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(Wired UK)   Man with no background in physics or engineering uses parts from e-bay to build nuclear-fusion reactor in warehouse. What could possibly go wrong?   (wired.co.uk) divider line 68
    More: Scary, physics, nuclear fusions, nuclear reactors, cathode-ray tubes, deuterium, superconducting magnets, nuclear-fusion reactor, Wired magazine  
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7484 clicks; posted to Geek » on 02 Aug 2012 at 1:17 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-02 01:18:26 PM
Isn't fusion really hard to get working?
 
2012-08-02 01:18:34 PM
www.dangerouslaboratories.org
 
2012-08-02 01:21:47 PM
Call me when he gets it working.
 
2012-08-02 01:23:01 PM
www.decrepitoldfool.com
 
2012-08-02 01:24:57 PM

machoprogrammer: Isn't fusion really hard to get working?


Normally, but he has found a way to overcome this hurdle. All he needs is about 200 million, and he will show you something amazing!

/I'm sure he can do it, he's got classic ingenuity.
//We all know ingenuity is far more important that knowledge.
 
2012-08-02 01:26:47 PM
 
2012-08-02 01:26:58 PM
I've seen this movie.
 
2012-08-02 01:27:37 PM
Done in 6.
 
2012-08-02 01:33:56 PM
So, why the hell is this tagged as Scary instead of Cool?
 
2012-08-02 01:35:38 PM
So, how does this work? It says heat it up and fusion produces energy. Just like that. What kind of energy? How is it harnessed? Does it basically just make a more efficient steam engine, which is what nuclear power is anyway?
 
wee [TotalFark]
2012-08-02 01:39:51 PM

v2micca: So, why the hell is this tagged as Scary instead of Cool?


Because subby doesn't understand the difference between fission and fusion?
 
2012-08-02 01:42:13 PM
13 July 12
?
 
2012-08-02 01:45:49 PM

You Are All Sheep: So, how does this work? It says heat it up and fusion produces energy. Just like that. What kind of energy? How is it harnessed? Does it basically just make a more efficient steam engine, which is what nuclear power is anyway?


It gets hot. If it would produce more than a tiny percentage of what it takes to run its own electrical parts, then you'd use that heat to boil water and spin turbines, just like fossil fuels or fission. But it doesn't, so it's basically an expensive, complicated neutron source. It lets you say you built a fusion reactor, and if you run it long enough while standing next to it, it'll give you cancer.

/Hell yes I want one.
 
2012-08-02 01:53:04 PM
"has a full-time website job"

i3.kym-cdn.com
 
2012-08-02 01:57:49 PM
i50.tinypic.com
 
2012-08-02 02:05:18 PM

Professor Science: it's basically an expensive, complicated neutron source.


It depends on the fusion reaction. Far and away the fusion reaction with the largest cross-section (probability for reaction = easiest) is Deuterium-Tritium, which produces a fast neutron and a helium nucleus. But this dork is trying Deuterium-Deuterium fusion, which is like trying to win the Tour de France riding backwards with your eyes closed. The best fusion is Deuterium-Helium3 which produces a proton and Helium nucleus (both charged = able to be contained with magnetic fields), but until D-T fusion is commercially viable, anything else is a waste of time. I don't think this guy is going to buy any tritium off eBay.
 
2012-08-02 02:06:43 PM

You Are All Sheep: So, how does this work? It says heat it up and fusion produces energy. Just like that. What kind of energy? How is it harnessed? Does it basically just make a more efficient steam engine, which is what nuclear power is anyway?


Heat -> steam -> turbine. Same as nuclear, coal, and natural gas, just the heat source is different.
 
2012-08-02 02:09:41 PM
Fusion reactors aren't that hard to make. There are several websites with plans on how to make them.

Main problems are that the reaction can cause some ionizing radiation to be emitted, which is bad, and that you're working with very high voltages, which could be lethal. Oh, and it costs a few thousand in parts.

In the end, you can end up with something like this:

images51.fotki.com


/jokingly asked the wife if I could build one in the garage
//she told me that fusion reactors were most likely not allowed under HOA bylaws; she also asked where I'd park the lawnmower if I took all the free space in the garage
 
2012-08-02 02:14:15 PM
Man builds overpriced model in warehouse.
 
2012-08-02 02:16:53 PM

Ambitwistor: Cheron:

[cineplex.media.baselineresearch.com image 700x471]


Damn you.

cache.io9.com
 
2012-08-02 02:17:30 PM
Fusor?

I believe Philo T. Farnsworth was one of the greatest minds of the 20th century.
 
2012-08-02 02:19:11 PM

Dinjiin:
In the end, you can end up with something like this:

[images51.fotki.com image 514x531]


That's an Argon plasma. I recognize that color.
 
2012-08-02 02:19:57 PM
I was just about to do this a couple years ago, and then....

scruzwiki.org
 
2012-08-02 02:23:59 PM
Suppes's is the only small-scale project and the only one to use superconducting magnets -- the key, he says, to making the reactor efficient.

Yeah, how about no. One of the key elements in any fusion reactor design is using powerful magnetic fields to contain the superheated plasma. This guy probably just bought some liquid nitrogen and some high temperature superconductor coils and now thinks he's a mad scientist.
 
2012-08-02 02:32:11 PM

Dinjiin: Fusion reactors aren't that hard to make. There are several websites with plans on how to make them.

Main problems are that the reaction can cause some ionizing radiation to be emitted, which is bad, and that you're working with very high voltages, which could be lethal. Oh, and it costs a few thousand in parts.

In the end, you can end up with something like this:

[images51.fotki.com image 514x531]


/jokingly asked the wife if I could build one in the garage
//she told me that fusion reactors were most likely not allowed under HOA bylaws; she also asked where I'd park the lawnmower if I took all the free space in the garage


Sounds like you found a good one. Mine would just give me a dumb look that says I am dumb.

/Fixed that for me.
 
2012-08-02 02:36:43 PM

syrynxx: I don't think this guy is going to buy any tritium off eBay.


You can buy a little, which could be enough to prove something.
 
2012-08-02 02:37:08 PM
Relevent
Link
 
2012-08-02 02:41:03 PM

syrynxx: Dinjiin:
In the end, you can end up with something like this:

[images51.fotki.com image 514x531]

That's an Argon plasma. I recognize that color.


I dunno, it looks more like hydrogen than argon.

In addition to the color, hydrogen makes a lot more sense than argon in a fusion reactor.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2012-08-02 02:50:38 PM

machoprogrammer: Isn't fusion really hard to get working?


Several hobyists have made Farnsworth fusors. It looks like this guy is trying to build a Polywell.
 
2012-08-02 02:50:56 PM
I was expecting this guy.
www.myremoteradio.com
 
2012-08-02 02:55:58 PM

AbiNormal: I was expecting this guy.
[www.myremoteradio.com image 400x287]


Yeah, I'm sure given it's current state, you could get the materials from the Libyans and they'd never notice them missing.
 
2012-08-02 03:08:19 PM

syrynxx: That's an Argon plasma.


According to the photographer's notes, he is using hydrogen-2 feedstock.
 
2012-08-02 03:15:34 PM

Irving Maimway: AbiNormal: I was expecting this guy.
[www.myremoteradio.com image 400x287]

Yeah, I'm sure given it's current state, you could get the materials from the Libyans and they'd never notice them missing.


As long as you give them a bunch of pinball parts.
 
2012-08-02 03:22:03 PM
This kid built a fusion reactor when he was 14. So, you know, there is some precedent for an amateur being able to do this.
 
2012-08-02 03:25:13 PM
Batman dies at the end?
 
2012-08-02 03:25:45 PM
Seems like a waste of a Tektronix scope there.
 
2012-08-02 03:39:33 PM
ah, good old hirsch-farnsworth based technology.

the stuff that was disproven as a viable technology for fusion decades ago.


but this guy's got some kind of 'secret knowledge' that gives him the edge.


pfft. the fact that he's running it without any shielding shows just how little he knows beyond what he read in a 15 year old popular mechanics in the dentist's office a couple years ago.

lovely neutron source. be interesting to see how radioactive he makes the fusor's body and himself before the authorities stop him.


/odds are good it'll be well after he develops terminal radiation poisoning, and possibly poisoned some of his family.
 
2012-08-02 03:40:49 PM

Dinjiin: /jokingly asked the wife if I could build one in the garage
//she told me that fusion reactors were most likely not allowed under HOA bylaws; she also asked where I'd park the lawnmower if I took all the free space in the garage


What if it WAS the lawnmower?
 
2012-08-02 04:12:17 PM

Dinjiin: Fusion reactors aren't that hard to make. There are several websites with plans on how to make them.

Main problems are that the reaction can cause some ionizing radiation to be emitted, which is bad, and that you're working with very high voltages, which could be lethal. Oh, and it costs a few thousand in parts.

In the end, you can end up with something like this:

[images51.fotki.com image 514x531]


/jokingly asked the wife if I could build one in the garage
//she told me that fusion reactors were most likely not allowed under HOA bylaws; she also asked where I'd park the lawnmower if I took all the free space in the garage


Yeah fusion reactors of the Philo T. Farnsworth "fusor" type are actually pretty easy. It's all about jacking up the voltage and pulling a good enough vacuum. You do not need a whole lot of physics knowledge to get a few neutrons. Hence everyone was sure we were 30 years away from break-even about 50 years ago.

//damn magnetic fields
 
2012-08-02 04:18:12 PM
::skims article::

In other news, I have the raw materials to create a super-virus which could wipe out mankind... a slight cold and a basic knowledge of evolutionary theory.
 
2012-08-02 04:30:38 PM

syrynxx: Professor Science: it's basically an expensive, complicated neutron source.

It depends on the fusion reaction. Far and away the fusion reaction with the largest cross-section (probability for reaction = easiest) is Deuterium-Tritium, which produces a fast neutron and a helium nucleus. But this dork is trying Deuterium-Deuterium fusion, which is like trying to win the Tour de France riding backwards with your eyes closed. The best fusion is Deuterium-Helium3 which produces a proton and Helium nucleus (both charged = able to be contained with magnetic fields), but until D-T fusion is commercially viable, anything else is a waste of time. I don't think this guy is going to buy any tritium off eBay.


Yeah, but if D-D -> He fusion could be achieved with a net energy output it would be woth more than the $100 billion per year suggested in that article. It would be just about the ultimate clean energy source. But D-D is not going to be solved by a guy in a warehouse, it's going to take someone with some new insight and a solid knowledge of particle physics.
 
2012-08-02 04:37:15 PM
Photo looks shopped to me. I can tell by some of the pixels on the double image of the yellow extension cord in the upper left corner.
 
2012-08-02 04:53:06 PM
Great. Now just build it into a DeLorean and let it power a flux capacitor.
 
2012-08-02 04:53:19 PM
not to point out the obvious but since he isn't causing any change in the material it isn't really a reactor. basically he just has a bunch of connected part in a box that don't do anything, and no matter how hip he looks that's not going to change.

also saying that he has it working except for the whole heating it up to a million C is a bit like saying as "I know exactly how i'd spend 1trillion dollars. all i need now is 1trillion dollars but as soon as i get that last step sorted out, watch out world."
 
2012-08-02 05:03:56 PM

tom baker's scarf: not to point out the obvious but since he isn't causing any change in the material it isn't really a reactor. basically he just has a bunch of connected part in a box that don't do anything, and no matter how hip he looks that's not going to change.
"



Some Libyans are gonna be pissed.
 
2012-08-02 05:43:03 PM
I wonder what the kickstarter perks were.
 
2012-08-02 05:44:56 PM

indarwinsshadow: Fusor?

I believe Philo T. Farnsworth was one of the greatest minds of the 20th century.


My favourite Farnsworth story is when he was the secret guest on "What's My Line?" (a TV game show, as it happens). The panelists had figured out that he'd invented something, but not yet what. One of them asked him if his invention could cause pain. "Oh yes," he replied. "Sometimes it can be very painful indeed."
 
2012-08-02 05:50:09 PM

Avonmore: This kid built a fusion reactor when he was 14. So, you know, there is some precedent for an amateur being able to do this.


I read about that kid before. Pretty sure it's a fission reactor, not fusion. TFA says fission at the top, then fusion at the bottom. My guess is dumbass reporter doesn't know the difference and doesn't care.
 
2012-08-02 06:31:46 PM

Sylvia_Bandersnatch: Avonmore: This kid built a fusion reactor when he was 14. So, you know, there is some precedent for an amateur being able to do this.

I read about that kid before. Pretty sure it's a fission reactor, not fusion. TFA says fission at the top, then fusion at the bottom. My guess is dumbass reporter doesn't know the difference and doesn't care.


If it's about the radioactive boyscout, yeah that was a fission reactor, iirc. Is why the whole garage had to be taken and put away.
 
2012-08-02 06:33:09 PM

Sylvia_Bandersnatch: . Pretty sure it's a fission reactor, not fusion. TFA says fission at the top, then fusion at the bottom. My guess is dumbass reporter doesn't know the difference and doesn't care.


They were talking about radioactive rocks, so maybe the kid was dreaming about small scale fission crap like what Fallout Boy in the 2nd post did, only to switch to small scale fusion after learning that it'll fark you up.
 
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