of loaded metallic hydrides. The resulting "heavy" electrons can react spontaneously with local protons or deuterons to produce neutrons and neutrinos. Neutrons created collectively under these conditions have almost virtually zero momentum or equivalently very long quantum mechanical wavelengths which dramatically increase neutron absorption in the neighborhood of condensed matter surfaces. These ultra low momentum neutrons can catalyze local nuclear reaction networks. Examples of such reactions are provided.

(2) http://www.arxiv.org/pdf/cond-mat/0509269, "Absorption of Nuclear Gamma Radiation by Heavy Electrons on Metallic Hydride Surfaces"

This preprint (submitted to a refereed journal) provides a theoretical explanation for effective suppression of gamma radiation and efficient absorption of ultra low momentum neutrons in LENR systems. It is explained why neutron absorption by nearby nuclei in LENR systems do not result in the external release of large, easily observable fluxes of hard energetic gammas and X-rays. Specifically, we show that surface electrons bathed in already soft radiation can convert the hard gamma radiation into soft radiation. The number of gammas in the energetic region from 0.5 MeV to 10.0 MeV is strongly suppressed at the condensed matter surface and the energy appears as softer (less energetic) heat radiation. The short mean free paths of both ultra low momentum neutrons and hard gamma radiation are computed in the neighborhood of condensed matter surfaces. In LENR systems, the gamma absorbing layer of surface electrons already bathed in soft radiation has the ability to stop a very dangerous ~5 MeV gamma ray in less than two nanometers -- two-billionths of a meter. With existing materials technologies, it would take ~10 cm of lead, ~25 cm of steel, or ~1 meter of very heavy concrete to accomplish the same degree of shielding.

(3) http://www.arxiv.org/pdf/cond-mat/0602472, "Nuclear Abundances in Metallic Hydride Electrodes of Electrolytic Chemical Cells"

This preprint (submitted to a refereed journal) discusses a model for the anomalous patterns of nuclear abundances experimentally observed in metallic hydride cathodes of electrolytic chemical cells. These experimental transmuted nuclear abundances have been something of a scientific enigma since they were first published by Prof. George H. Miley in the Dept. of Nuclear Engineering of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The data is interpreted as primarily the result of a neutron absorption spectrum. Ultra low momentum neutrons are produced (along with virtually inert neutrinos) by the weak interaction annihilation of electrons and protons when the chemical cell is driven strongly out of equilibrium. Appreciable quantities of these neutrons are produced on the surface of a metal hydride cathode in an electrolytic cell. The ultra low momentum of these neutrons implies extremely large cross-sections for absorption by various "seed" nuclei present on or near the surface of a cathode in a chemical cell, increasing their nuclear masses. The increasing masses eventually lead to instabilities relieved by beta decay processes, thereby increasing the nuclear charge. In this manner, "…most of the periodic table of chemical elements may be produced, at least to some extent.” The experimentally observed pattern of distinctive peaks and valleys in the transmuted nuclear mass-spectrum reflect the neutron absorption resonance peaks as theoretically computed employing a simple and conventional neutron optical model potential well. An intriguing possibility is briefly noted in the paper. The varieties of different elements and isotopes that we find in the world around us were thought to arise exclusively from nuclear reactions in stars and supernova explosions. However, recent astrophysical calculations have indicated some weaknesses in the above picture regarding the strengths of the neutron flux created in a supernova. Our paper suggests that, “It appears entirely possible that ultra low momentum neutron absorption may have an important role to play in the nuclear abundances not only in chemical cells but also in our local solar system and galaxy."

(4) http://www.arxiv.org/pdf/nucl-th/0608059, "Theoretical standard model rates of proton to neutron conversions near metallic hydride surfaces"

This latest paper (submitted to a refereed journal) aims to answer an important question posed by many astute readers of our earlier publications on this subject. Assuming that one believes the rest of our physics, can we show computations demonstrating that these claimed proton to ultra low momentum neutron conversions can take place at the substantial rates observed in the laboratory?

In this preprint, we discuss how to compute low energy nuclear reaction rates for the process of radiation-induced electron capture by protons or deuterons producing new ultra low momentum neutrons and neutrinos. For protons or deuterons in the neighborhoods of surfaces of condensed matter metallic hydride chemical cell cathodes, the radiation energy required for such nuclear reactions may be supplied by the applied voltage required to push a strong charged electric currents through certain chemical cells. The rates of the resulting ultra low momentum neutron production are computed from the standard electroweak theory in satisfactory agreement with the available experimental data.

L. Larsen, CEO of Lattice Energy LLC and Prof. A. Widom, Dept. of Physics, Northeastern University


Time will come.
By Metroid on 5/5/2007 7:27:07 PM , Rating: 2
This is not a breakthrough instead is an out trough that merely goes in trough.

The facts showed true capabilities but I doubt the outcome will be soon anyway.

Time will come.




Proton Engine
By biohazard420420 on 5/13/2007 10:07:30 PM , Rating: 2
There has been quite a bit of talk about the proton engine what has not been said is that they are real and have already been used by NASA. The Ion Engine used on the SMART-1 probe. While it uses ions instead of protons is produces acceleration in the same way emiting a charged particle away from the craft thereby creating acceleration. While I don't believe the acceleration was the same as has been talked about here it is still proof of concept. As for slowing down someone mentioned just fliping the craft around 180° along the direction of travel and slowing down that way but that would take only making half the trip and then start slowing down. I am sure they can come up with other ways of slowing the craft down for landing or whatever but it wouldn't be at 1g deceleration. The smart thing would be to come in at the same direction of travel of the target like we do now so you dont have to get to 0 speed until any eventual landing just to the speed of the object.




is this for general public??
By theteamaqua on 5/5/07, Rating: -1
RE: is this for general public??
By wysingertech on 5/5/2007 4:53:48 AM , Rating: 2
Military to begin with for sure. They've got hopes of deploying laser based horizon to horizon defense systems in the next 10 years or so. They would be limited to doing that only for larger ships with fission reactors like carriers, but this would allow them to deploy on so many more platforms. Hell I'll bet the airforce is giddy, as this would likely help them field the ABL (Airborne Laser much more safely as well).


RE: is this for general public??
By wysingertech on 5/5/2007 4:58:22 AM , Rating: 2
Oh yeah... can't forget the railgun project either. Cheap energy, fairly easy to produce, help deploy that system as well.

Commercial use would be delayed I'm sure, we'll have to wait for the actual Tokamaki type fusion to plants to reach a profitable stage and then we'll get power, but I'm sure it won't be any cheaper (moneywise) for us.


RE: is this for general public??
By Samus on 5/5/2007 4:32:57 PM , Rating: 2
but the great thing about the railgun is its substantial efficiency. it requires very little energy considering what it does.

it wont be 'portable' by any means but it doesn't need a nuclear reactor to run like a warship does.

which is why the navy needs this technology to work more than anyone. they have more nuclear reactors than any other organization on the planet.


By namechamps on 5/6/2007 2:22:03 PM , Rating: 2
While a railgun may have high efficiency that doesn't mean it will have a low power requirement. The Naval Tactical Railgun system will require 68MegaJoules per shot. The weapon is fired from a bank of quick discharge capacitors but a conventional power source would need to recharge the bank. The higher power output the higher the peak and sustained rate of fire. Due to the compact size, low cost, and relatively low weight of each projectile a future warship could trade 70-100 missiles for 1000+ supersonic railgun projectiles. To gain a tactical advantage over missile based systems the Navy's goal is to have a rapid fire platform. Railgun = machine gun + battleship cannon.

The system has awesome potential. It can deliver a 20kg projectile 290 miles in less than 6 minutes and will impact with a velocity > 2x the speed of sound. The impact energy will be greater than a 1000lb pound HE bomb due to the incredible impact velocity. The Navy also awarded a $10 million project to develop rounds that can deliver a large number of fin stabilized flechettes. A rapid fire railgun could literally fill the sky above a target with thousands of supersonic darts or hundreds of larger heavy armor piercing penetrators. Since each round is relatively simple it would have a lower cost per kill then expensive ship to ship and ship to shore missiles.

There are numerous limitations to overcome before the Tactical Railgun is a reality and a compact, reliable, high output power source is one of them.


RE: is this for general public??
By alifbaa on 5/5/2007 9:27:13 AM , Rating: 2
Dailytech had an article a few months ago about the European research fusion reactor that either started construction or started operation. They said fusion on an industrial scale was still 30-50 years away.

We'll be waiting quite a while, even if this breakthrough pans out.

The really neat application of all this is in space travel. One of these reactors could theoretically be made powerful and light enough to power a proton engine. Through a small, constant acceleration, you could achieve fantastic speeds and not have to deal with the effects of prolonged micro-gravity or all of the food storage issues NASA is currently struggling with. You could reach Mars in a few days instead of 2.5 years or whatever it is now. Couple the proton engine with a space elevator, and you have a big part of the prerequisites for space colonization figured out.


RE: is this for general public??
By edpsx on 5/5/07, Rating: -1
RE: is this for general public??
By MajorPaver on 5/5/2007 10:09:33 AM , Rating: 2
Nawp. That's not true at all. Acceleration could create massive forces, but if you accelerate gradually, it would be no big deal (easily kept under a g). Just going fast causes no reaction or sensations because you are moving at a constant speed with the system. It's good ol' dv/dt that would get to you through sudden changes in speed or direction.


RE: is this for general public??
By FITCamaro on 5/5/2007 10:37:49 AM , Rating: 1
Well drawing stuff from the Star Trek lingo you would need some kind of "Deflector Array" to travel at such high speeds. Otherwise a tiny pebble could rip right through your ship.


RE: is this for general public??
By mars777 on 5/6/2007 3:40:37 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not so shure about that.

For example:

You are an observer out of the ship.
And the ship got close to the speed of light.

What is happening?

You see particles that go so fast that they should make bullet holes in the ship.

But on the ship?

The are travelling close to the speed of light e thus their time is almost 0.
The see those "bullets" as extremely slow moving particles and have the ability to avoid them (something that you, with your time, are defintly unable).

All this assuming that we don't have to avoid atoms but rocks and bigger stuff.

It is still unknown hat would happen if small particles are hit with speed close to that of light... since we can't experiment with that yet.


RE: is this for general public??
By doctor sam adams on 5/6/2007 4:09:13 PM , Rating: 2
The particles would not appear to be moving slowly, they would appear to be aging slowly. Also, close to the speed of light, you would not see any of the particles until they were dangerously close (not enough time for light to travel from your ship headlights to the particle and back to you), making any transversal acceleration a Herculean task.


RE: is this for general public??
By masher2 (blog) on 5/6/2007 6:15:36 PM , Rating: 2
> "close to the speed of light, you would not see any of the particles until they were dangerously close (not enough time for light to travel from your ship headlights to the particle..."

You've forgotten the principle of relativity. No matter how fast you yourself travel, a ray of light always travels to (or away) from you at the same constant speed.

Still, dodging tiny particles are relativistic speeds isn't easy...primarily because seeing grain-sized particles from hundreds of thousands of miles away isn't trivial. But I'm sure that by the time we're able to travel at such speeds, we'll have means of both detection, shielding, and/or evasion far in advance of what we can even conceive of today.


By doctor sam adams on 5/6/2007 10:24:40 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
You've forgotten the principle of relativity. No matter how fast you yourself travel, a ray of light always travels to (or away) from you at the same constant speed.


That's true, but consider a perspective in which the spaceship is stationary and the rest of the universe is moving past at close to c, or let's say 50% c. If a dust grain emits a photon, by the time its photon has reached your eye, the grain itself has already traveled half the starting separation. This kind of reasoning or something like it is the source of the length contraction effects in relativity--the distance between you and the grain appears to be much shorter for you than what a stationary (relative to the grain) observer would measure.


RE: is this for general public??
By osalcido on 5/8/2007 2:36:50 AM , Rating: 1
This is just not true.. You seem to think of travelling as some kinda Clockstoppers type of event..

Think about what you are saying... if everything is moving so slowly that you can dodge a particle from a few feet away.. how long do you think it would take to get to a star that's .....oh about 1000 trillion times farther (guestimate)

Things are not travelling slower, you are travelling FASTER.

Dodging anything would be nearly impossible.
Not to mention that the force of impact from a tiny particle would be equivalent to an atomic bomb going off because of your inertial speed...


RE: is this for general public??
By Visual on 5/9/2007 3:40:56 PM , Rating: 2
And even acceleration will be harmless and unnoticeable, if it is applied uniformly. For example if you're falling in a gravity field (which might not be uniform at all over space in general, but is over the insignificant space that you occupy), even if it is with 100 g acceleration, you won't feel a thing.
The harmful effects that many people associate with high speed or acceleration are only related to tension, or internal forces for an object, resulting from non-uniform acceleration (like for example a ship pushing just your ass via the seat and counting on your neck and other in-betweens to pull your head along :p)


By masher2 (blog) on 5/10/2007 10:57:27 AM , Rating: 2
There is a difference between falling in a 100g gravity field and accelerating at 100g. Gravitational freefall is still an inertial frame of reference. Technically, you're not accelerating at all in freefall. When you're unable to freefall (as we are on the surface of the earth), you're no longer in an inertial frame, and thus you experience "acceleration"...which you feel on the soles of your feet.


RE: is this for general public??
By GreenEnvt on 5/5/2007 10:41:55 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, welcome back to the early 1900's, when they though cars could never go very fast because the forces would crush you.

You only feel forces when you change speed or direction, like accell/brake or turning. When traveling a constant speed, in a straight line, you don't feel anything.

you certainly don't want to hit anything at these high speeds though.


RE: is this for general public??
By alifbaa on 5/5/2007 11:49:30 AM , Rating: 3
Actually, what I was referring to is the concept that you could accelerate at a constant 9.8m/s2, which is 1 G. You would then mount all the living spaces of the capsule perpendicular to the direction of motion, and your astronauts would hurtle through space under the same G forces as they experience walking around on the Earth. Another way of doing this is by setting the capsule in a constant rotation to equal 1G of centrifugal motion. That's what's being explored right now in the absence of constant acceleration.

As for hitting things in space, you're both right and wrong. At the speeds we're talking about, hitting something would be disastrous. Fortunately, there isn't that much to run into once you leave the general area of the Earth and are at extremely high speed, so that isn't too much of a concern. When you are near the Earth, the speeds would be right around the speeds we experience today and wouldn't present much more challenge than we have right now.


RE: is this for general public??
By doctor sam adams on 5/6/2007 8:17:28 AM , Rating: 2
Think of space as having a very very very very thin atmosphere. In space, when you get to 20-30,000 miles per second, the thin atmosphere starts to feel like wind. When you get close to the speed of light, the thin atmosphere will feel like an ocean. Even the atoms of hydrogen floating in the void will tear through your ship.


RE: is this for general public??
By masher2 (blog) on 5/6/2007 9:38:43 AM , Rating: 5
Luckily for us, the earth lies in a 500-light year wide region of space known as the 'local bubble', in which the hydrogen density is 100X or less the mean density of interstellar space. Even at speeds approaching that of light, these hydrogen atoms aren't a large concern; they'll simply cause a moderate increase in the cosmic ray flux, and can easily be shielded against.

The real concern is larger particles...and we just don't know how prevalent they are. But they certainly can't be very common. After all, we're able to see across millions of lightyears of space. If the average density of the interstellar medium was anything but extremely low, we wouldn't be able to do this; the particles would occlude the light.


By Enoch2001 on 5/6/2007 11:25:18 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
If the average density of the interstellar medium was anything but extremely low, we wouldn't be able to do this; the particles would occlude the light.


Oooo - good point. Still, those larger particles would constitute an interstellar atmosphere that could spell disaster for a spacecraft traveling at light speed...


By Enoch2001 on 5/6/2007 11:21:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Think of space as having a very very very very thin atmosphere. In space, when you get to 20-30,000 miles per second, the thin atmosphere starts to feel like wind. When you get close to the speed of light, the thin atmosphere will feel like an ocean. Even the atoms of hydrogen floating in the void will tear through your ship.


Thank you - this is the very reason why I feel humans in a spaceship traveling at the speed of light is not a practical solution to interstellar space travel. Is there another way?


RE: is this for general public??
By MartinT on 5/5/2007 12:02:35 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Dailytech had an article a few months ago about the European research fusion reactor that either started construction or started operation. They said fusion on an industrial scale was still 30-50 years away.

You're thinking about ITER (at http://www.iter.org ), which - btw - isn't just a european project, but joins forces representing >50% of Earth's population. And, as custom, it will end up late, over budget and short of its initial goals. ;-)

quote:
Through a small, constant acceleration, you could achieve fantastic speeds and not have to deal with the effects of prolonged micro-gravity or all of the food storage issues NASA is currently struggling with.

Problem is, with a small (though constant) acceleration, it takes quite some time to reach fantastic speeds. And once you're at fantastic speeds, you'll have to worry about getting back to 0 at your destination.

Quite the messy business, if I may say.


RE: is this for general public??
By alifbaa on 5/5/2007 12:50:59 PM , Rating: 5
I'm way over my head on this subject, so you probably know more than I do, but here are my thoughts...

I thought the idea for slowing down was to slew the capsule in the opposite direction and continue the 1G acceleration against the direction of travel.

As for the tremendous time needed, if you are accelerating at 9.8m/s continuously, my math says you're gaining 35,280m/s every hour. I don't know how fast our probes travel when they do the slingshot out of our orbit, but I don't think it's tremendously faster than even 1 hour's worth of acceleration. Plus, it's not like you're exactly starting from 0m/s either. The proton engine I'm talking about won't be anywhere near powerful enough to escape the Earth's pull on its own.

It's probably not worthwhile if you're going to the moon, but my understanding is that it will help tremendously with even "short" trips to Mars. I believe it takes the 2.5 year one way voyage down to 2 weeks or so. Plus, it makes the return trip a lot more manageable too. Currently, we can get stuff to Mars, we just can't get it back. If we don't have to carry several tons of food, strapping a rocket to get off of Mars will be much easier, and then the main engine can get you back.

I'm feeling like a Trekie. I'm going to stop now before I start wearing polyester and watching bad TV.


RE: is this for general public??
By Scrogneugneu on 5/5/2007 1:16:22 PM , Rating: 2
Traveling to Mars is 3 months at best (when the planets are close enough).


RE: is this for general public??
By alifbaa on 5/5/2007 1:19:39 PM , Rating: 2
What average speed does that assume?


RE: is this for general public??
By werepossum on 5/7/2007 6:58:17 PM , Rating: 2
The acceleration would be 9.8 meters per second squared; meters per second would be a velocity. Under constant acceleration, your velocity increases exponentially rather than linearly until limited by available energy.

Your understanding of flipping over mid-way through the journey is the same as mine.


RE: is this for general public??
By rcc on 5/8/2007 12:38:08 PM , Rating: 3
The increase in speed is still linear. After the 1st second you don't increase speed by 19.6 Mps, it's still a gain of 9.8 Mps per second.


By Jellodyne on 5/9/2007 11:49:26 AM , Rating: 2
> The proton engine I'm talking about won't be anywhere
> near powerful enough to escape the Earth's pull on its own

Um.... I believe the proton engine you're talking about will be EXACTLY powerful enough to escape Earth's pull on its own. Since earth's pull = 1g.


RE: is this for general public??
By masher2 (blog) on 5/5/2007 12:55:13 PM , Rating: 5
> "Problem is, with a small (though constant) acceleration, it takes quite some time to reach fantastic speeds"

Not really. At even 1/100g-- an acceleration too small for most people to even feel-- a week's acceleration will result in speeds over 120,000 mph. Assuming a brachiostrone trajectory with turnover halfway, that acceleration would get us to Mars in just under a month, or as far out as Saturn in under five months.

Even with constant acceleration in the 1/1000g range, interplanetary travel is quite practical, and the whole solar system becomes our oyster.


RE: is this for general public??
By alifbaa on 5/5/2007 1:17:39 PM , Rating: 2
There was a book I read that referred to the progress of Human existence in terms of our ability to control energy. The author defined it in the following phases:

1. Master of self energy -- i.e. using a rock to cut something, muscle power. Think early cave man tech. It's the ability to conceive how to create and use tools.
2. Master of combustion -- i.e. anything from starting a fire to the internal combustion engine. The vast majority of Human history has been spent in this phase.
3. Master of the atom -- i.e. nuclear fission, where we are today.
4. Master of stars -- i.e. fusion, what we're talking about. We'll be able to channel enough energy to leave our planet -- not just its orbit -- behind regularly and on an industrial scale. We've probably got about 50-100 years until we begin to enter this phase.
5. Master of Solar Systems -- mastering the total energy of a solar system. I'm not sure we even know what this is yet. Think Star Trek technology. We'll learn how to travel at and above the speed of light during this phase. This will give us enough energy to escape our solar system. This phase will also most likely involve us meeting and interacting with the other forms of intelligent life that are undoubtedly "out there."
6. Master of Galaxy -- Mastering the total energy of a galaxy. We'd be able to travel between galaxies. This is beyond what most people can even imagine today. I don't even know how to explain this phase.

I wish I could remember the title of the book. Sorry. It was a good one that I'd highly recommend. It was remarkably easy to understand too.


RE: is this for general public??
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 5/5/2007 6:39:20 PM , Rating: 3
What you speak of is called the Kardashev Scale:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale

Isaac Asimov, PKD and Larry Niven used this terminology a lot, and subsequently, a lot of authors used modifications of those ideas after that.


RE: is this for general public??
By alifbaa on 5/5/2007 8:10:26 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks. That's an interesting article. How do you guys know this stuff?


RE: is this for general public??
By powermil on 5/7/2007 12:57:11 AM , Rating: 2
They watch plenty oif Star Trek


RE: is this for general public??
By dice1111 on 5/9/2007 5:55:46 PM , Rating: 2
Well, at least we can comprehend Masters of the Universe at this stage in our human development...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093507/


RE: is this for general public??
By AvidDailyTechie on 5/6/2007 2:17:06 AM , Rating: 2
An object can gain kinetic energy without limitation but can go no faster than exactly 299,792,458 m/s (the speed of light)... I find this more profound than a universe that has velocity without limitation.

Unless you care to redefine physics (I think Einstein was overrated anyways), let's leave these types of “books” in the fiction section under "optimistic fantasies." Thank you :-).

Don’t take my word for it though:
[u = velocity]
F = dp/dt = d/dt(mu /(1 - (u/c)^2 )^1/2)
F = (m/(1 – (u/c)^2)^3/2)du/dt
Since acceleration = du/dt
a = (F(1-u/c)^2)^3/2)/m
As (u/c) approaches 1, acceleration approaches 0.

There’s also a mathematically less advanced derivation if you don’t know calculus but it would require even more awkwardly typed mathematics.


RE: is this for general public??
By bubbacub616 on 5/6/2007 3:56:39 AM , Rating: 2
good point, however I don't think relativistic speeds need to be approached with regard to local solar exploration. Interplanetary is a different kettle of fish! I guess if we could get up to 0.5c (with a novel and stupendously brilliant mechanism of propulsion!) then alpha centauri could be got to in 10-15 years (depends on if you want to stop when you get to alpha centauri - arguable since I don't think there is much there for us)


RE: is this for general public??
By bubbacub616 on 5/6/2007 4:14:50 AM , Rating: 2
yeah if you ditch relativity then at 1/21th G acceleration you could get 1/2 way to alpha centauri in 9 years, with another 9 years to slow down.

I guess those figures are not inconceivable for a space probe with an appropriate energy + fuel + propulsion system.

However we have no technology (and arn't gonna make it in a hurry) to generate this kind of thrust with a system that has an appropriately high specific impulse (so that the craft can actually carry the reaction fuel with it). A form of Ion drive (that we could build) would only be able to generate a few thousandths of a G - thus taking bloody ages to get anywhere.

So basically unless we get rapid advances in technology a fusor is not going to help in extra solar exploration - but will be useful in explorion our own solar backyard.


RE: is this for general public??
By Visual on 5/9/2007 5:34:05 PM , Rating: 2
but why ditch relativity?

i've posted this in other threads on this site already, so i'll be briefer this time.

http://www.cthreepo.com/cp_html/math1.htm
see the "Long Relativistic Journeys" section, it will save you from learning the math, while you can still gawp at the results.

with the 1/21 g acceleration that you mentioned (how did you come up with it anyway?) you still get to alpha centauri in 18-19 years... the speed doesn't get too close to that of light, and doesn't stay high too long, so the difference between traveller time and earth time isnt much more than 8 months... but now see what happens with 1 g acceleration, for distances even as high as 100 000 light years, or a trip across the whole galaxy... we still get there in under 25 years. proper time, or traveller time, that is. we can visit even far away galaxies (talking hundreds of millions of lightyears here, around the point where this calculator overflows and starts to give crap) in under 40 years.

ain't time dilation grand? we don't need to break the speed of light and we don't need wormholes or teleportation or any new physics in order to settle the universe...


By bubbacub616 on 5/10/2007 3:12:11 PM , Rating: 2
the 1/21 g is what you need to get up to 0.5 c at the midway point between Sol and alpha centauri.

Time dilation is great for the spaceship - not so great for the people back home waiting for results from their expensive probe!

Though if you are sending a colony then i agree in that you really want to get as close to c as possible to minimise ageing during flight.


By doctor sam adams on 5/6/2007 8:43:29 AM , Rating: 2
It becomes less profound when you realize that even a seemingly fundamental concept like distance is actually constructed in the mind to model a reality we cannot understand.


RE: is this for general public??
By alifbaa on 5/6/2007 7:27:38 PM , Rating: 2
I understand the physics of the problem, but I also understand the history of physicists coming up with speed limits.

At the turn of the 20th century, people were saying that traveling faster than 60mph would cause your blood to boil. In the 40's and 50's, there were more than a few very well respected physicists who claimed sustained and controlled flight above the speed of sound would be impossible. Now, the opinion is that travel at speeds above C is impossible.

I'm not disputing our knowledge of physics. I'm very certain those who understand relativity are smarter than I am. If they say it's not possible under our current understanding of how things work, then it's not possible. I would caution you against declaring breaking C an impossibility. You run the very significant risk of joining the long list of smart people who failed to imagine other possibilities.

It seems to me that whenever physics tells us we can't, we find a way to make it happen. We've got a long time between now and then to figure out how to do that.


RE: is this for general public??
By doctor sam adams on 5/6/2007 8:29:44 PM , Rating: 2
The difference between those kinds of impossibilities and the impossibility of traveling faster than the speed of light is that traveling faster than c allows logical paradoxes, such as receiving a response to a message before you had sent it out in the first place, etc. It is not impossible that there may be some way to travel faster than c under certain conditions, but chances are it would involve some combination of space and time travel that would preclude you from actually getting from your origin to your intended destination (a certain place at a certain time) any faster than c. The difference between c and other speed limits is that other speed limits were based on technological or biological arguments, but c is a speed limit which is necessary to ensure the logical consistency of physical theories.


RE: is this for general public??
By Zoomer on 5/6/2007 10:37:41 PM , Rating: 2
You said it yourself, theories. Who can guarantee that our current theories are absolutely right?


RE: is this for general public??
By jscroft on 5/7/2007 11:10:27 AM , Rating: 2
You may be laboring under an unclear understanding of what, precisely, constitutes a theory. See http://thedeadhand.com/Journal/tabid/174/articleTy... for a discussion of the topic.


By theapparition on 5/7/2007 7:08:04 AM , Rating: 2
I understand where your coming from, and somewhat agree that we need caution in just accepting that something can't be done. Science is, for lack of a better explanation, an art of questioning everything around us to gain understanding.

But the speed of light is a little different from your other examples. Besides the logical paradoxes faster than light travel causes, one thing must be taken into account. When other people were stating we couldn't fly, there were things in the air flying (birds). When it was thought impossible to go faster than the speed of sound, we had things in nature already faster (think lightning and thunder). So far, we have not found any evidence of faster-than-light particules (tachyeons). While there is theory, non so far have been proven. So light , for now, is the top speed in the universe, which, by having mass, you can never reach.

But also never forget the court of the universe. When you break a law, you go on trial. If you break a law of nature, the law goes on trial.


RE: is this for general public??
By Pythias on 5/9/2007 12:15:53 PM , Rating: 2
Just to nitpick. Speed of light is 186,000 miles per second or roughly 300,000 kilometers per second.

I agree with the rest of your post. :)


RE: is this for general public??
By powermil on 5/7/2007 12:54:20 AM , Rating: 2
MArtinT said, "...And once you're at fantastic speeds, you'll have to worry about getting back to 0 at your destination."
Half-way there, Just flip 'er around, arse-over-teakettle and keep burning the fuel at, just under, the same rate...remember that the 50 years worth of fuel you brought and burned has lightened your load (mass).


RE: is this for general public??
By zander55 on 5/10/2007 1:44:56 AM , Rating: 2
fusion has been 30-50 years away for the past 50 years.


RE: is this for general public??
By Samus on 5/5/2007 4:30:57 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know why teamaqua got voted down, because its quite obvious a government grant-funded project like this is going to be used exclusively by the military when its ready for prime time.

But, as said, like all military technology...it eventually becomes civilianized.


OLD TECHNOLOGY FUNNY
By rosadoralph on 5/7/07, Rating: -1
RE: OLD TECHNOLOGY FUNNY
By osalcido on 5/8/2007 2:27:24 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah the government LOVES being dependent on foreign oil and will do anything it pleases to keep that dependency....

Do you have any proof? No? Then shutup.


RE: OLD TECHNOLOGY FUNNY
By Whedonic on 5/10/2007 1:04:14 PM , Rating: 2
The "Cold Fusion" of the 1980s was not reliably reproducible, hence the ridicule.


This means nothing
By Comdrpopnfresh on 5/5/07, Rating: -1
RE: This means nothing
By Goty on 5/5/2007 11:43:23 AM , Rating: 2
No fusion reaction is truly stable on its own (especially at low temperatures), which is one of the big advantages of fusion over fission. If a fission reaction goes wrong somehow, you get Chernobyl all over again, but if a fusion reaction goes wrong, it will shut itself down because the reaction is not sustainable without outside influence (i.e. the force that is creating the conditions for the reaction to take place).


RE: This means nothing
By masher2 (blog) on 5/5/2007 12:24:56 PM , Rating: 2
This isn't quite true. There is no inherent difference in sustainability between fission and fusion. Many fission reactions are inherently damped, i.e. the decay of natural uranium. Its even possible to build a fission reactor with a negative reactivity coefficient, so that its naturally damping (see Rubbia's 'energy amplifier' for one such design).

Fusion is no different. A small reaction is easily generated (a high school science project can fuse individual atoms), but is naturally damping and thus inefficient for power generation. A large-scale reaction is self-sustaining...and is the basis of both hydrogen-bombs and stellar output.

The real difference is that fusion uses the heat from previous reactions to drive future ones, whereas fission uses neutrons from past reactions. In both cases, if you can maintain a positive coefficient, you've got a self-sustaining reaction.


RE: This means nothing
By doctor sam adams on 5/6/2007 8:07:06 AM , Rating: 2
A fusion reaction is not sustainable unless it is tightly contained.


RE: This means nothing
By geddarkstorm on 5/9/2007 11:47:29 PM , Rating: 2
Lol, yeah, as I said to another poster, in Popular Science April 2007 edition they have a "how to" section about building a fusion reactor as some kid did for his high school project. Of course it can bearly heat coffee, but it is real fusion. Making it an energy source that gives more than is put in... that's the trick, not doing it. Right on on everything Masher. Fortunately, fusion hates heavy atoms as a much higher heat is needed to fuse them otherwise it quenches the reaction (super nova). Thus a fusion reactor go awry on earth would be rapidly quenched by atmosphere (or just throw some iron in it), though you may get quite the boom it would at least be over rapidly (in theory) and not fizzle radiactively for ages like Chernobyl. *shrugs* Pick your poison.


RE: This means nothing
By AvidDailyTechie on 5/6/2007 1:40:53 AM , Rating: 3
As someone said above, [one of] the potential gains from this "cold fusion" is the reduction of net energy required to produce these fusion reactions. This would make achieving and surpassing the "break-even" point (i.e. creating a viable power source) much less difficult. Achieving and surpassing this “break-even” point is where much (if not all?) of current fusion research/development is focused and the reason why there are not any commercial fusion power plants.
Why has no one focused on this?

quote:
If a fission reaction goes wrong somehow, you get Chernobyl all over again, but if a fusion reaction goes wrong, it will shut itself down...

This is almost like the #$%! I hear from "environmentalists" opposing nuclear power due to [their ignorance.... or I mean] its "polluting" effects or whatever the &%$@ they’re talking about.

To everyone whom has yet to read any creditable documentation on nuclear energy:

Chernobyl occurred for two distinct reasons, (1) the reactor had a positive power coefficient at low power levels, (2) the operators violated many operating procedures in order to run an experiment they were conducting at the time of the "explosion."

The "explosion" at Chernobyl was high-pressure STEAM blowing the reactor apart.

No Chernobyl-type reactors were EVER built outside of the Soviet Union.

As for positive power coefficients, NO [nuclear] reactor of any type (at ANY power level) can be licensed with a positive power coefficient in the US.

ALL current designs are made to ‘shut themselves down’ if anything goes wrong.


RE: This means nothing
By NaughtyGeek on 5/6/2007 1:40:15 PM , Rating: 2
While you're assertions on Chernobyl are correct as well as your statement about positive power coefficients, you seem to be stating that the type of reactors the US uses are "unbreakable" by design. Yes, the reaction will moderate itself but requires a closed loop water system to do so. Take away the water, or introduce new "cold" water and the reaction intensifies and will take the reactor to temperatures beyond what the building materials can handle and you then have a "melt down." Once things begin to melt, all design parameters are null and void and you are quite capable of sustaining the uncontrolled reaction. Read up on Three Mile Island for more information.
I am in no way downing nuclear power as I feel it is the best energy resource we have available to us at this time. But to say an accident on the scale of Chernobyl can't happen here is patently false. It just wouldn't happen in the same manner. The end result would be just as bad if not worse.


RE: This means nothing
By masher2 (blog) on 5/6/2007 2:30:17 PM , Rating: 4
> "to say an accident on the scale of Chernobyl can't happen here is patently false.."

A Chernobyl-style accident cannot happen here in the US. Yes, a light-water reactor can still experience a meltdown (though its far more unlikely than in a primitive Chernobyl-style RBMK design). But even if a meltdown occurs, western reactors include an enormously thick and strong containment dome, sufficient to prevent a release of radiation. Three Mile Island is an excellent example; the core experienced a meltdown, yet only trace levels of radiation were released. No humans were killed, or even suffered the slightest health effects.

And of course, I have to point out that plants like TMI are based on 1960s-era designs. We have far safer designs on the books, ones that cannot possibly melt down under any possible circumstances. There seems to be little public interest in building them, however.


RE: This means nothing
By Zoomer on 5/6/2007 10:42:02 PM , Rating: 3
Pebble bed reactors seem safe enough. It cannot possibly meltdown.


RE: This means nothing
By powermil on 5/7/2007 1:00:43 AM , Rating: 2
There are "moderators" and then there are Moderators...Just dump boron into the reactor and snuff it, No closed loop water needed. That is just to boil water for the steam turbine(that thread seems so long ago)


RE: This means nothing
By Spoelie on 5/6/2007 8:01:52 AM , Rating: 2
So our sun is defying the laws of physics, or just the laws of Goty? ;)


RE: This means nothing
By CollegeTechGuy on 5/6/2007 11:39:44 AM , Rating: 2
Remember, the sun is slowly dieing. It will burn out one day, so its technically not producing enough energy to sustain itself. Just enough energy to keep it going to the time being.


RE: This means nothing
By Zoomer on 5/6/2007 10:41:09 PM , Rating: 2
You don't make sense. Of course it'll burn out. Why do you think all this electricity, weather, etc comes from?


RE: This means nothing
By BigPeen on 5/7/2007 1:13:17 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, this is pretty ignorrant. Modern fission reactors are essentially "unmeltdownable". I don't really care to go into the specifics, but modern reactors require little manpower, are mostly automated, and literally as safe as any power source can be. Don't go spreading hippie garbage. Modern reactors are nothign compared to poorly maintained, poorly run, poorly designed reactors of the 1970's soviet union.


RE: This means nothing
By CollegeTechGuy on 5/6/2007 11:37:36 AM , Rating: 2
There is no such thing as 100% effenciency, let alone what your asking for over 100% effenciency. At least not at this time. Energy is lost in more than just heat.


RE: This means nothing
By LogicallyGenius on 5/8/2007 1:29:43 AM , Rating: 2
Ok I beleive they can do it, ie. Cold Fusion.

But the quextion is, can they generate power with it ?


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