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(Gizmodo)   Aluminum bubble wrap? Titanium foam? Graphene aerogel? Sounds like Star Trek stuff, but they're real new materials and they will change the world   (gizmodo.com) divider line 70
    More: Cool, Graphene, aerogel, Aluminum bubble wrap, new materials, fundamental structure, calcium carbonate, material properties, polystyrene  
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6195 clicks; posted to Geek » on 09 Sep 2013 at 11:37 AM (43 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



70 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-09-09 10:13:01 AM
In before "transparent aluminum".
 
2013-09-09 10:26:40 AM
Lord Alexander Chung-Sik Finkle-McGraw approves.
 
2013-09-09 10:31:37 AM
Sheeeeet, we bin reverse injuneerin' this stuff since 1947.
 
2013-09-09 11:33:02 AM
aluminum bubble wrap?!?!?

POP! POP!

Hope no one sees me getting freaky!
 
2013-09-09 11:40:09 AM
In before the indestructible spider silk suit
 
2013-09-09 11:41:10 AM
None of this is new and it's all ridiculously expensive to manufacture.
 
2013-09-09 11:44:54 AM
I have it on good authority that it has been possible to manufacture artificial spider silk since the 1960s.

static.squarespace.com
 
2013-09-09 11:55:52 AM

Esroc: None of this is new and it's all ridiculously expensive to manufacture.


It's not TODAY new, but still relatively new.
 
2013-09-09 11:59:29 AM
Hello computer...
 
2013-09-09 12:01:44 PM

Relatively Obscure: Esroc: None of this is new and it's all ridiculously expensive to manufacture.

It's not TODAY new, but still relatively new.


Indeed. But it seems that there is always SOMEONE who has to come in, shiat out a "This isn't new because I heard they were working on this last month!"

/Some people...
 
2013-09-09 12:11:18 PM

BAMFinator: Hello computer...


how quaint.
 
2013-09-09 12:20:51 PM

FrancoFile: Lord Alexander Chung-Sik Finkle-McGraw approves.


Perhaps, although the sorts of nanobots/nanomachines in THAT book are... well, a long way off, if they're even *possible*.

We're at the point where were' able to make neat shapes and utilize them in really, really clever ways (UGG MAKE WHEEL). Combining different shapes together (like, say, trying to get two spehres to always stick to the end of a rod, with no spheres sticking to each other, no rods daisy-chaining) is REALLY FRIGGEN HARD. (Ugg put stick THROUGH WHEEL! Make AXLE!).

That said, it's an incredibly exciting field to be in *precisely* because there's so much left to do and figure out, I think.

/And it's starting to look like my advisor's method of optically driven, surface-plasmon-resonance based, self assembly may actually friggen WORK. So that's good!
//Please let that experiment repeat.
 
2013-09-09 12:24:45 PM
In before someone drops by to denounce them as "cheap junk" and a waste of money.
 
2013-09-09 12:26:28 PM

Esroc: None of this is new and it's all ridiculously expensive to manufacture.


and yet, having all 5 in one place is a nice summary for the lay people
and expensive today is rarely expensive tomorrow

aluminum used to cost more than gold
hell, I have gigabytes of memory laying around on a shelf that I am not using.
not that long ago 64 meg was a lot and expensive as hell

plus the synthetic spider silk sound like it is going to be mass produced and "cheap" real soon now
FFS using bacteria to produce proteins is probably the cheapest production you can ever have, assuming extracting the protein is cheap. 

/on the other hand, if I read one more "fusion is just 20 years away" story, I will have to start shooting people. again.
 
2013-09-09 12:28:22 PM
Aluminum bubble wrap?

Titanium foam?

Graphene aerogel?

Plaid lightbulbs?

Blue suede drapes?

It's a mad pad...Dig that crazy pad!

- Kookie's Madder Padder II.  Freak Out The Squares Harder Boogaloo
 
2013-09-09 12:28:52 PM

namatad: Esroc: None of this is new and it's all ridiculously expensive to manufacture.

and yet, having all 5 in one place is a nice summary for the lay people
and expensive today is rarely expensive tomorrow

aluminum used to cost more than gold
hell, I have gigabytes of memory laying around on a shelf that I am not using.
not that long ago 64 meg was a lot and expensive as hell

plus the synthetic spider silk sound like it is going to be mass produced and "cheap" real soon now
FFS using bacteria to produce proteins is probably the cheapest production you can ever have, assuming extracting the protein is cheap. 

/on the other hand, if I read one more "fusion is just 20 years away" story, I will have to start shooting people. again.


Well I didn't mean it like they were useless. Guess I need to think about how what I'm saying can be interpreted. I'm just a realist about these sort of things. Right now they're too expensive to produce to make them particularly useful, though I fully expect they'll be common and effective building materials in the future.
 
2013-09-09 12:29:50 PM

Felgraf: FrancoFile: Lord Alexander Chung-Sik Finkle-McGraw approves.

Perhaps, although the sorts of nanobots/nanomachines in THAT book are... well, a long way off, if they're even *possible*.

We're at the point where were' able to make neat shapes and utilize them in really, really clever ways (UGG MAKE WHEEL). Combining different shapes together (like, say, trying to get two spehres to always stick to the end of a rod, with no spheres sticking to each other, no rods daisy-chaining) is REALLY FRIGGEN HARD. (Ugg put stick THROUGH WHEEL! Make AXLE!).

That said, it's an incredibly exciting field to be in *precisely* because there's so much left to do and figure out, I think.

/And it's starting to look like my advisor's method of optically driven, surface-plasmon-resonance based, self assembly may actually friggen WORK. So that's good!
//Please let that experiment repeat.


Hey, I'm just happy somebody got the joke!
You're right that atomic & molecular level assembly is a ways off (using a tunneling microscope to move atoms one at a time is slooooooow).

But things that want to form crystals or other stable, predictable shapes (carbon & silicon are lovely, aren't they) can be combined at a gross level, or using the half-dozen techniques we've used for chip fabbing, to do some pretty cool things.  I'm fascinated by the possibilities that microfluidics have for medical diagnostics and eventually organ-replacement implants.  Kidney-on-a-chip is coming.
 
2013-09-09 12:31:08 PM
Materials science is fascinating.  When i was a young and stupid engineering student I foolishly believed that since we had the periodic table nailed down that new materials were just not going to happen.  It turns out that new manufacturing techniques are constantly making new configurations of those materials to great effect. Manufacturing them cheaply is the next step but honestly that is what engineers are for.  Find a financial reason to start making these things and we'll find ways to make them efficiently.
 
2013-09-09 12:33:37 PM
Meh.

Wake me up when my laptop can be powered by these micro-turbines.

www.fqrnt.gouv.qc.ca
 
2013-09-09 12:34:45 PM

AltheaToldMe: Meh.

Wake me up when my laptop can be powered by these micro-turbines.

[www.fqrnt.gouv.qc.ca image 714x534]


What exactly flows through those turbines? Do you have to blow ina  tube to charge your laptop or something?
 
2013-09-09 12:38:22 PM

dittybopper: In before "transparent aluminum".


Transparent Aluminum has been done............

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_oxynitride
 
2013-09-09 12:42:25 PM
molecular superglue derived from flesh-eating bacteria? yeah, i'll pass on that one

the artificial spider silk and the graphene aerogel are pretty damn cool though. but 'density lower than that of helium' is causing some confusion in the comments. i'd guess the 0.16kg/m^3 desnity is for the mass of graphene in a given volume, but does not include the air held within the pores which increase the overall density to be just greater than that of air, which is why the 'stuff practically floats' but not quite. (air is 1.2 kg/m^3, being mostly nitrogen)
 
2013-09-09 12:55:51 PM

Esroc: None of this is new and it's all ridiculously expensive to manufacture.


This is true but the same was said about single vision lenses 200ish years ago and more recently... both of us appear to be using one of only 6 computers in the world...

They're ridiculously expensive to manufacture NOW.   They probably won't be at some point in the future.
 
2013-09-09 12:57:34 PM

Vaneshi: Esroc: None of this is new and it's all ridiculously expensive to manufacture.

This is true but the same was said about single vision lenses 200ish years ago and more recently... both of us appear to be using one of only 6 computers in the world...

They're ridiculously expensive to manufacture NOW.   They probably won't be at some point in the future.


Read my comment like 7-ish comments up.
 
2013-09-09 12:59:20 PM
Egoy3k:
What exactly flows through those turbines? Do you have to blow ina  tube to charge your laptop or something?

Highly technical information on the MEMS Turbojet. (PDF)

More highly technical information on the MEMS Turbojet.  (PDF)

www.rcuniverse.com
 
2013-09-09 01:05:25 PM
Think there will be any Quality Assurance jobs a farker could be forced to take?
 
2013-09-09 01:12:10 PM

shifter_: dittybopper: In before "transparent aluminum".

Transparent Aluminum has been done............

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


Earlier than that. If oxides count, the synthetic sapphire on the front of my wristwatch is also transparent aluminum.
 
2013-09-09 01:13:50 PM
Aluminum bubble wrap sounds like it's going to be all over the aviation, space and construction industries in a hurry.
 
2013-09-09 01:15:37 PM

namatad: /on the other hand, if I read one more "fusion is just 20 years away" story, I will have to start shooting people. again.


I still remember reading somewhere that put it as more a dollar figure.  "We're $20B away from developing fusion, but it costs $1B a year just to keep the lights on*".  As in if we spend $2B a year we'd have fusion in 20 years.  $11B/year and we'd be done in 2**.  The trouble is that the world is spending just over $1B/year, so we're nowhere near.

*Lights on, experiments being run, graduate students being developed into professors, but on the whole it's just treading water level funding.  Cut below $1B/year and you'll actually regress as professors skilled in fusion science retire and aren't replaced, major science infrastructure/labs wear out, etc...
**No, we couldn't expand funding that quickly and remain efficient, but 5 years with a Manhattan/Moonshot level funding drive would be possible.
 
2013-09-09 01:20:30 PM

FrancoFile: But things that want to form crystals or other stable, predictable shapes (carbon & silicon are lovely, aren't they) can be combined at a gross level, or using the half-dozen techniques we've used for chip fabbing, to do some pretty cool things. I'm fascinated by the possibilities that microfluidics have for medical diagnostics and eventually organ-replacement implants. Kidney-on-a-chip is coming.


And these guys are coming a few missed payments later:

3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-09-09 01:21:56 PM
Impossible. I have it from a very good authority that materials science won't get any better and you'd have to be a deluded child to believe anything else.
 
2013-09-09 01:22:38 PM

dittybopper: In before "transparent aluminum".


This; I'll be impressed when we've got this in abundance.
 
2013-09-09 01:23:18 PM

DORMAMU: Think there will be any Quality Assurance jobs a farker could be forced to take?


Nah, just a Queen Asshole...
 
2013-09-09 01:37:44 PM
Change the world! Oh my! I can't stand it anymore! First it was nanotechnology that was supposed to change everything! Then it was 3D printing! Then it was private space! Now it's bubble wrap! It's soooo EXCITING!!!!!

cdn.meme.li

PS: What "new" materials are there here? What previously impossible combination of properties is on display here?
 
2013-09-09 01:42:15 PM
Felgraf:
/And it's starting to look like my advisor's method of optically driven, surface-plasmon-resonance based, self assembly may actually friggen WORK. So that's good!
//Please let that experiment repeat.


Good?  For who?  Skynet?


/Self-replicating machines seems like a bad idea
//Robots are always evil!
 
2013-09-09 01:49:32 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: PS: What "new" materials are there here? What previously impossible combination of properties is on display here?


Are you asking in a philosophical sense, implying through the word "impossible" that creating these materials somehow required violating the fundamental laws of the universe?

Or are you asking in a more practical sense, as in what properties these materials exhibit that no other previously used materials have?
=Smidge=
/My bet is on the former, because you're a douche
 
2013-09-09 01:56:57 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: Change the world! Oh my! I can't stand it anymore! First it was nanotechnology that was supposed to change everything! Then it was 3D printing! Then it was private space! Now it's bubble wrap! It's soooo EXCITING!!!!!



PS: What "new" materials are there here? What previously impossible combination of properties is on display here?


Welcome to the 21st century!

I was worried we would miss you this time.

"As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it." -- Albert Einstein
 
2013-09-09 02:04:14 PM

Telos: Felgraf:
/And it's starting to look like my advisor's method of optically driven, surface-plasmon-resonance based, self assembly may actually friggen WORK. So that's good!
//Please let that experiment repeat.

Good?  For who?  Skynet?


/Self-replicating machines seems like a bad idea
//Robots are always evil!


No no no, these aren't self replicating machines. I'm honestly not sure a 'grey goo' scenario is POSSIBLE, because I'm pretty damn certain nature would have beaten us to the punch on that.

By "self assembly", we mean-

Well, there are two methods of making nano-structures. Lithographically, which is top-down, and has limits based o, among other things, the wavelength of light/an electron beam/etc.

The other method is chemically, or 'bottom-up'. This is also sometimes called 'self assembly' because once you start the reaction, it goes and assembles itself. The problem with bottom up is that it has a shiat-ton of disorder, too. In the 'spheres to the ends of rods" example, a lot of bottom up methods give you spheres sticking to each other, rods forming daisy chains or massive clumps, spheres sticking to the sides of rods-
Our method, in theory, just gives a controlled way to make sure spheres only *CAN* attach at the ends. It's not a self-replicating robot, it's just another tool in the nanotech toolbox.

And again, a grey-goo scenario is really difficult and unlikely, in part beause (among many, many other things), nanoscale things tend to be inherently unstable-bastards like to fall out of solution all the goddamn time. This is because bulk matter is, quite simply, at a lower energy state than nanoparticles.  You have to separate the nanoparticles from each other using either a 'steric barrier' (i.e., you coat it in something that keeps it from clumping to the other nanoparticles), or by making the nanoparticles charged, so they repel each other. And even then, change the salt content of the solution to much, or.. fark, maybe the phase of the moon is wrong and you didn't sacrifice the chicken properly, and bam, the reaction farks up anyways.

/I love my field.
//But god damnit getting reactions to work right sometimes is a pain in the ass.
///And then there's the authors that leave CRUCIAL GODDAMN STEPS OUT OF THEIR PAPERS.
 
2013-09-09 02:20:19 PM
The aluminum bubble wrap sounds real quick to market if you can make it cheap enough, the titanium mesh could probably be used immediately to supplement and encourage bone replacement with a short time to market.

I'm curious about the flammability of carbon aerogels. That's a lot of surface area and we know carbon burns.

Spider silk from bacterium is a good idea. Transgenic goats producing a gram per liter of milk was pretty disappointing.

Molecular glue? More like molecular selective glue. But considering where they're starting from they might have a replacement for stitches. Or rather, a stitch replacement for cyanoacrylate.
 
2013-09-09 02:29:17 PM

wildcardjack: The aluminum bubble wrap sounds real quick to market if you can make it cheap enough,



The thing I like about the aluminum is that it is more process than product. So they can change up the materials to create a wide array of capabilities and performance ranges.
 
2013-09-09 02:34:13 PM

wildcardjack: The aluminum bubble wrap sounds real quick to market if you can make it cheap enough, the titanium mesh could probably be used immediately to supplement and encourage bone replacement with a short time to market.

I'm curious about the flammability of carbon aerogels. That's a lot of surface area and we know carbon burns.

Spider silk from bacterium is a good idea. Transgenic goats producing a gram per liter of milk was pretty disappointing.

Molecular glue? More like molecular selective glue. But considering where they're starting from they might have a replacement for stitches. Or rather, a stitch replacement for cyanoacrylate.


That is a really good point, I bet those carbon aerogels will burn like gasoline
 
2013-09-09 02:34:32 PM

wildcardjack: I'm curious about the flammability of carbon aerogels


According to this, carbon aerogels are made by pyroyizing organic aerogels at high temperatures.
 
2013-09-09 02:36:38 PM
According to this, carbon aerogels are made by pyroyizing pyrolyzing organic aerogels at high temperatures.

FTFM
 
2013-09-09 02:38:51 PM

Firethorn: namatad: /on the other hand, if I read one more "fusion is just 20 years away" story, I will have to start shooting people. again.

I still remember reading somewhere that put it as more a dollar figure.  "We're $20B away from developing fusion, but it costs $1B a year just to keep the lights on*".  As in if we spend $2B a year we'd have fusion in 20 years.  $11B/year and we'd be done in 2**.  The trouble is that the world is spending just over $1B/year, so we're nowhere near.

*Lights on, experiments being run, graduate students being developed into professors, but on the whole it's just treading water level funding.  Cut below $1B/year and you'll actually regress as professors skilled in fusion science retire and aren't replaced, major science infrastructure/labs wear out, etc...
**No, we couldn't expand funding that quickly and remain efficient, but 5 years with a Manhattan/Moonshot level funding drive would be possible.


I agree with the sentiment and would like to see this happen but there are problems. There does not exist a reactor design that can achieve engineering breakeven much less amount to a powerplant. Even with roomtemp superconductors the best we got would be iffy. There's a long list of plasma physics topics that we need to understand better before we can hope to make a powerplant. But there's no incentive and limited ability to investigate them given the funding situation.
 
2013-09-09 03:16:20 PM

weiserfireman: wildcardjack: The aluminum bubble wrap sounds real quick to market if you can make it cheap enough, the titanium mesh could probably be used immediately to supplement and encourage bone replacement with a short time to market.

I'm curious about the flammability of carbon aerogels. That's a lot of surface area and we know carbon burns.

Spider silk from bacterium is a good idea. Transgenic goats producing a gram per liter of milk was pretty disappointing.

Molecular glue? More like molecular selective glue. But considering where they're starting from they might have a replacement for stitches. Or rather, a stitch replacement for cyanoacrylate.

That is a really good point, I bet those carbon aerogels will burn like gasoline


And cyanoacrylate glue BURNS LIKE A MOTHER-farkER IN CUTS!
 
2013-09-09 03:19:31 PM
Titanium foam for use in fully integrating bone grafts?  I'm a little rusty on the current rules, what are the stat bonuses for titanium bone lacing again?

/obscure?
 
2013-09-09 03:26:05 PM

Cucullen: There does not exist a reactor design that can achieve engineering breakeven much less amount to a powerplant.


Engineering break even?  What's that?  I know we've achieved energy-positive quite some time ago.

There's a long list of plasma physics topics that we need to understand better before we can hope to make a powerplant. But there's no incentive and limited ability to investigate them given the funding situation.

That's kind of my point, isn't it?  Given the funding we'd be able to investigate them, and 'sufficient funding' allows extensive cost savings when you realize that you can get things the super-collider functioning by building it quickly enough that the parts you installed when you started aren't reaching EOL when you're finishing the last sections.

It costs roughly $1B/year to remain static with our current understanding/capabilities with fusion.  More than that allows us to advance.  Even more money would allow us to advance even faster, while at some point less funding would have us regressing.
 
2013-09-09 03:40:31 PM

Firethorn: Cucullen: There does not exist a reactor design that can achieve engineering breakeven much less amount to a powerplant.

Engineering break even?  What's that?  I know we've achieved energy-positive quite some time ago.


We achieved energy positive the first time we set off a hydrogen bomb, but that's not going to help us power any cities.

What he means is that we have yet to produce a self-sustaining reactor that when given a steady supply of hydrogen can produce enough electricty to continue to power itself unaided.  All that we have produced as of yet are limited reactions that require huge amounts of external energy pumped into massive lasers and electromagnetic containment coils used to hold the resulting plasmas.
 
2013-09-09 03:55:49 PM

Esroc: Well I didn't mean it like they were useless. Guess I need to think about how what I'm saying can be interpreted. I'm just a realist about these sort of things. Right now they're too expensive to produce to make them particularly useful, though I fully expect they'll be common and effective building materials in the future.


Depends on the context in which they'll be used. Just last night I was looking at aerogel samples to experiment with as the insulation for a camping mat (what you put under your sleeping bag for insulation from the ground). Turns out that enough aerogel cloth-like material to use as a mat in single-sample quantities actually costs about as much as the more expensive mats made of conventional materials do already. I figure all I'd have to do is sew it into some lightweight protective material and it could be the latest thing for ultralight campers.

Now I know that most of those mats are stupid expensive (as is a lot of camping equipment), but if the aerogel is as great an insulator as they say, this could be a common application for it that wouldn't be that out of line with current prices.
 
2013-09-09 03:57:05 PM

AltheaToldMe: Egoy3k:
What exactly flows through those turbines? Do you have to blow ina  tube to charge your laptop or something?

Highly technical information on the MEMS Turbojet. (PDF)

More highly technical information on the MEMS Turbojet.  (PDF)

[www.rcuniverse.com image 513x180]


So if I'm reading this correctly (ie skimming it) it appears that these are gas turbines and require fuel to operate.  It's a great idea but a few things come to mine;

1)God damn that had better be clean fuel if you want this to be a re-useable device.  We are talking like laboratory conditions pure, many many orders of magnitude purer than the filthy gasoline most people put in their car.

2)Such pure fuel will be expensive, more so if these are disposable devices and you need to buy a new turbine with every fuel pack.

3)It appears that exhaust gases are quite hot, the cold section of one turbine mentioned was 900K (so like 627 C)

Thanks for the reading material for after work though.
 
2013-09-09 03:59:19 PM
"Quantum foam ... makes me roam!"

/obscure?
 
2013-09-09 04:05:40 PM

zarberg: "Quantum foam ... makes me roam!"

/obscure?


Not really.

/I invented inter-dimensional travel. I'm going to open an theme park! I resurrected the dinosaurs. I'm going to open a theme park!
 
2013-09-09 04:25:49 PM

StrangeQ: We achieved energy positive the first time we set off a hydrogen bomb, but that's not going to help us power any cities.


We've also gotten the sustained reaction(for limited definitions of 'sustained') energy positive as well, in that it's released more energy from fusion than went into all the lasers, electromagnets and whatnot.
 
2013-09-09 04:36:09 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: Change the world! Oh my! I can't stand it anymore! First it was nanotechnology that was supposed to change everything! Then it was 3D printing! Then it was private space! Now it's bubble wrap! It's soooo EXCITING!!!!!

[cdn.meme.li image 400x400]

PS: What "new" materials are there here? What previously impossible combination of properties is on display here?


Settle down, Beavis.
 
2013-09-09 04:43:51 PM

log_jammin: aluminum bubble wrap?!?!?

POP! POP!

Hope no one sees me getting freaky!


Once, many years ago, I encountered a person who popped bubblewrap whilst walking around the office.

Later that evening, I sauteed his liver and enjoyed it with a fine Merlot.
 
2013-09-09 04:47:13 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: Change the world! Oh my! I can't stand it anymore! First it was nanotechnology that was supposed to change everything! Then it was 3D printing! Then it was private space! Now it's bubble wrap! It's soooo EXCITING!!!!!

[cdn.meme.li image 400x400]

PS: What "new" materials are there here? What previously impossible combination of properties is on display here?


You, Sir, are somewhat tiresome.
 
2013-09-09 05:41:42 PM

Hannibal Lecter's Understudy: Quantum Apostrophe: Change the world! Oh my! I can't stand it anymore! First it was nanotechnology that was supposed to change everything! Then it was 3D printing! Then it was private space! Now it's bubble wrap! It's soooo EXCITING!!!!!

[cdn.meme.li image 400x400]

PS: What "new" materials are there here? What previously impossible combination of properties is on display here?

You, Sir, are somewhat tiresome.


He's panicking because his 24th birthday is coming up, and then he'll be over the hill and decrepit.
 
2013-09-09 06:09:33 PM
nothing about UNOBTAINIUM?

/it's rather difficult to obtain i'm told
 
2013-09-09 06:17:04 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: Change the world! Oh my! I can't stand it anymore! First it was nanotechnology that was supposed to change everything! Then it was 3D printing! Then it was private space! Now it's bubble wrap! It's soooo EXCITING!!!!!

[cdn.meme.li image 400x400]

PS: What "new" materials are there here? What previously impossible combination of properties is on display here?


It's never with a sense of surprise, always with a sense of disappointment that we find you in these threads. It must be awful being you. Everything is just so... tiresome.
 
2013-09-09 06:17:05 PM

Firethorn: Cucullen: There does not exist a reactor design that can achieve engineering breakeven much less amount to a powerplant.

Engineering break even?  What's that?  I know we've achieved energy-positive quite some time ago.

There's a long list of plasma physics topics that we need to understand better before we can hope to make a powerplant. But there's no incentive and limited ability to investigate them given the funding situation.

That's kind of my point, isn't it?  Given the funding we'd be able to investigate them, and 'sufficient funding' allows extensive cost savings when you realize that you can get things the super-collider functioning by building it quickly enough that the parts you installed when you started aren't reaching EOL when you're finishing the last sections.

It costs roughly $1B/year to remain static with our current understanding/capabilities with fusion.  More than that allows us to advance.  Even more money would allow us to advance even faster, while at some point less funding would have us regressing.


Yeah I agree to a large extent with what you're saying. What I'm saying is that it's more complicated than just throwing money at the problem, though that's a prerequisite. A lot of money has been thrown at it. The bulk ends up being pork. A lot of good science has been done but the focus is on making contractors rich building things we know will not work.
You can build 20 iters and 20 nifs and still not get any closer to a powerplant. There needs to be funding, intelligent allocation of resources and a focus from the top on the basic science and engineering that needs to get done. Unlike Apollo and Manhattan its not a matter of simple upscaling.
 
2013-09-09 06:23:17 PM

Cucullen: Firethorn: Cucullen: There does not exist a reactor design that can achieve engineering breakeven much less amount to a powerplant.

Engineering break even?  What's that?  I know we've achieved energy-positive quite some time ago.

There's a long list of plasma physics topics that we need to understand better before we can hope to make a powerplant. But there's no incentive and limited ability to investigate them given the funding situation.

That's kind of my point, isn't it?  Given the funding we'd be able to investigate them, and 'sufficient funding' allows extensive cost savings when you realize that you can get things the super-collider functioning by building it quickly enough that the parts you installed when you started aren't reaching EOL when you're finishing the last sections.

It costs roughly $1B/year to remain static with our current understanding/capabilities with fusion.  More than that allows us to advance.  Even more money would allow us to advance even faster, while at some point less funding would have us regressing.

Yeah I agree to a large extent with what you're saying. What I'm saying is that it's more complicated than just throwing money at the problem, though that's a prerequisite. A lot of money has been thrown at it. The bulk ends up being pork. A lot of good science has been done but the focus is on making contractors rich building things we know will not work.
You can build 20 iters and 20 nifs and still not get any closer to a powerplant. There needs to be funding, intelligent allocation of resources and a focus from the top on the basic science and engineering that needs to get done. Unlike Apollo and Manhattan its not a matter of simple upscaling.


WRT your last sentence, neither was this true for Apollo or Manhattan...
/jes sayn
 
2013-09-09 06:24:51 PM
Titanium foam + implantable microchips with synthetic spider silk =
cdn.animeonly.org
/hot
 
2013-09-09 06:26:06 PM

brap: Aluminum bubble wrap?

Titanium foam?

Graphene aerogel?

Plaid lightbulbs?

Blue suede drapes?

It's a mad pad...Dig that crazy pad!

- Kookie's Madder Padder II.  Freak Out The Squares Harder Boogaloo


Awesome, if I may say so myself.

/don't need permission to say that the whole Iron Giant soundtrack is awesome, too.
 
2013-09-09 06:26:34 PM

Cucullen: What I'm saying is that it's more complicated than just throwing money at the problem, though that's a prerequisite.


Yeah, I kind of touched on that with my little disclaimer that you can't just 'get it done' by tossing an (estimated) $11B at it a year for 2 years.

A lot of money has been thrown at it. The bulk ends up being pork. A lot of good science has been done but the focus is on making contractors rich building things we know will not work.

1.  There's pork, fraud, waste, and abuse in everything
2.  A good part of this is the $1B/year that I subtract out.

You can build 20 iters and 20 nifs and still not get any closer to a powerplant.

Very true, like I said, you're not getting it done in a couple years.  Even five is really being over-optimistic, and that's assuming that you have so much money that you can build facilities like ITERS without money or political based delays.

There needs to be funding, intelligent allocation of resources and a focus from the top on the basic science and engineering that needs to get done. Unlike Apollo and Manhattan its not a matter of simple upscaling.

Always.
 
2013-09-09 06:47:41 PM

Firethorn: StrangeQ: We achieved energy positive the first time we set off a hydrogen bomb, but that's not going to help us power any cities.

We've also gotten the sustained reaction(for limited definitions of 'sustained') energy positive as well, in that it's released more energy from fusion than went into all the lasers, electromagnets and whatnot.


That's called scientific breakeven or ignition (see Lawson criterea). It's a nice step but we're still dumping a ton more energy into reactor than it produces. The best we have now is iter( it cost on the order of $10B), a tokamak that sits in a bath of LHe. For every watt it produces that gets soaked up by by the coolant it takes 400 to extract it to keep the magnetic field up. Even with that turbulence and various plasma instabilities limit reaction times to 10s of milliseconds. Even that would not be possible without a poorly understood operating regime known as H mode. H mode and turbulence can be studied on vastly cheaper experiments and we've known about these issues for decades. But someone threw money at the problem instead of figuring out the science and engineering needed to design something that will work.
 
2013-09-09 06:58:59 PM

Urmuf Hamer: Cucullen: Firethorn: Cucullen: There does not exist a reactor design that can achieve engineering breakeven much less amount to a powerplant.

Engineering break even?  What's that?  I know we've achieved energy-positive quite some time ago.

There's a long list of plasma physics topics that we need to understand better before we can hope to make a powerplant. But there's no incentive and limited ability to investigate them given the funding situation.

That's kind of my point, isn't it?  Given the funding we'd be able to investigate them, and 'sufficient funding' allows extensive cost savings when you realize that you can get things the super-collider functioning by building it quickly enough that the parts you installed when you started aren't reaching EOL when you're finishing the last sections.

It costs roughly $1B/year to remain static with our current understanding/capabilities with fusion.  More than that allows us to advance.  Even more money would allow us to advance even faster, while at some point less funding would have us regressing.

Yeah I agree to a large extent with what you're saying. What I'm saying is that it's more complicated than just throwing money at the problem, though that's a prerequisite. A lot of money has been thrown at it. The bulk ends up being pork. A lot of good science has been done but the focus is on making contractors rich building things we know will not work.
You can build 20 iters and 20 nifs and still not get any closer to a powerplant. There needs to be funding, intelligent allocation of resources and a focus from the top on the basic science and engineering that needs to get done. Unlike Apollo and Manhattan its not a matter of simple upscaling.

WRT your last sentence, neither was this true for Apollo or Manhattan...
/jes sayn


Apollo was a matter of building a bigger rocket. Yes there were logistical and technical challenges, but the basic design was not substantially different from previous rockets. Manhattan was almost entirely about transitioning existing laboratory isotope breeding and purification to an industrial scale. Ie upscaling.
The analogy to fusion would be if we had a small reactor that could run a light bulb, we do not.
 
2013-09-09 10:20:11 PM
So many great discoveries being made in this thead as we speak. I expect a transparent titanium foam space elevator to be 3d printed by a swarm of nanobots in the next 24hours, because if you can string together enough popscience anything is possible.
 
2013-09-10 01:10:02 AM
They considered a single protein from the bacterium-the one it uses to bind to human cells-and from there developed a molecular glue which forms covenant bonds when it comes into contact with a partner protein.

This superglue is so strong, it will legally marry your fingers together.
 
2013-09-10 09:57:42 AM

studebaker hoch: They considered a single protein from the bacterium-the one it uses to bind to human cells-and from there developed a molecular glue which forms covenant bonds when it comes into contact with a partner protein.

This superglue is so strong, it will legally marry your fingers together.


As the kids grow older, will they slowly drift apart?
 
2013-09-10 03:32:11 PM

dittybopper: In before "transparent aluminum".


I know I CAN'T be in before TechnoBevets and his magical immortality elixir. Do you suppose he could be Ponce De Leon's great-great grandchild?
 
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