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Antimatter Enhanced Fusion Reactor

Less fuel, more power.
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(+1, -4)
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This idea is to boost the energy output of a fusion reactor using antimatter. Because a Deuterium-Tritium reactor is the most realistic/closest to completion I will use that as the standard model.

I love the idea of pure antimatter reactors for applications like spaceflight, but antimatter is very hard to produce and expensive so making many grams/kilograms of it will be impractical for quite a while. However, a D-T fusion reactor uses two relatively cheap fuels. When the two fuels are fused they produce a lot of energy, and Helium. The downsides are that a large amount of these two fuels is required and the power output is much lower that what you would get from a pure antimatter reaction. So lets say you have a spacecraft or something that needs tons and tons of power with a minimum fuel carried, and still be economical.

Antihelium could be added to the reactor to annihilate with the helium waste from the fusion reaction, drastically increasing power output. Like the afterburners on a jet. Since power is already being produced by the fusion, much less antimatter is needed to provide the necessary power.

Besides the increased power lower amounts of deuterium and tritium will be used, and the increased heat in the reaction chamber from the antimatter reaction will help catalyze the fusion as it progresses (more efficiency). Final bonus: if you can't find antimatter the reactor will still provide quite a bit of fusion power.

-no magic/unobtanium is required here, just fifty or so years of R&D.

DIYMatt, Jun 14 2010

Project Daedalus http://en.wikipedia...ki/Project_Daedalus
An example of a good application... [DIYMatt, Jun 16 2010]


       //no magic/unobtanium is required here, just fifty or so years of R&D.// I'm very tempted to lay an [m-f-d] magic-in-weaselword-suit, but I'll wait for the sense of the community.
lurch, Jun 14 2010

       IF you had a good source of anti-helium THEN you wouldn't need any additional reactor.
WcW, Jun 14 2010

       Anti helium is theoretically producable. However, it requires the power of a sizeable fusion reactor to sustain the process.   

       There are some fairly basic laws of physics that should have told you early on that this wouldn't be viable. If you can get a bunch of energy out of the antimatter, it's because you put a bunch of energy into it.
Twizz, Jun 15 2010

       If you have anti-helium, why do you need anything else except a like amount of regular matter? You could dispense with the fusion part altogether. In any case, [marked-for-deletion] as fusion and anti-matter drives are well known in science fiction. As for combining them, this doesn’t make much sense, as very little helium is produced and you don’t need anti-helium to combine with the helium. Any anti-matter will do. Similarly with anti-helium, you can combine that with any regular matter.   

       As long as you're dealing with unobtanium, why not call for antimatter that exists in a solid state? Like anti-iron? Then you could easily keep it magnetically levitated and harvest what you need with a laser beam.
ldischler, Jun 15 2010

       //Besides the increased power lower amounts of deuterium and tritium will be used,// I would be carefull how you word that in future.   

       Getting antimatter into orbit is a bit like getting a vacuum chamber into orbit. It is a fucking waste of time. By it's very nature antimatter containment vessicles need to be of the lowest possible density, lowest possible densities don't suck themselves into space (no matter what you read here on the 1/2 bakery).   

       So you may as well catapult your objective along the lagrange golf idea (or the reverse of), already on the bakery.   

       It all comes down to a mol of gas is 24.etc dm^3 of gas, independent of the gas. If our atmosphere was liquid I would agree, but it is not. So Be It. The containment of 24 dm^3 of antimatter would require a facility as large as CERN's LHC if not bigger. That's not going to float anyone's boat I'm afraid.
4whom, Jun 15 2010

       Just think of them as anti-fishbones.   

       To Twizz - the idea isn't really to create a cheap source of energy for earth, it is to create a massive amount of energy from a relatively small amount of fuel in an exotic application.   

       Maybe I should have posted the idea as this: add antimatter "afterburner" to the second stage of project Daedalus. If you're unfamiliar with Daedalus, see the wikipedia link. After the first stage jettisons, inject antihelium into the exhaust of the second stage, and get a massive increase in output at 100% energy efficiency for the fuel burned. Double the spacecraft's speed and get to Alpha Centauri in 25 years instead of 50.
DIYMatt, Jun 16 2010

       While still accurately missing the point that it will take more energy to make the anti-helium (let alone store it) than you will ever recover from it.
Twizz, Jun 16 2010

       Twizz, it doesn't matter how much energy it takes to make the anti-helium, this is just a compact storage for a propulsion unit, not an energy generation scheme. And apart from the difficulty of storing this anti-helium, the author thinks it has to be combined with helium. It doesn't, and for the same reason it's impossible to store. It will react with any ordinary matter and vaporize the storage unit in an instant.
ldischler, Jun 16 2010

       I was thinking something with magnets. R&D required...
DIYMatt, Jun 17 2010

       Wow. An anti-idea.
normzone, Jun 17 2010


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