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August 09, 2010

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics Dense Plasma Fusion Project Updates

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Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (LPP) is trying to achieve commercial nuclear fusion.

LPP is trying to get up to 100,000 joules in each pulse. 60 such pulses would be 6 million joules per second, which if converted at with only about 20% loss would be equal to a 5 megawatt generator. The generator would cost about $200,000 and enable power to be generated 50 times cheaper than today.

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (LPP) completed testing the new spark plugs that they had designed.

1. The first good news is that, with the Lexan insulators and tungsten pins, the spark plugs have lasted through over 200 shots without breaking

2. the amount of current we are producing per firing capacitor has improved. We have achieved 1 MA at 27 kV with only 8 capacitors firing, something that required all 12 capacitors with the old spark plugs. We believe that the large size of the tungsten pins and the better distribution of current has reduced the inductance of the switches and led to the increase in current, which makes us more confident that we can reach the design current for FF-1 of 2.8 MA.

3. Despite careful adjustment of the spark gaps, the simultaneity of firing with the new spark plugs is worse than with the old ones, and on average, only five switches are firing on the trigger. We believe we know the cause and cure of this problem. We have ordered this new power supply, which will increase the charging voltage on the trigger from 20 to 40 kV and will arrive near the end of August. We think that by doubling the rate of rise of the trigger pulse, we will be able to get the trigger voltage up to at least 20 kV before it shorts. That, together with the capacitor voltage of 30 kV, should get us to the 50 kV needed to fire all of the switches together. Another Dense Plasma Fusion project in Las Vegas is working reliably with higher voltages. The best switches cost a lot and are complicated to maintain. On the other hand, spark gap switches (our kind) with much higher trigger voltages—120 kV vs our current 20 kV—have been made to function reliably recently
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The LPP team is also reporting on readings from three x-ray photo-multiplier tubes.

From these numbers, we can calculate the product n^2V (where n is density and V is volume) for both the electrons and the ions. Both numbers are the same, 1.1+-0.1x10^35/cm^3. This is a strong indication that the X-rays and neutrons come from the same plasma, the plasmoid. It is also a good indication of how our instruments are designed to supplement and confirm each other, so that every measurement we take will be checked by at least two instruments


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