Researchers at NIF moving closer to fusion ignition point

Sep 13, 2011 by Bob Yirka weblog
NIF's power conditioning system has more than 160 kilometers of high-voltage cable, which delivers energy to the system's 7,680 flashlamps.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers at the U.S. National Ignition Facility (NIF) report that they are growing ever closer to reaching the ignition point with their laser generated nuclear fusion project. The facility, part of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has been doing research to find out if very high powered lasers could be used to create nuclear fusion that could then be used to drive steam turbines to make electricity. In related news, officials for UK companies AWE and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory have announced that they are joining forces with the research team working on the NIF project, adding years of expertise in both nuclear fusion and laser technology.

To achieve inertial confinement fusion, researchers at the NIF project shoot multiple (192) very at a single pellet comprised of the , which causes it to compress to a fraction of its original size and fuse into helium atoms -releasing neutrons. The neutrons could then, in theory, be used to heat water to drive steam turbines. The only problem is, thus far, the power consumed by the lasers (some shots use more power than the whole rest of the United States) exceeds the power produced by firing them at the pellet. But, that appears to be changing.

At a meeting this past week, sponsored by London’s Royal Society, representatives from the US facility and its two new British partners met to announce the terms of agreement between them all. NIF Director Ed Moses told the group (according to the BBC) that one shot of the NIF recently produced, for just the tiniest fraction of a second, more power than all the rest of the world was consuming. And while that is certainly impressive, it’s still just a fraction of what is needed to achieve ignition; the point where a self-sustaining chain reaction occurs (required for energy gain). Moses added that he believes the group will achieve ignition within the next couple of years. Part of the reason for his optimism is the advances that have been made in high power laser diodes over the ten years since the NIF was first designed.

Laser Bay 2, one of NIF's two laser bays, was commissioned on July 31, 2007.

One possible issue the group will certainly need to discuss is the enormous number of hydrogen pellets that would be needed to feed a facility that was actually engaged in producing electricity; some estimates range to 10 pellets a second, or a million every day.

If the team is successful in its endeavor, the enormous amounts of tax dollars spent will be more than made up for in energy production. Just 1300 pounds of water, for example, could provide as much electricity as 2 million metric tons of coal.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.


Explore further: Neutron tomography technique reveals phase fractions of crystalline materials in 3-dimensions

More information: lasers.llnl.gov/

Update (9/15/2011): The story has been corrected to reflect inertial confinement fusion at NIF.

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Nanobanano
4.6 / 5 (27) Sep 13, 2011
To achieve cold fusion, researchers at the NIF project shoot multiple (192 ) very high powered lasers at a single pellet comprised of the hydrogen isotope deuterium, which causes it to compress to a fraction of its original size and fuse into helium atoms -releasing neutrons


Who wrote this article?

This isn't cold fusion at all. This is hot fusion, idiot.

Shooting lasers at a target is, by definition, hot fusion.

This makes the author come across as writing a physics article and not even having a damn clue what he's talking about, not even the basics...damn.
Eikka
1.2 / 5 (22) Sep 13, 2011
The whole concept seems ridiculous, as they are essentially exploding miniature hydrogen bombs at a rapid rate. Even if they figure out how to feed the thing with millions of pellets a day, how are they going to make the structure withstand the explosions at larger scale to produce useful amounts of power?

First they should design the steam boiler that can run on high explosives and go from there.
macsglen
4.1 / 5 (11) Sep 13, 2011
To achieve cold fusion, researchers at the NIF project shoot multiple (192 ) very high powered lasers at a single pellet comprised of the hydrogen isotope deuterium, which causes it to compress to a fraction of its original size and fuse into helium atoms -releasing neutrons


Who wrote this article?

This isn't cold fusion at all. This is hot fusion, idiot.

Shooting lasers at a target is, by definition, hot fusion.

This makes the author come across as writing a physics article and not even having a damn clue what he's talking about, not even the basics...damn.

Agreed. There can't be anything cold about the focal point of 192 UV lasers.
I really would love to see fusion power become established, though.
that_guy
3.9 / 5 (9) Sep 13, 2011
The writer was composing the article on his iPad. *Damn Autocorrect*

But seriously, judging from the article, I assume that was somehow entirely unintentional, and could result from composing it in open office or other programs, if you've used the phrase "cold fusion' a few times already. I've never known physorg to have exemplary copy editing.

It is exciting news though.
Dichotomy
1 / 5 (22) Sep 13, 2011
Millions more jobs lost to technological innovation. I don't think we shouldn't continue to move forward with it mind you. But a lot of unemployed people usually results in povertay and subsequent political instability.
Nanobanano
2 / 5 (17) Sep 13, 2011
Millions more jobs lost to technological innovation. I don't think we shouldn't continue to move forward with it mind you. But a lot of unemployed people usually results in povertay and subsequent political instability.


Your insight serves you well.

Our politicians and even business owners don't have a clue what's really going on.

Neither democrat nor Republican ideology works in the modern world. They are fossils of an archaic system which is becoming obsolete. Even such fundamental things as "currency" are becoming obsolete.

Retardigans believe everyone should own a "small business," and puts images of gourmet cupcake stores and such in your head, but in reality, their "small business" phrase is a code word for 1099 "self employment," of whom most actually make below average income...

On the other hand, the dummycrats believe that spending a lot of money just for the hell of it for services nobody needs will somehow solve employment problems.
Nanobanano
2.3 / 5 (11) Sep 13, 2011
Both of these philosophies are completely wrong and miss the point.

We are approaching type 1 civilization. The technology and the people demand it, even if they don't consciously realize it.

Economic principles that used to be considered fundamental will become meaningless as technology and knowledge advances exponentially.

The fossils in charge of our government and businesses are so short-sighted.

Why do so many white collar works even drive to work any more? Internet and smart phones makes most jobs more than doable from home, or replaceable by computer software and integration. People just haven't fully realized it yet.

You could replace at least half the accounting an legal jobs in America just with an minor ammendment to the 4th ammendment (or abolishing it completely,) combined with computer technology, and BOOM. Taxes would be filed and computed accurately, automatically on a computer network that tracks all transactions electronically...cont...
Nanobanano
1.5 / 5 (8) Sep 13, 2011
This would immediately and instantly make most forms of tax fraud impossible,a nd it would make illegal purchases such as drugs much harder to transfer funds or resources. Illegal purchases would be limited solely to bartering, since ordinary transactions would be traced.

With this system, there would be almost no use for accountants, tax preparers, or even a big portion of lawyers. Civilization would be geometrically, heck maybe even exponentially more efficient, because people would have no more reason for so many stupid legal fights over everything or trying to rob one another.

Certain phrases in the 4th ammendment represent significant hindrances to the advancement of technological civilization, and it's time America takes a serious look at it. It hinders the integration of information technology with business and government.
hard2grep
3 / 5 (4) Sep 13, 2011
did i just hear a Dyson concept? guys, this is the closest you will get to cold fusion considering fusion creates massive amounts of energy. There is simply no way to heat up an object to fusion temps without heating it up. I think the author was referring to the cryogenic frozen fuel involved with this fusion process. The old dream of bringing atoms to their threshold by smashing rounds of water against them is history. You cannot coax atoms to fuse unless they have enough energy to overcome their charges. cooling down atoms does not remove their charges.
Wulfgar
5 / 5 (5) Sep 13, 2011
This is all very impressive, but a number of things about this project are a bit discouraging. For instance, NIF is still very far from an operating demonstration reactor. Its still just an experiment even after they "break even". I realize that lasers get cheaper and more efficient all of the time, so maybe this thing won't end up being as massive as it is today, but then they have to add the whole energy capture system, so maybe still requiring lots of raw material, etc. Also, when I hear that there will have to be a whole separate infrastructure to manufacture hundreds of millions/billions of these fuel pellets per year, I begin to wonder how cheap and energy efficient this system can be?
Nanobanano
2.7 / 5 (6) Sep 13, 2011
You're joking right?

Manufacturing fuel pellets is a physical and chemical process. Fusion releases around a million times more energy than that.

If the system was even 1% efficient it would represent a thousand fold energy return.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (7) Sep 13, 2011
The writer was composing the article on his iPad. *Damn Autocorrect*

But seriously, judging from the article, I assume that was somehow entirely unintentional, and could result from composing it in open office or other programs, if you've used the phrase "cold fusion' a few times already. I've never known physorg to have exemplary copy editing.

It is exciting news though.
Sorry, the phrase is repeated many times. Anyone who knew what cold fusion really was should have cringed at the mixup.

This guys head should roll down the hall and out the door. Unless physorg is intentionally fishing for hits? Ever notice the annoying mistakes in commercials lately that make you remember them?

Naw. Off with his head.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 13, 2011
did i just hear a Dyson concept? guys, this is the closest you will get to cold fusion considering fusion creates massive amounts of energy. There is simply no way to heat up an object to fusion temps without heating it up. I think the author was referring to the cryogenic frozen fuel involved with this fusion process. The old dream of bringing atoms to their threshold by smashing rounds of water against them is history. You cannot coax atoms to fuse unless they have enough energy to overcome their charges. cooling down atoms does not remove their charges.
You don't know what cold fusion is either? Try GOOGLE and WIKI.
wealthychef
5 / 5 (11) Sep 13, 2011
The whole concept seems ridiculous, as they are essentially exploding miniature hydrogen bombs at a rapid rate. Even if they figure out how to feed the thing with millions of pellets a day, how are they going to make the structure withstand the explosions at larger scale to produce useful amounts of power?

First they should design the steam boiler that can run on high explosives and go from there.


The explosions are not going to be at a larger scale. The amount of mass needed to produce huge amounts of power by fusion is actually quite small -- measured in grams. You don't want large scale nuclear explosions happening -- THAT would be ridiculous indeed. I suggest you hold off on making design recommendations at this point in your reactor design career. :-)
Msean1941
5 / 5 (2) Sep 13, 2011
The Cold Fusion gaffe is tempered by the joke of a Google ad by octadyne.com offering "Cold Fusion experts" for your next Cold Fusion project I assume.
fmfbrestel
5 / 5 (1) Sep 13, 2011
similar idea with more proven technology would be Heavy Ion Fusion. You could re-purpose the firmilab accelerator, create a ton of high tech jobs, and have tons of electricity. Works sort of like laser ignition except they use accelerated heavy ions to heat the targets. If you have the time google "heavy ion fusion google tech talks".
typicalguy
3 / 5 (5) Sep 13, 2011
You're joking right?

Manufacturing fuel pellets is a physical and chemical process. Fusion releases around a million times more energy than that.
If the system was even 1% efficient it would represent a thousand fold energy return.


There was a scientific American article about the NIF last year. It was very good and much more pessimistic than this article. Rather than get into the details, let me tell you that it isn't a simple process to make the pellets (which btw cost a million dollars each to manufacture). The tritium in the pellets is collected from currently operating fission plants.
According to the article, the big reason the facility was built was for the military. Apparently it's a way to test nuclear bomb potency/ideas without breaking the nuclear test ban treaty. When I read about successes at the NIF, I can't help but be a little annoyed knowing it wasn't really built with science in mind (even if some good science comes out of it).
typicalguy
2 / 5 (7) Sep 13, 2011
Ran out of space above. Imagine producing one million pellets a day at the cost of one million dollars per pellet. Plus it would have to be self sustaining - create its own tritium, since the world supply of tritium would be depleted before one days pellets are used.. So you have a situation where the nuetons it creates have to have a 100% hit rate on the nucleius of the atoms around and a machine would have to rapidly collect the tritium, repair the walls, build the pellets (which have to be almost perfect spheres), load the pellets into the gum and fire them into the exact center of the lasers. Obviously this is not a feasible power generation scheme.
That said, it's foolish to perform these experiments, using more electricity than the rest of the US without having some turbines pesent to 'give back' some of that electricity. Instead it's simply waste heat. What a........waste.
tkjtkj
5 / 5 (3) Sep 13, 2011

Agreed. There can't be anything cold about the focal point of 192 UV lasers.
I really would love to see fusion power become established, though.


Perhaps, to a pyromaniac, 10 million degrees is 'cold' ??
Wulfgar
5 / 5 (1) Sep 13, 2011
If each fuel pellet costs 1 million dollars, then your total fuel cost will be outrageous. Even if they get the per pellet cost down, its still a ridiculously expensive fuel source, which is, kind of the opposite of what the promise of fusion is supposed to deliver.
typicalguy
5 / 5 (1) Sep 13, 2011
If each fuel pellet costs 1 million dollars, then your total fuel cost will be outrageous. Even if they get the per pellet cost down, its still a ridiculously expensive fuel source, which is, kind of the opposite of what the promise of fusion is supposed to deliver.


I read the article in an issue of the magazine but apparently they did an interview in a podcast about it too. It turns out that NIF isn't releasing the cost of the pellet, the 1 million dollar per pellet is based on others making similar pellets. To read a written transcript of the podcast, here's a link. I highly recommend it.
http://www.scient...10-03-17
antonima
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
I seriously think all these green energy projects are a giant boondoggle. Its great there is money to sponsor science.. renewable resources will be required in the future, but I'm sure it won't be through the working of 'The BIGGEST LASER system on earth'. This is a research facility, it isn't meant to steadily produce electricity.
David_Wishengrad
not rated yet Sep 13, 2011
Moses said in 2008 that they were hoping to have fusion within 3 years. It has been three years and he says they are ahead of schedule, so what gives?
Roj
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011
the world supply of tritium would be depleted before one days pellets are used.
At the end of the video Edward Moses explains Tritium reduces yield for full diagnostics at ignition conditions, and was not intended for production purposes.

Mr. Moses also mentions peer reviewed research, and overseas partnerships with UK companies AWE and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, may presumably share funding, and research efforts.

Private sectors take notice of public-sector research & payoffs. Some day private economies may lead the investment efforts, and employ more people for science and technology research economies.

The last decade proved private research in nano-materials, medical science, and consumer gadgets can payoff, right now the research investments are betting on energy payoffs.

Tomorrow this growing-collective, research economy, may hold its governments to similar standards of scientific method, peer review, & accountability. No more Retardigans and Dummycrats.
tysoncable
5 / 5 (6) Sep 14, 2011
speculate all you wont. once the technology is proved. engineers will develop designs. economy of scale will be predicted. opportunity cost to current resources weighed. economics evaluated and the big red button pressed (or not). but either way, innovation and human advancement is occurring. go NIF go. you miss 100% of the shots you dont take.
Callippo
1 / 5 (4) Sep 14, 2011
Will NIF work? http://arxiv.org/...4229.pdf

The answer is obviously: NOT. Based on what is known today, it is unlikely that NIF will produce practical amounts of fusion energy. The money should be invested into cold fusion research, which already produced more energy during single run, than all hot fusion units together.
Callippo
1 / 5 (4) Sep 14, 2011
In addition, NIF is not a clean source of energy at all - it produces a much more toxic waste, than the classical nuclear reactors. After SSC, it's another huge big waste of tax payer's money.

http://www.nytime...ore.html
ubavontuba
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 14, 2011
Fusion Confusion
by Ubavontuba:

Fusion confusion, infusion and more
Funding required, greenbacks for sure
Hydrogen heated with lasers that cook
Energy forever, if they get it to work

Consumption presumption, gumption and more
Heat from a source, like from the sun's core
"It's coming soon." they assert once again
Here I am wondering, just when is then?

Polywell, Pinch, Tokamak and more
Fusion alternatives they wish to explore
Billions of dollars spent on a whim
"Hurry!" I say, "My bulbs grow dim!"

Conflagration fiction, confliction and more
It passes from fact to myth then to lore
"Unlimited energy." I hear them yet say
Just burn the money, it's cheaper that way

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Sep 14, 2011
There can't be anything cold about the focal point of 192 UV lasers.

I think the author simply misquoted "cryogenic fusion" as "cold fusion". NIF uses cryogenic fuel pellets for its operations.
It is also dubious whether NIF is really after energy creation via fusion. It is first and foremost a nuclear weapons research institute. The 'civil use of fusion news' out iof NIF could very well be just PR.
Callippo
1 / 5 (3) Sep 14, 2011
With respect to cold fusion the hot fusion approach sounds illogical. Why to collide mutually repulsive hot particles, when the electrically neutral atoms have Coulomb barrier mostly compensated already? The Lawson criterions are based on product of temperature and time: if we prolonge the time, we can keep the temperature low and we'll even save the energy required for heating and compression of atom nuclei.
Pkunk_
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011
I think the authore was trying to convey the fact that there is no need to create and maintain hot plasma like in the ITER .

The fusion initation in this experiment is generated through the immense force of pressure that 192 beams of UV light cast when focused on a single point. The temperatures generated are more a product of this pressure and due to actual fusion. It is pretty much an opposite concept from the ITER .

The concept is kind of like in the core of a star when immense pressure due to gravity causes nucei to get squashed together and spontaneously fuse.

If fusion really is happening here then it should be a good retort to the alternative theories of how stars generate energy.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Sep 14, 2011
If fusion really is happening here then it should be a good retort to the alternative theories of how stars generate energy.

Since there have been fusion bombs around for more than 50 years I think that argument is already settled.
spaceagesoup
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011
poor, poor short-sighted fools.

Dichotomy being the worst. People aren't born to work. we could have a world where our energy comes for free* and our workaday lives are freed up for more creative pursuits. But I don't suppose you're into that.

This is science at it's leading-edge, and certainly at least it's about finding a better way. Kudos to NIF for the laser-model. This idea, coupled with research into all sorts of fusion energy production going on around the globe, are our best efforts to a freer future.

Science is about exploring nature. Short-sightedness and presumption like saying "fusion bombs were around 50 years ago, so the argument is settled" is both non-science and not with merit on any level debate.

It's okay to dream. Our understanding of the quantum level of matter is getting better and weirder everyday, so keep on keeping on with your laser tests and finding ways to produce better, cleaner, cheaper energy for the world, cos we gunna need it y'all.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011
That fusion research is a good idea is without doubt. The argument about fusion bombs was in realtion to the question of how the sun makes its energy.

we could have a world where our energy comes for free* and our workaday lives are freed up for more creative pursuits.

While I agree that we are not born to work 9-to-5 I have to disagree that freeing up all our time would naturally produce a happy civilization.

Look at the unemployed in many countries which do have a basic (and more or less indefinitely available) welfare system. Are these people being creative with all their time? Are they spending it in pursuit of some (worthwhile) activity that they couldn't pursue while employed? Or are many just whittling away the boredom in front of the TV and protesting their condition?
rawa1
1 / 5 (4) Sep 14, 2011
That fusion research is a good idea is without doubt.
Cold fusion research is way way better idea. And it works, whereas hot fusion still hasn't and it's way cleaner technology. And it doesn't suffer with overpricing risk like all large hot fusion projects. We actually don't require such huge centralized energy sources for anything.

http://www.guardi...-funding
gimpypoet
1 / 5 (1) Sep 14, 2011
no matter how much energy is produced, whoever has the tech is going to want to make money with it.we (society) need to change the cycle of wealth and greed.as long as civilization is run on money,we will have to work for it.another system will have to be implemented to "free" us from the need to work for money to buy what we need and want.maybe instead of gov't passing laws that protect corporations, we should demand that it buys utilities and provides them for free. thewater systems and the grid, with the exception of new sections has been paid for for years, and because of tax revenues to fill the coffers, we still pay for these services and their maintenance. we work for the gov't, the gov't does not work for us.greed drives the economy, and the more money you have the more youcan make and keep.this needs to change to"free" our society. I still beleive the U.S.A. is the best in the world, but china has a great system in spite of its communism.
gimpypoet
1 / 5 (1) Sep 14, 2011
they have a communistic gov't, but they still have millions in poverty. they still have classes and they still have small groups of rich and larger groups that are poor. their system isn't "freeing" their people either. "for the love of money is the root of all evil" whether god inspired on a man made construct , is very close to the truest statement ever stated.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011
no matter how much energy is produced, whoever has the tech is going to want to make money with it.

Unless the technology is so simple and/or the means to manufacture it is in the hands of everybody.

- Simple tech could be abundant catalysts that split water into hydrogen and oxygen (as reported elsewhere recently on physorg)
- The means to manufacture more advanced tech could come with the advent of cheap 3D printers (also a topic of one of the recent top stories here)

Basically as soon as tech for energy production, creation of basic goods and creation of consumables becomes decentralized the game for capitalims (or maybe even governments in any form) will be up.
spaceagesoup
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011
being on welfare in a state that looks down on those who leech off the system is totally different to a world in which everyone is free to pursue their interests at leisure. think forward!
AngryMoose
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011
maybe the heat is irrelevant and the lasers produce enough force to overcome the repulsive forces, cold fusion that just gets hot :D
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 14, 2011
There can't be anything cold about the focal point of 192 UV lasers.

I think the author simply misquoted "cryogenic fusion" as "cold fusion". NIF uses cryogenic fuel pellets for its operations.
It is also dubious whether NIF is really after energy creation via fusion. It is first and foremost a nuclear weapons research institute. The 'civil use of fusion news' out iof NIF could very well be just PR.
I think it is first and foremost a research facility. Fusion will be extremely useful in the future and various applications will require it to be produced in different ways. Inertial confinement is potentially simpler than tokamaks for instance because there is nothing between the source of energy and the means to convert or apply it. Just a big empty chamber full of energy.

This means laser fusion could be the best candidate for propulsion engines. The tech which everybody considers so daunting - targeting, production, fuel, etc - will be relatively easy to resolve.
suzobr
not rated yet Sep 14, 2011
And how much energy does it take to produce said energy? Seems very convoluted.
Pkunk_
1.5 / 5 (2) Sep 14, 2011
no matter how much energy is produced, whoever has the tech is going to want to make money with it.we (society) need to change the cycle of wealth and greed.as long as civilization is run on money,we will have to work for it.another system will have to be implemented to "free" us from the need to work for money to buy what we need and want.

I still beleive the U.S.A. is the best in the world, but china has a great system in spite of its communism.


China is no longer a communist state. Rather it is now the most capitalist country on the face of this planet. And thats why it's doing so well.
It's glorious to get rich . A little greed is always necessary for any society to progress. Otherwise we would all be just sitting around doing nothing since there is no reward for hard work.
Nanobanano
5 / 5 (5) Sep 14, 2011
Otherwise we would all be just sitting around doing nothing since there is no reward for hard work.


There never has been a reward for "Hard work". Hence the phrase "work smarter, not harder".

"Hard work" was 100 guys using hand tools to harvest a field of wheat, or 100's of lumberjacks working 12 hours days to cut wood with hand axes and hand saws...

Not very rewarding either. Imagine how many probably died from heat stroke, or just from working themselves to death...

The "hardest" workers, typically laborers, do not make the most money, and never have.

The fact that they work hard means they have even less time for education, which leaves them working harder and harder all thier lives until the ticker stops.

the Republican lie is that, "Well, if everyone worked harder they'd be wealthy, of if everyone had a degree they'd be better served," and it's just not true.
Nanobanano
4.8 / 5 (4) Sep 14, 2011
Some "lazy" inventors who didn't want to work hard invented things like chain saws, band saws, and the combine, and now look what happened? Average expected life spand doubled since then.

Working harder was not rewarding at all. It was killing people.

Working "Smarter" which means more education, more inventions and automation, and less labor, now that is rewarding.

But the wealthy do not care about that anyway. The wealthy have always had a slave class, even since it was "officially" abolished, with which to serve their selfish desires.

In the 50's and 60's the country was starting to get out of that situation, but then the 1980's came and Reagan cut taxes on the insanely wealthy, and now the cost of living has gone up 4 or 5 times faster than wages since then, even as the wealthy are ten times richer.

Slavery may have been officially abolished, but in practice it never went away, and now it's all races, not just african americans...
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Sep 15, 2011
The measure for the energy in vs. energy out is the energy gain factor (Q)

http://en.wikiped...n_factor

If I remeber correctly the larger current fusion setups run at a Q of 0.7 or thereabouts. A Q factor of 1 is considered a 'breakeven' scenario (though that is not strictly true, as not all the energy produced can be captured and fed back)

For commercial grade fusion reactors we'd need a Q factor of 20-30 (some say 15 would be enough).

Theoretically you can have a Q factor of infinite if the post-fusion state is conductive to further fusion (i.e. creating a runaway/cascading process like in fission reactors which then needs to be moderated. Though in fusion moderation is much easier to do because here you can just regulate the amount of fuel injected into the container and any kind of reaction that damages the container - e.g. by erroneously injecting too much fuel - would immediately lower the Q-factor and halt the process)
spaceagesoup
not rated yet Sep 15, 2011
(Theoretically you can have a Q factor of infinite if the post-fusion state is conductive to further fusion)

not infinite, but lots yes.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Sep 16, 2011
not infinite, but lots yes.

In that case the Q factor just keeps getting higher the longer you run the process - but actually for that case the Q factor isn't really defined.

For example the Sun is such a process. There was no initial 'energy input' to start the fusion but the 'containment' structure of the Sun (gravity) keeps it going until the fuel runs out.
Pkunk_
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 16, 2011
Some "lazy" inventors who didn't want to work hard invented things like chain saws, band saws, and the combine, and now look what happened? Average expected life spand doubled since then.

Believe it or not , inventing things is a LOT of hard work. Too many things to do like make blueprints , trial models and then trying to actually SELL what you've invented.

Most "smart" people actually do menial labour since they don't need to use their brains much. They just blame the system for their position and claim no amount of "hard work" can make them rich.


Working "Smarter" which means more education, more inventions and automation, and less labor, now that is rewarding.

Unlike you , most people are too smart to work if they had a choice. Why work if you can sit at home and get free money.
Like I said before its a lot easier to do menial work than get educated and invent stuff. Now thats some really hard work for the brain.
Wulfgar
not rated yet Sep 16, 2011
OK, so the director of NIF has said that they need to get the per pellet cost down from 1 million dollars to five cents. That sounds like a pretty tall order. Just one more huge roadblock in making a NIF-style power plant. That's the problem with fusion. All of the fusion schemes are either speculative experiments or experiments that have been developed to sufficient maturity that it becomes clear that there are numerous very steep or impossible barriers to overcome. That being said, I salute anyone trying to crack this difficult nut.
Twin
5 / 5 (1) Sep 17, 2011
Anyone see the irony in using fusion to power a steam generator?
frajo
3 / 5 (2) Sep 17, 2011
we could have a world where our energy comes for free* and our workaday lives are freed up for more creative pursuits.

While I agree that we are not born to work 9-to-5 I have to disagree that freeing up all our time would naturally produce a happy civilization.

Look at the unemployed in many countries which do have a basic (and more or less indefinitely available) welfare system. Are these people being creative with all their time? Are they spending it in pursuit of some (worthwhile) activity that they couldn't pursue while employed? Or are many just whittling away the boredom in front of the TV and protesting their condition?
Unhappiness, the lack of satisfaction is primarily due to the lack of acknowledgement. Most of these people suffer from being stigmatized as losers - even in their own esteem.
This won't change before every member of society is free to choose between working and not working.
Chef
5 / 5 (1) Sep 17, 2011
So all this boils down to (pun intended) is a new steam generator. Personally, I'm saddened by the lack of thinking outside the box, and actually come up with something other than just turning water to steam to turn turbines for power. Even the fission based nuclear power plants do the exact same thing, produce steam. Are we not capable of inventing an alternative power source to one that's been around for centuries?
Callippo
1 / 5 (1) Sep 17, 2011
This won't change before every member of society is free to choose between working and not working

And what prohibits the people in such decision?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Sep 17, 2011
So all this boils down to (pun intended) is a new steam generator. Personally, I'm saddened by the lack of thinking outside the box, and actually come up with something other than just turning water to steam to turn turbines for power. Even the fission based nuclear power plants do the exact same thing, produce steam. Are we not capable of inventing an alternative power source to one that's been around for centuries?
You say steam like its an automatic stigma. The reactors are made out of metal and they were making things out of metal back in the dark ages... And electricity - Thats pretty old too.

Steam is fine because it works. There IS nothing better or cheaper or more efficient or more mature for use at that stage in the system. Too bad.

These guys like it a lot
http://en.wikiped...teampunk
nxtr
not rated yet Sep 17, 2011
magnetic suspension in a tokamak seems a lot more rational
Eric_B
1 / 5 (1) Sep 17, 2011
I think everyone here from both sides of the argument will find nothing to disagree with if they fully consider this hypothesis that chronic widespread unhappiness is usually due to inability or lack of availability of the opportunity to serve others in a fulfilling way.

Idle hands/minds being "the Devil's" workshop...

When serving others I don't have time to be self-obsessed and I can get out there and spontaneously discover things about the world, other people and myself. Education is also an opportunity to learn new skills to improve the world. One of the major problems with education is the idea that it is about some dichotomy where I am either doing it for a money career or to make art, study butterfly fossils ;) etc.

There is a enough work out there and ENERGY to fuel to give everyone a job cleaning up this planet, upgrading infrastructure, helping people, etc.

Yes, I am a Utopianist. And, I believe creating Utopia takes real work. If people stop fighting about it...
Eric_B
not rated yet Sep 17, 2011
Umm,

To my physicist out there...

What is the lowdown on thorium reactors anyway?

Are they bunk?

Thanks.
frajo
3 / 5 (2) Sep 18, 2011
This won't change before every member of society is free to choose between working and not working

And what prohibits the people in such decision?

Why are you using two accounts, "rawa1" and "Callippo"?
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (1) Sep 18, 2011
The basic premise of hot fusion is that you suspend a bit of "fuel" in the crossfire of a bunch of bazillion watt lasers. The momentum of the laser photons is supposed to contain and compress the fuel while the kinetic energy is supposed to heat the fuel. Viola! The fuel reaches the correct pressure and temperature to begin fusing. However this method hasn't been able to sustain fusion and create enough energy to equal the input, much less have enough left over to run a steam turbine. Why?

The fault in the premise is two-pronged, mostly having to do with those pesky laws of motion and conservation that physics classes gloss over too quickly these days.

Let's examine "inertial containment." This is the use of the photon's inherent momentum to apply force to the fuel to compress it. This sounds plausible (and it sort of works), but does it work as anticipated? No. Why?

continued...
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (1) Sep 18, 2011
The laws of motion state that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Basically, by pushing on the fuel, the fuel reacts by pushing back. Since its "back" is against the "wall" of another laser beam pushing on the other side, all of the momentum applied to the fuel to compress it must be realized as an equal and opposite push outward of the fuel to resist compression. Basically, you can suspend the fuel and compress it to a degree, but you can't compress it indefinitely. Eventually you reach a limit of compression wherein the fuel is pushing back Just as hard as the lasers are pushing in. Essentially, it becomes a perfect reflector.

more...
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (1) Sep 18, 2011
Momentum isn't the only story though. Containment must always be lost. Why? Because of the kinetic energy (not to be confused with momentum). Tremendous amounts of kinetic energy. A bazillion watts in the space of the fuel pellet.

As the fuel absorbs energy from the lasers, the photons are converted into kinetic energy within the fuel. Kinetic energy that compounds the effects of, and works in parallel with the forces of momentum trying to push the fuel's boundaries outward from the center.

In other words, the more energy you apply, the more energy you need for containment, so the more energy you apply, so the more energy you need for containment! It's a vicious cycle! Eventually, containment must be lost.

The energy levels of the fuel do rise to a point where fusion is obtained (reportedly), but it doesn't seem likely that the energy input to output will likely ever rise to utilitarian levels using this method.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (1) Sep 18, 2011
The sun works because the pressure of gravity is not an externally applied inertial force. It's merely a compression from an internal force. The compression is suspended by the intense kinetic energy put out by the fusing mass, but it's a war of force that the fusion mass must eventually lose. Someday, the sun will likely explode and then collapse into a white dwarf.

Earthbound fusion is just the opposite. The war of energy between the lasers and the fusing fuel must be lost by the lasers. When this happens, containment is lost.

more...
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (1) Sep 18, 2011
Another way of looking at it is to consider the explosive force. The lasers compress the fuel to the point of fusion and the fuel is super-energized by the fusion process. Suddenly, the lasers are pitifully weak in comparison to the burst of energy put out by the fusing mass. The pellet expands. Coincidently, the force of the lasers decreases by the square of the distance from the focal point. Therefore the more the plasma expands, the easier expanding becomes.

So ironically... the quicker containment is lost, the more successful the fusion process was to begin with!

Therefore, a practical level of energy production is, apparently, not possible.

The End.
Husky
not rated yet Sep 18, 2011
my bet is on the Z-machine
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) Sep 18, 2011
Therefore, a practical level of energy production is, apparently, not possible.
All of that from someone who has no idea what he's talking about, in order to decide something he's not qualified to decide. And it's wrong by the way.

'Ubatuba today proved that laser fusion was pointless in a few posts on physorg.com. Scientists begin shutdown and dismantling of this multimillion $ project right away.'

Perhaps... you should assume that scientists knew enough about this process to build the facilities to test it, and that your conclusion only means that they know a GREAT deal more about it that you do? Because - the facility is built, the experiments are ongoing, and apparent progress is being made toward the goal because these scientists SAY it is. Per the article.
ubavontuba
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 19, 2011
progress is being made toward the goal because these scientists SAY it is.
Fusion scientists have been saying that for 50 years. Even Edward Moses admits this in the video. He just feels that this time, it'll REALLY work (he has to, it's his project).

...you know that always fifty years in the future, to maybe, ten to twenty years from now. - NIF Director, Edward Moses
Or, maybe not! LOL!

But you don't have to take my word for it:

Thomas Cochran, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, ...described NIF director Edward Moses and his team as snake oil salesmen.

Stephen Bodner, former director of laser-fusion research at the United States Naval Research Laboratory, said the NIF team has downplayed technical problems...


http://en.wikiped...iticisms

ubavontuba
1 / 5 (2) Sep 19, 2011
Otto:

I understand your desire for practical fusion. It would be amazing if it worked. I feel the same way. But the sad truth is, it's science fiction.

That it's so seemingly plausible is the reason it's fooled so many scientists. However, it's really nothing less than a perpetial energy scheme.

These same scientists would quickly laugh at perpetual wheels (and the like), while every day they go to work on an energy concept which has never met their own expectations. They just keep thinking if they could only tweak it and build it bigger, then all would be solved. But building a "bigger wheel" is not a solution. Real progress continues to elude them. Perhaps it's time to step back and ask: "Why?"

Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 19, 2011
Why are you using two accounts, "rawa1" and "Callippo"?
Zephyr has been caught a LOT of times using at least two accounts to pretend that he had support.

And he is he by the way. There has been some question but zephir is a male. And a Czech.

Ethelred
martinwolf
5 / 5 (1) Sep 19, 2011
seems eminently worth the effort ..the outcome is in theory remarkable if it can be achieved.....
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Sep 19, 2011
I understand your desire for practical fusion. It would be amazing if it worked. I feel the same way. But the sad truth is, it's science fiction.
How would you know either way?

The sad truth is many govts around the world are spending billions for fusion R&D despite uber's entreaties. Perhaps you are science fiction?
They just keep thinking if they could only tweak it and build it bigger, then all would be solved. But building a "bigger wheel" is not a solution.
Well... Either they are significantly detached from reality, or uber is significantly detached from reality. Why dont you earnestly beg your fairy godfather in the sky for guidance in resolving this dilemma?

What - you did and he earnestly told you you were right? Well that settles that then.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (2) Sep 19, 2011
How would you know either way?
History.

"Although it took less than ten years for fission to go from military applications to civilian fission energy production, it has been very different in the fusion energy field; more than fifty years have already passed since the first fusion reaction took place and sixty years since the first attempts to produce controlled fusion power, without any commercial fusion energy production plant coming into operation."

http://en.wikiped...research

...and smart people:

"French Nobel laureate in physics, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, said, "We say that we will put the sun into a box. The idea is pretty. The problem is, we don't know how to make the box"."

http://en.wikiped...riticism

This is swiftly developing into the biggest failure in the history of American big machine experimental physics.
- Christopher Paine

http://e360.yale....ge/2327/
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (2) Sep 19, 2011
The sad truth is many govts around the world are spending billions for fusion R&D despite uber's entreaties.
And governments are always right? Is that what you really think?

Perhaps you are science fiction?
Sure. I'm not really typing this, as I'm only a sci-fi character. Rather, my unnamed (and obviously genius) writer is. LOL!

Well... Either they are significantly detached from reality, or uber is significantly detached from reality.
Only time will tell, I guess. So far, I'm winning. :)

Why dont you earnestly beg your fairy godfather in the sky for guidance in resolving this dilemma?

What - you did and he earnestly told you you were right? Well that settles that then.
Are you off your meds again, Otto? ...having difficulty maintaining your focus on reality?

TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Sep 19, 2011
"Although it took less than ten years for fission to go from military applications to civilian fission energy production, it has been very different in the fusion energy field; more than fifty years have already passed since the first fusion reaction took place and sixty years since the first attempts to produce controlled fusion power, without any commercial fusion energy production plant coming into operation."
I would guess that it may be due to the fact that it is a much harder nut to crack; and that key technologies needed to make it work are evolving along with it.

And I do believe others are thinking these same things, which is why research continues.

Only religionists and others of immaturity lack the patience needed to understand the universe as it is and not as they might like it to be.
Only time will tell, I guess. So far, I'm winning. :)
'I intend to live forever. So far so good.' -Steven Wright
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Sep 19, 2011
""French Nobel laureate in physics, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, said, "We say that we will put the sun into a box. The idea is pretty. The problem is, we don't know how to make the box"."

-Yet. We dont know how to make the box YET oh godder of little faith.

'As we dont know how everything works at the moment, we can therefore stop trying and confidently conclude that god exists.' -kevinrts

-Uber is in such good company.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Sep 19, 2011
Per your last article ref:

"If the tests fail this year and fusion efforts do not receive subsequent funding, the U.S. could cede its leadership position in the controlled fusion race..."

-Which was written last year. According to the physorg article above, NIF is doing quite well.

More from your article:

"...to France, Japan, and China, all of which are racing to create fusion reactors. China, in particular, is committing huge amounts of money to fusion research as it eyes a potentially game-changing way to power its headlong industrial growth."

-Now I would conclude that, because all these countries are paying such huge sums to participate, this race must be imminently winnable.

Uba would look at the same evidence and think that he knows more than all the experts and financiers involved in concluding that it is not. Which makes more sense?
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (2) Sep 20, 2011
I would guess that it may be due to the fact that it is a much harder nut to crack;
Perhaps, but it could be it's simply physically impossible on a human scale.

and that key technologies needed to make it work are evolving along with it.
Not really. Mostly they just keep scaling already failed experiments up. But with some technical refinements.

And I do believe others are thinking these same things, which is why research continues.
Obviously. But desire alone won't make it so, if it can't be so.

Only religionists and others of immaturity lack the patience needed to understand the universe as it is and not as they might like it to be.
My point, exactly.

'I intend to live forever. So far so good.' -Steven Wright
LOL.

ubavontuba
1 / 5 (2) Sep 20, 2011
-Yet. We dont know how to make the box YET oh godder of little faith.
Well, a physical box is simply impossible at these temperatures. The only way i see it might work at all is with superconducting magnetic containment (superconducting coils don't need a constant inflow of energy to sustain the magnetic field). Laser confinement though... that's simply impossible.

'As we dont know how everything works at the moment, we can therefore stop trying and confidently conclude that god exists.' -kevinrts

-Uber is in such good company.
Sometimes, the smartest move is knowing when to retreat. The physics simply aren't there. You might as well spend billions trying to refine a perpetual wheel.

-Which was written last year. According to the physorg article above, NIF is doing quite well.
Quite well at spending money with no results. I could light a match and produce way more net energy than NIF ever has, or likely ever will.

ubavontuba
1.7 / 5 (6) Sep 20, 2011
-Now I would conclude that, because all these countries are paying such huge sums to participate, this race must be imminently winnable.
Right, like countries never commit vast resources to lost causes.

Uba would look at the same evidence and think that he knows more than all the experts and financiers involved in concluding that it is not. Which makes more sense?
I've clearly outlined the basic physics problems involved. Anyone is free to critique my presentation thereof. Which, in contrast to your simpleminded personal attacks, would be quite refreshing.

TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Sep 20, 2011
Perhaps, but it could be it's simply physically impossible on a human scale.
Again - this is why billions are currently being spent on it.
Not really. Mostly they just keep scaling already failed experiments up. But with some technical refinements.
So now you admit that you really know very little about fusion research and yet feel confident in making conclusions about it? Jesus taught you and kevin to think this way.
Well, a physical box is simply impossible at these temperatures.
-which this quote painfully proves.
The only way i see it might work at all is with superconducting magnetic containment (superconducting coils don't need a constant inflow of energy to sustain the magnetic field).
-And this one.
Laser confinement though... that's simply impossible.
-And this one.
The physics simply aren't there. You might as well spend billions trying to refine a perpetual wheel.
-And that one. That's a doozy!
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Sep 20, 2011
But this ones the best:
I've clearly outlined the basic physics problems involved.
Well thankyou dr spock.
Anyone is free to critique my presentation thereof.
-Which will of course have little effect on your understanding of it's lack of content.
Which, in contrast to your simpleminded personal attacks
Dude you attack yourself by posting nonsense with 'stupid' written all over it. I blame jesus for teaching you how to be a martyr.
would be quite refreshing.
How about I shove you in the creek? That would be refreshing yes? 'I baptize thee in the name of audacious ignoramity.' -is what I would say. Otto the Baptist.
SR71BlackBird
not rated yet Sep 20, 2011
I just wanted to say something about the argument of 'hard work' versus 'intelligent' work. People that invent different types of technologies, by definition, do not 'work hard'. Work is the expenditure of energy, and I hardly think making up blue prints and going through thought processes and experiment testing requires that much energy. It's true that the more automated our society is, the less we do 'hard work', and the more time we have to explore other ventures.
ubavontuba
1.4 / 5 (5) Sep 20, 2011
Again - this is why billions are currently being spent on it.

So now you admit that you really know very little about fusion research and yet feel confident in making conclusions about it? Jesus taught you and kevin to think this way.

-which this quote painfully proves.

-And this one.

-And this one.

-And that one. That's a doozy!

But this ones the best:

Well thankyou dr spock.

-Which will of course have little effect on your understanding of it's lack of content.

How about I shove you in the creek? That would be refreshing yes? 'I baptize thee in the name of audacious ignoramity.' -is what I would say. Otto the Baptist.
All this and not one word related to context. I suppose there's just no reasoning with the unreasonable.

I also see that you've used your FrankHerbert socckpuppet to down rank me here, and then went after me in another thread where most everyone else was giving me fives.

Why don't you go troll somewhere else, and let the grownups talk?
ubavontuba
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 20, 2011
I just wanted to say something about the argument of 'hard work' versus 'intelligent' work. People that invent different types of technologies, by definition, do not 'work hard'. Work is the expenditure of energy, and I hardly think making up blue prints and going through thought processes and experiment testing requires that much energy. It's true that the more automated our society is, the less we do 'hard work', and the more time we have to explore other ventures.
work (wûrk)
n.
1. Physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something.

Ethelred
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 21, 2011
I suppose there's just no reasoning with the unreasonable.
Well that is why I had not joined in festival. Two unreasonable are more than enough. Bringing in reason doesn't help when it is you and Otto.

However, why do you think FH is a sockpuppet and for Otto at that?

Ethelred
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (2) Sep 21, 2011
All this and not one word related to context. I suppose there's just no reasoning with the unreasonable.
I have already played the Reason gambit. To no effect as usual. I gave you tons of reasonable content, to which you consistantly replied unreasonably. So I thought Id try clever slapfesting.
Two unreasonable are more than enough.
Heeeyy, its my good buddy ethelred. Bite me.

Wait - what is it you object to specifically in my arguments? I am curious. Are you yellow?
I also see that you've used your FrankHerbert socckpuppet to down rank me here, and then went after me in another thread where most everyone else was giving me fives.
Frank is his own socckpupppett. I am the clever one.

My sockpuppets (most of them) contain 'otto'.
ubavontuba
1.8 / 5 (4) Sep 22, 2011
I suppose there's just no reasoning with the unreasonable.
Well that is why I had not joined in festival. Two unreasonable are more than enough. Bringing in reason doesn't help when it is you and Otto.

However, why do you think FH is a sockpuppet and for Otto at that?

Ethelred
Where Otto is, FrankHerbert is there to down rank Otto's opponents. Generally, without bothering to participate in the discussion. And, they're both bullies - favoring vehement personal attacks over reasoned criticism and discourse.

ubavontuba
2 / 5 (5) Sep 22, 2011
I have already played the Reason gambit.
Do you mean you sacrificed reason in order to gain an advantage, like in a Chess gambit?

Or, did you mean you use reason as a ploy?

Do you even know what a gambit is?

I gave you tons of reasonable content,
LOL. Quit it. You're making my sides hurt. I doubt you're even capable of carrying a calm and reasoned discussion.