Deuterium / Tritium blend

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Deuterium / Tritium blend

Postby APynckel » Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:56 pm

Mr Coulter,

Have you had any thoughts into running a blend of deut and trit gasses through your farnsworth? Aren't these the two Hydrogen isotopes are what are fused in the sun? I did a quick search and didn't find anything on the topic. So, I was wondering if you had tried or thought of trying a blend? Are the plasma temperatures in the realm where you can achieve a fusion of them?

Heck, what about a tritium-tritium fusion?

Forgive me if this is a redundant question or dumb.
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Re: Deuterium / Tritium blend

Postby fusordoug » Thu Aug 14, 2014 3:19 pm

Well, tritium has some serious disadvantages other than being expensive, hard to obtain (legally) and radioactive. Yes, DT has 100x the cross section of DD, roughly. In a gas mix, though, it drops because there will be collisions between DD and TT as well, so that 100x gets trimmed down quite a bit - lets call it to around 30 or so. Being different weights makes the huge (factor of ~2800 improvement) bunching breakthrough I'm pursuing a bit more difficult if not impossible (more on that when I replicate, it's why I'm doing so much boring work with shielding).

The real issue, and one that has ITER shut down at present, is how energetic the resulting neutrons are - ~16 Mev vs 2.5. This is enough more to knock iron or other heavy atoms out of their lattice, which has kind of a bad effect on structural integrity, superconducting magnets (thank heavens this approach doesn't need them - but it still needs a vacuum vessel). I almost can't believe that supposedly the best scientists on the planet didn't figure this out till more than a decade after they started taking funds...and I didn't think of it till they reported it either, but it's why they shut down for "materials research", which is smoke, since no atomic structure can withstand 16 mev neutrons, period. Chemical bonds etc are so strong and no stronger at least so far observed, and people have looked really hard - and not just for this, but for a lot of potential applications if you could do better than a normal covalent bond can do.

BTW, though our thing looks like, and was originally inspired by Farnsworth, the whole IEC thing is BS and not what's happening in there at all. There is zero confinement and no effective recirculation at all. I've checked, hard. What we have here is a multi-way beam collider, which has other important considerations to make efficient (and which is why Farnsworth/Hirsch/Meeks fusors have been stuck in a rut so long - they had the wrong idea about what's going on and tried the wrong stuff to make it better by following incorrect conclusions the data doesn't back up).

Having come over 8 orders magnitude since we started a few years ago, the remaining few don't seem too daunting, and frankly, another factor 30 both doesn't get us there - and probably won't be needed anyway once bunching (old tech for accelerators in general) is properly tuned - I only had it going around 20 seconds - and got a dose, behind the lead we had then - of 5x the yearly limit for a pro in that time, which is why I'm doing much more on shielding (boring but I want to live). I'm absolutely chomping at the bit to get real replication on this effect - it fits the math and the standard model fine and works everywhere else it is used - but dying for it is not in the plan.
I've only replicated it so far for about a 3 second run, which is all I've tried because I don't like rad sickness (it truly sucks, honest).

It had taken me the 20 or so seconds to realize that all my sensitive gear had shut down due to too much output, not the fusor simply not working...that's fixed now, with less sensitive backups and better data aq. Now to finish the job of letting the operator stay alive to see it. Hopefully, some other lab will be able to replicate this too, once I publish the details, though the above is enough of a hint to the accomplished worker.
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Re: Deuterium / Tritium blend

Postby APynckel » Thu Aug 14, 2014 3:42 pm

fusordoug wrote:Well, tritium has some serious disadvantages other than being expensive, hard to obtain (legally) and radioactive. Yes, DT has 100x the cross section of DD, roughly. In a gas mix, though, it drops because there will be collisions between DD and TT as well, so that 100x gets trimmed down quite a bit - lets call it to around 30 or so. Being different weights makes the huge (factor of ~2800 improvement) bunching breakthrough I'm pursuing a bit more difficult if not impossible (more on that when I replicate, it's why I'm doing so much boring work with shielding).

The real issue, and one that has ITER shut down at present, is how energetic the resulting neutrons are - ~16 Mev vs 2.5. This is enough more to knock iron or other heavy atoms out of their lattice, which has kind of a bad effect on structural integrity, superconducting magnets (thank heavens this approach doesn't need them - but it still needs a vacuum vessel). I almost can't believe that supposedly the best scientists on the planet didn't figure this out till more than a decade after they started taking funds...and I didn't think of it till they reported it either, but it's why they shut down for "materials research", which is smoke, since no atomic structure can withstand 16 mev neutrons, period. Chemical bonds etc are so strong and no stronger at least so far observed, and people have looked really hard - and not just for this, but for a lot of potential applications if you could do better than a normal covalent bond can do.

BTW, though our thing looks like, and was originally inspired by Farnsworth, the whole IEC thing is BS and not what's happening in there at all. There is zero confinement and no effective recirculation at all. I've checked, hard. What we have here is a multi-way beam collider, which has other important considerations to make efficient (and which is why Farnsworth/Hirsch/Meeks fusors have been stuck in a rut so long - they had the wrong idea about what's going on and tried the wrong stuff to make it better by following incorrect conclusions the data doesn't back up).

Having come over 8 orders magnitude since we started a few years ago, the remaining few don't seem too daunting, and frankly, another factor 30 both doesn't get us there - and probably won't be needed anyway once bunching (old tech for accelerators in general) is properly tuned - I only had it going around 20 seconds - and got a dose, behind the lead we had then - of 5x the yearly limit for a pro in that time, which is why I'm doing much more on shielding (boring but I want to live). I'm absolutely chomping at the bit to get real replication on this effect - it fits the math and the standard model fine and works everywhere else it is used - but dying for it is not in the plan.
I've only replicated it so far for about a 3 second run, which is all I've tried because I don't like rad sickness (it truly sucks, honest).

It had taken me the 20 or so seconds to realize that all my sensitive gear had shut down due to too much output, not the fusor simply not working...that's fixed now, with less sensitive backups and better data aq. Now to finish the job of letting the operator stay alive to see it. Hopefully, some other lab will be able to replicate this too, once I publish the details, though the above is enough of a hint to the accomplished worker.


Oh, I completely believe you about rad sickness. I've read about Daghlian and Slotin and their fatal doses from their demon core accidents. That is not a nice way to go, or even to spend time getting better from, in lesser magnitude doses.

If you're running into shielding issues, and your basement cannot withstand the area of lead required to keep you alive, is it time to seek better foundations for what is, in essence, life support? If nothing else, make yourself a sub-bunker in an annex that you can duck behind? I know you want to witness the thing, but there are points where that becomes futile and you have to leave the room.

I've stood atop the 50MW test reactor at a university (while it wasn't running unfortunately, I really wanted to see Cherenkov radiation), and I've seen the stacks of lead that they have to use to shield themselves from the neutron sources from the core, not to mention the layers of cement behind them for gamma attenuation.

Either way, thank you for entertaining and answering my question. I appreciate the thorough response and cannot wait to see you fire the bad boy up again.
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Re: Deuterium / Tritium blend

Postby fusordoug » Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:11 pm

Yeah, I spent two weeks in bed feeling like my blood had turned to water. All ok now as far as symptoms, but hey - no repeats allowed.
My reluctance to give up the mark 1 6 senses (or howevermany) is real, but possible to temper, as I think I might be near the end of the need for it. At first, this focus thing and the incidental observations (like, where and what is getting hot and why) or what are the delays between this and that - was crucial to those first orders of magnitude improvement. But having observed all that stuff (trying to have those Fleming moments) - well, I know how it works now, so don't need that again.

Perhaps it's important to explain what I mean by "Fleming moment" since it's so rare nowadays.

Fleming discovered penicillin by accident, he was trying for something else, but was an observant dude cool enough to ask the question "why is this mold contaminating my desired bacterial culture killing it?" - and he went with the flow and we now have antibiotics. This kind of "change directions on a dime" thing is impossible for big science (been there), and doubly impossible for people who think their theories must be and always are correct as stated - despite the unknown and unstated assumptions they contain.

Look how many years people pushed on fusors with no results - I'm the first guy since to have "beaten" Farnsworth himself in total output! (and FWIW, net gain as the important cherry on top). And it is because I discovered, while looking for something else, that his (and many others since) theories about what was going on in there were wrong, by seeing things "by accident" you couldn't have planned having the test gear for - I did, however, plan to be Fleming-like on this project, which I believe is why it's been so successful, along with partner and friend BillF, who has helpfully provided much of the scientific gear - that guy gives the word "ferret" a whole new level of meaning. He asks smart dumb questions, if you get me here - forces me to think and be honest about my own theories, not that I wouldn't try to be honest anyway - but knowing more truth means you can speak more truth, and if you don't know the truth, you can't tell it, right? It's part of the reason this forum is here - so people can ask me the right questions that improve my own thinking, and why I like real names so credit goes where it's deserved.

Having said that, we've already been discussing the most practical way to move this to either a cave on my land, or a purpose built building, but there are funds limits too...we're working it.
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Re: Deuterium / Tritium blend

Postby Jake Gray » Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:46 pm

If funds are limiting the ability to push your device safely I'm happy to discuss other ways to increase the budget. I don't want to take any time away from your applying shielding and getting some further testing, but if you'd like some Business Development consulting, I'm happy to provide some time and expertise.

I understand the traditional VC structure is not going to be conducive to your ability to be Fleming-like, but there might be some alternate methods to increase the budget without the budget and inherent structure becoming a burden on the science.
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Re: Deuterium / Tritium blend

Postby Doug Coulter » Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:52 pm

Well, I've run a few businesses and even been a VC myself once - but I'm listening. Send me a PM so as not to pollute this thread.
Posting as just me, not as the forum owner. Everything I say is "in my opinion" and YMMV -- which should go for everyone without saying.
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