April 17, 2012

Coldfusionnow notes from the of the Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space conference

On Friday, March 23 Ruby Carat of Coldfusionnow attended Session 462 Advanced Concepts: LENR, Anti-Matter, and New Physics of the Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space conference, one day after speaking with George H. Miley who would be presenting A Game-Changing Power Source for Spacecraft at the session. Here is his review of the talks that were presented.

1. Y. E. Kim gave his talk on Cryogenic Ignition of Deuteron Fusion in Micro/Nano-Scale Metal Particles which described a Bose-Einstein Condensate Nuclear Fusion theory for cold fusion and suggested experiments to test his hypothesis.

He calls for three experiments to be conducted to test his hypothesis.

The first experiment would determine whether or not a BEC can indeed form inside a metal at room-temperature. If a BEC forms, you can then measure the velocity distribution of the deuterons with low-energy neutron scattering or high-energy x-ray scattering off the deuterium in the metal, as was done in the atomic case.

As a second experiment, Professor Kim would like to know if the rate of deuterium diffusion occurs faster than protons when a condensate forms. He expects that to occur.

Experiments number 1 and number 2, if confirmed, with be a new discovery. The third experiment Professor Kim calls for is a little more ‘practical’.

He is proposing an experiment for the National Ignition Facility NIF at Livermore where they have been cooling deuterium-tritium spheres. The spheres are targets for lasers in their attempts to induce nuclear fusion. By cooling the spheres, they can get a perfect sphere, which helps the implosion needed to induce fusion for this type of system. Says Profess Kim, “We can take advantage of that cooling system and reaction chamber built already, deuterium nano-particles in a 1-cm sphere, and by applying an appropriate oscillating electromagnetic field at a low-temperature, make them explode.”

His formula tells him that taking a 1-cm sphere filled with deuterium nano-particles will provide 10^{19} reactions per second. Designing the system to be slow-burning can provide power as rocket thrust.

In order to succeed with these experiments, Professor Kim says, “it could take 5-10 years to come up with a mature system. But if you wanted to do it right away, you could do a Manhattan-type Project and do it in a few years.”

“If we succeed, this a a potentially revolutionary, disruptive technology for the world.”

2. George H. Miley spoke next on A Game-Changing Power Source Based on Low Energy Nuclear Reactions LENR.

He related his research to Y. E Kim‘s Bose-Einstein Condensate hypothesis. He believes that deuterium clusters are somewhat similar to BEC’s, in that they interact through multi-body reactions.

“What happens is in that region where you get a very high density of hydrogen or deuterium, you get a condensation of the type that Dr. Kim was talking about in the previous talk. There may be as many as a thousand atoms there. That is quite remarkable.”

Superconduncting Quantum Interference Device SQUID measurements show that this region is superconducting at temperatures below 70 degrees.

Says Professor Miley, “Forget about the superconducting, that means it’s darn dense.”

“We decided about this time to change gears and try to do somewhat the same thing with nano-particles. The logic is if you have plates, most of these clusters were forming in damaged spots near or around the surface. If we have nano-particles you can get them all around the surface of the nano-particles. You pack the nano-particles in, you just get a lot more sites per unit volume than the planar configuration.”

“Now our experiments are simple, even undergraduate students can do it, which are all I have!” he laughed. A 25-cm long tube gets filled with 23 grams of nano-particles. That goes into another vacuum chamber mainly for temperature control to limit the amount of heat transfer slipping out. “We have the cylinder of deuterium or hydrogen here. After pumping it down to a vacuum, you load it with gas. Hopefully if you do all that right, it heats up, and you’re off and running.”

“We’re studying various types of nano-particles. That’s probably the most difficult of all of this. We have four different alloys; nickel-rich alloys for hydrogen gas reactions and and palladium-rich alloys for deuterium ones, and we make those ourselves.”

“We’ve become very enthusiastic about this so we’ve formed a company LENUCO to try and commercialize this. So we’re really serious and that’s the only reason I’m saying this.”

At the conclusion of his talk, Professor Kim asked a question: “Since you are forming a company, you are not going to disclose how you make the nano-particles?”

“I can tell you roughly how we make them. That is we first dream up an alloy we think is good, and have someone make that alloy, and then we do a special heat treatment of these nano-particles and then we do some stressing of them to try to form these voids. But you’re right, the company now has a patent on this, so the details I can’t disclose yet!”

3. Session Chair Harry “Sonny” White
Advanced Propulsion Physics: Harnessing the Quantum Vacuum 3082.pdf with P. March

As a member of the Advanced Propulsion Team at Johnson Space Center, Harry “Sonny” White has been researching multiple forms of advanced electric propulsion systems with the goal of integrating them into human architecture.

Dr. White said the team is developing an even larger thruster, saying “We’ve had some experience in the 4000 micro-newton range with around 10 Watts of input power. But we’re trying to get more experience across a broader number of input parameters to help us understand if we have a good handle on the physics and engineering.”

“A test article that we ran it at 2 MHz and 4 MHz, the predicted force was very close to the observed force. We’ll be building a much larger test article, we’re trying to get to the 0.1 million newton level of thrust, and we’ll be working on that over the next year.”

“With this type of a thruster, if we could couple a 2MW reactor to the equivalent of 2MW of thruster capability we could do a Jovian mission, and this is a capture time, in 138 days, and 196 days for Saturn.”

4. R. K. Obousy
Project Icarus: Anti-Matter Catalyzed Fusion Propulsion for Interstellar Missions 3104.pdf with K. F. Long and T. Smith

Dr. Obousy’s talk was outlined in three sections: the physics of interstellar travel, Project Icarus a fusion based interstellar starship design study, and a new project of anti-matter catalyzed fusion.

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