February 01, 2010

Mach Effect Propulsion, IEC Fusion for Space and Heim Theory Updates and More at SPESIF Conference

H/T to the Talk Polywell forum for a conference that will present updates on Mach Effect propulsion and other advanced space propulsion research

Conference - Space, Propulsion & Energy Sciences International Forum February 23-25, 2010

The agenda is here

Abstracts are here

Test for the Existence of Mach Effects With a Rotary Device
James F. Woodward, Department of Physics, California State University

Abstract. Owing to the variation in the results of several experiments designed to produce thrust with devices employing Mach effects, it was decided to design an experiment with the simple purpose of determining whether or not Mach effects actually exist, and if they can be produced when the “bulk” acceleration and internal energy changes required to produce them are separately supplied. In the experiment arrays of eight 500 pf high voltage capacitors are mounted on the end of a rotor and spun to and from speeds of about 60 Hz (3600 rpm) while they are excited with a 40 KHz voltage signal with amplitudes up to 6 KV. The capacitors are sandwiched between two accelerometers and any Mach effect mass fluctuation is detected as a weight fluctuation that produces signals in the accelerometers that are antiphase. Those signals are subtracted with a differential instrumentation amplifier that suppresses other signals as common mode noise. Signals with the properties sought have been found and recorded with video equipment. They suggest that Mach effects are real, and that the bulk accelerations and internal energy changes that produce them can in fact be separately supplied.

Observation of Inverted Rydberg Matter and Implications for Energy Production
George H. Mileya, Xiaoling Yanga, Heinrich Horab, and Leif Holmlidc

Abstract. In this presentation we present evidence for formation of inverted Rydberg matter. We discuss its theoretical basis and also point out important potential applications to future power production.

Rydberg matter for a metallic phase of hydrogen (protium) or deuterium was produced at low pressures by catalytic dissociation of binary molecules and combining them in a state with orbital quantum number ℓ ≥ 1 . The catalytic process overcomes the problem that the H-H distance of 74 pm in molecules has to be increased to the dR = 150 pm in the metallic Rydberg state without requiring high temperatures and pressures. These very dense stable states of hydrogen or deuterium with lowest orbital quantum number are called H(1) or D(1) respectively. These states are the usual ones where electrons are attracted by a nucleus in the center.

Inverse Rydberg states of hydrogen isotopes are states where instead of the nucleus being in the center, the electron is in the center and the deuteron is attracted to states around the potential of the electron. If the orbital quantum number is 1 or higher, then the inverted Rydberg state is produced with clusters having an atomic distance of dR* given by the ratio of the electron mass me to the deuteron mass md. This is called D(-1), and

dR/dR* = (md/me)1/2 . (1)

This ratio is 60.6 and using the dR value for D(1), 150pm, the nuclear distance in the inverted Rydberg cluster of deuterium is dR* = 2.48 pm. This is close to the measured value of 2.3±0.1 pm. In the presentation we show that relation (1) is consistent with a quantum modification of Bohr’s hydrogen model.

It should be noted that a similar high density state of deuterons was observed earlier in dislocation loop regions in electrolytically loaded palladium. These states, termed deuteron “clusters”, were detected with SQUID measurements which indicated that a crystal dislocation “loop” or defect formed in palladium with a diameter in the range of 100pm can trap more than one hundred deuterons. It was shown that these deuterium clusters have properties corresponding to a class II superconductor, and represent a Bose-Einstein condensation state. Their relationship to inverted states of Rydberg matter was not recognized, however, until the pioneering work of Holmid, et al..

The possible application of such states for inertial confinement fusion (ICF) energy has subsequently been discussed as well as the potential development of a small ”LENR” power cell. In ICF the concept is to use laser pulse irradiation to further compress the inverse Rydberg matter imbedded in a laser target assembly, initiating intense fusion reactions. In the power cell, a high flux of deuterium ions is driven through the material to collisionally excite nuclear reactions. Further studies and concepts for use of this remarkable new state of matter for power applications, especially related to space applications, will be presented.

Development Path for Aneutronic Fuel Fusion for Space Power
George H. Miley, Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering, University of Illinois

Abstract. Fusion is generally recognized as a potential power source suitable for manned interplanetary missions.However, “conventional” D-T fusion does not lead to efficient collimation of energetic fusion products and involves radioactivity complications due to tritium fuel and high flux of 14-MeV neutrons. Aneutronic fuels include p-B11 and He3. However, ignition of either of these is extremely demanding. D-3He fusion is much easier to ignite. It is aneutronic except for production of neutrons from “side” D-D reactions. The fraction of the energy going into neutrons can be held below 10% so the radiation safety and material damage issues are minimal. Further, D-3He provides a natural approach to directed thrust since the energetic fusion products (alpha and protons) are charged particles. Also He3 is abundant on the lunar surface and the atmosphere of certain other planets. To burn it, however, requires a very high beta fusion confinement system. Various candidates include field reversed configurations (FRCs), Spheromaks, Dense Plasma Focus (DPF) and Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC). To illustrate the potential for such propulsion systems and identify key issues involved, a conceptual design for deep space propulsion based on IEC “Fusion Ship II” is considered. This is viewed as a fast entrance into aneutronic fuels, with p-B11 and He3-He3 being a second generation development.

Nuclear Pumped Lasers for Space Power Beaming Revisited
George H. Miley

Abstract. Power beaming by lasers is recognized as a key technology needed to support future space exploration. Important potential applications include beaming power from a terrestrial station to satellites or from a satellite station to remote sites on the lunar surface, Mars, etc. or to a propulsion unit. The best approach to power beaming is still under debate. However, Free Electron Lasers (FELs) and microwave generators have been proposed as alternatives to conventional lasers. In this paper, another uniquely different approach to power beaming, namely a Nuclear-Pumped Laser (NPL) is discussed.

The NPL uses neutrons from a fission reactor to excite ("pump") a gas by creating nuclear reactions in the gaseous laser medium. Since an energy source capable of high power levels is essential for any power beaming approach, the use of a fission reactor would be a common feature for multi-kW power beaming concepts. However, with an NPL, the direct neutron coupling of the reactor to the laser eliminates the need for a thermal to electrical conversion cycle, significantly increasing the overall system efficiency. Further, without a conversion sub-system, the overall system weight and volume is reduced and the unit is simplified. For land based units where weight is not crucial, a thermal conversion system can be retained to produce commercial electrical power simultaneously with the NPL power beaming operation. In this presentation we consider a specific NPL operating at visible wavelengths using a He-Ne-H2 laser medium which appears to be especially attractive for power beaming. Issues related to beam extraction and beam quality are discussed. A new technique using combined volume-surface pumping to control the beam profile is presented.

Lecture – Distributed Fusion Power Sources for Mars Exploration
George H Miley* and Xiaoling Yang

Abstract. One of the fundamental needs for Mars colonization is an abundant source of energy [1]. In this lecture, two types of fusion nuclear power plants, the Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) fusion torch and small Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) power units (a form of “cold fusion”), are proposed to serve as initial power sources for Mars terraforming. Most of the resources that are needed by these two power units exist on Mars. This ensures the sufficient material supply for developing power units directly on Mars, greatly reducing transportation costs. The IEC device would provide small central units in the 500 kWe - 1 MWe level. The LENR units would serve as small portable sources ranging from watts up to kilowatts. All units would be designed to minimize radiation emission and radioactive waste. To reach the first step of Mars colonization, forming a habitable environment, IEC fusion torch would be responsible for producing super greenhouse gases to warm up the planet, and producing oxygen and nitrogen to form breathable air. All these gases are realized by decomposing and recombining existing materials on Mars. The first IEC fusion torch, LENR power unit and some robotics would be brought from earth. Robots would iron mining, and then the IEC torch would do steel making, and realize self-reproducing production of more power plants. Small portable units, LENR power cells, would serve as a supplement to supply starting power for IEC device.

Transformational Technologies to Expedite Space Access and Development
John Rather

Throughout history the emergence of new technologies has enabled unforeseen breakthrough capabilities that rapidly transformed the world. Some global examples from the twentieth century include AC electric power, nuclear energy, and turbojet engines. At the systems level, success of both Apollo and the Space Shuttle programs depended upon taming hydrogen propulsion and developing high-temperature atmospheric reentry materials. Human space development now is stymied because of a great need for breakthrough technologies and strategies. We believe that new capabilities exist within the present states-of-the-art that can be implemented to transform the future of human space development.

It is a little known fact that an effort was made in the mid-1990s by NASA HQ, Marshall Space Flight Center, and key private innovators to change the basic paradigms of space access and development. Generically these efforts involved electromagnetic launch methods and new approaches for high power electrical systems in space. By 1970 low- temperature superconducting technologies were already completely mature, and after1987 intense R&D efforts were under way to industrialize high temperature superconductivity. Based upon exploitation of superconductivity, a completely new launch concept called StarTram was developed as a serious alternative for massive space access. Because traditional rocket technologies were clearly too expensive and limited in their capabilities to open space for large scale human development, StarTram was conceived from first principles to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of space access by a factor of more than a hundred. Further conceptual work showed that, in addition to Earth-to-space launch, the same transformational technologies could revolutionize in-space development and high-speed ground transportation. The overall feasibility and cost of the StarTram approach was validated in 2005 by a thorough “murder board” study conducted at Sandia National Laboratory.

In this presentation, the principles and promise of the StarTram work will be summarized. Then a case will be made that the resulting breakthrough advantages will lead directly to cost-effective solar power from space, utilization of near-earth asteroids for habitats immune to ionizing radiation (together with protection of the Earth from impacts), safe space tourism, and development of the moon, Mars and the outer solar system. Synergistically, ground transportation on the Earth can be revolutionized, leading to enormous reduction in energy consumption and creation of millions of jobs. Two short movies will be shown to substantiate the breakthrough nature of this twenty-first century technology. A logical daisy-chain of affordable transformative steps will be proposed.

Fiber-Optic-Gyroscope Measurements Close to Rotating Liquid Helium
M. Tajmar and F. Plesescu, Space Propulsion & Advanced Concepts, Austrian Institute of Technology

Abstract. We previously reported anomalous fiber-optic gyroscope signals observed above spinning rings at temperatures close to liquid helium. Our results suggested that the liquid helium itself may be the source of our observed phenomenon. We constructed a new cryostat experiment that allows rotating a large quantity of liquid helium together with a superconducting niobium tube. The facility is built in such a way that our gyroscope can be placed directly in the center of rotation along the axis; however, the cryostat is built around the gyroscope to allow measuring without interference of helium liquid or gas. This paper summarizes the measurements from this new setup.

The Historical and Future Economics of Propulsion and Energy Technology: Trends from 1750 and Projections to 2100
Darryl W. Webb

Since the industrial revolution the progress in the transportation technologies has evolved from stationary steam engines used primarily to power factories to nuclear engines that have powered spacecraft beyond our solar system. This paper begins with the historical relationship between distance and desired speed and using time series analysis explores the increases in performance accomplished on successive generations of transportation engines. Beginning with the first steam engines, the output power, energy density and the cost efficiency of steam, reciprocating, jet, rocket and nuclear engines will be shown. The design paradigm shifts in the different engine types and the implications of increasing energy efficiency on the total transportation vehicles will also be explored.

Using 250 years of historical technological progress the author will project the levels of achievement possible by the end of the 21st century for both research/exploration and the commercial markets if historical trends continue.

The Pyramid Electric Generator === UPDATE - controversial and has not been thoroughly investigated by this site
Peter Grandics, A-D Research Foundation

Abstract. An electric generator capable of harvesting power from Earth’s electric field will be discussed. The generator comprises a geometrically optimized pyramid-shaped antenna connected to a set of coils near the pyramid’s apex. The coils consist of a coil of high turn number (secondary coil) positioned coaxially within the primary coil; together, these function as a resonant step-up transformer winding, as they are inductively coupled and connected to the pyramidal antenna, which acts as a quasi-capacitive series element coupled to the surrounding space to provide a specific resonant frequency. The primary coil is connected to an AC driver operating in the LF radio band. Activating the primary coil drives the pyramid to a high AC voltage essential for its power attraction function. A power of nearly 100 kVA and an apparent power gain of over 130-fold have been measured. The accumulated energy was subsequently dissipated across a liquid load resistor connected to the pyramid.

United States Patent 6,974,110, December 13, 2005,
Method and Apparatus for Converting Electrostatic Potential Energy

15 page pdf

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