Skunk Works Reveals Compact Fusion Reactor Details

We have been seeing little detail-free teasers that Lockheed-Martin's
Skunk Works had come up with a new approach to hydrogen fusion.
The article came in the 15 October 2014 issue of Aviation Week, on page
42.
.
The innovation is in how the hydrogen plasma is confined. Everything
else is standard, as such things go in that field.
While the described approach seems plausible, we will soon know - the
entire fusion community will scrub this with wire brushes.
Joe Gwinn
Reply to
Joe Gwinn
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It occurs to me Skunk Works is probably stalled, and they are hoping that somebody who tears them up will also reveal something they can use to get going again. It could be very much why they are now revealing so much of their basic premise.

Reply to
Bob La Londe
Well, if they stalled after only a 10:1 improvement, that's not really a problem. Or rather, we'd all like to have such problems.
Anyway, my plan is to wait for the next shoe to drop.
Joe
Reply to
Joe Gwinn
"Potential 10:1 improvement IF we can get the bloody thing to work..."
They're usually quite large and heavy. I hope it drops, though. I'd truly love to see fusion (and the resultant near free utilities) in my lifetime. Right, not holding my breath.
Reply to
Larry Jaques
If anything beyond "cold fusion"
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NIST should test, and if any real potential, a new Manhattan Project or Project Apollo to develop and deploy should be undertaken ASAP.
This will be not only economic stimulus/support for the mis-, non- and under- employed STEM employees, but will help support our heavy industries. This also contains the solution to (among many other problems) the mega-drought in California that is gradually creeping east, that presents a serious and rapidly increasing problem to not only the US food supply, but California employment, by making massive desalinization and pumping economically justified. Such a development would also put the US back in the lead of the technology/engineering race, for at least a few years.
Reply to
F. George McDuffee
As you know, magnetic-containment fusion projects have been going on for a long time. When I co-owned a job shop in Princeton Junction, NJ (1973 - 1980), just under half of our income came from making copper connectors and titanium parts for the Tokamak research reactor at Princeton Plasma Physics. That was part of Stage Two of the project, financed in part by a $350 million federal grant.
In the time since, billions have been poured into Tokamak projects and laser-implosion projects. A great deal of data has been accumulated, including a lot of "unknown unknowns" that cropped up during the trial runs of those projects.
For Lockheed to be saying now that they've combined several containment ideas into one small vessel, and that they're confident it will work, suggests that the accumulated test data is paying off. They don't shoot off at the mouth over Skunk Works projects. I'm very hopeful that they have something going.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
As you know, magnetic-containment fusion projects have been going on for a long time. When I co-owned a job shop in Princeton Junction, NJ (1973 - 1980), just under half of our income came from making copper connectors and titanium parts for the Tokamak research reactor at Princeton Plasma Physics. That was part of Stage Two of the project, financed in part by a $350 million federal grant.
In the time since, billions have been poured into Tokamak projects and laser-implosion projects. A great deal of data has been accumulated, including a lot of "unknown unknowns" that cropped up during the trial runs of those projects.
For Lockheed to be saying now that they've combined several containment ideas into one small vessel, and that they're confident it will work, suggests that the accumulated test data is paying off. They don't shoot off at the mouth over Skunk Works projects. I'm very hopeful that they have something going.
Reply to
Carl Ijames
**************************** I am hopeful but skeptical. As plasma physicists have progressed from a simple glow discharge towards a plasma that is both dense enough and hot enough, for long enough to allow significant numbers of fusion events to occur for some level of breakeven, not to mention actual useful power production, there has been a steady stream of: "we tried turning it up a little more and something totally unexpected has gone wrong". This then required a new generation of study and development work to get under control, so that they could turn it up a little bit more and repeat the cycle. If Lockheed had said that they had data showing sufficient density and temperature with hydrogen, and now they just needed to put in deuterium or deuterium and tritium, then I would be celebrating. What they seem to have said is that they have contained some unspecified but presumably low number of ions in a new configuration to demonstrate that that geometry could act as a container, and that that geometry may on paper include the solutions to the problems that have cropped up with other geometries, but with a clean sheet as far as any unexpected problems that may be specific to this new geometry as they begin the process of "turning it up just a little bit more" however many times are needed to get to fusion breakeven. I eagerly await more data, and remain hopeful but skeptical.
----- Regards, Carl Ijames
********************************
Let's just cross our fingers and hope we hear more.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Oh, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Gotcha. What about the millions of recently/newly unemployed, too?
My buddy in Vista just told me that the large desal plant in Carlsbad, CA is going ahead this year. The Encina Power Plant will be expanded and some three foot diameter freshwater lines will head out of it. I haven't yet had time to check that out online, but will soon.
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(There it is.)
Reply to
Larry Jaques

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