Science: Energy: Nuclear
Metallic Fusion   (+8, -5)  [vote for, against]
Use EMP to heat up metallic hydrogen and cause fusion

First of all, please let me express my opinion about methods trying to control the fusion reaction, such as the Donut (tokamak), fusors, cold fusion, bubble fusion etc. I do not believe any of these will be able to "leash" the fusion reaction anytime soon as many people fancy, but that's my opinion.

I think the only way to achieve feasible fusion in short term is to 'let it go'! Explode! Like Z-pinch or else ICF. The problem with these two methods though is that they require (and will require) too much energy, and stupendously expensive devices like giant lasers.

Here is Metallic Fusion: Hydrogen becomes a metal under very high pressures. This could be done by banging a super fast 'bullet' on a sample of liquid hydrogen, as done at Lawrence Livermore 10 years ago. Once it is metallic, it is conductive. So? So you can heat it up by electromagnetic waves. But what can heat up a coin shaped specimen up to 40 million K?? Answer is EPFCG a.k.a. E-Bomb! It generates a super intense electromagnetic wave that can fry any electronic circuit in 1 mile radius. Well, what if you had it explode right next to the 'hydrogen coin'? Since flux creates a current by the right thumb rule, there would be 100MA currents in circles in the coin for at least 1 microsecond. If we are talking about 1 mg of hydrogen, that's enough to make it fuse. Besides, the massive current will further squeez the coin by means of Lorenz force. Am I right?

By the way, when it exploded, it could ignite more fuel, or an entire hyrogen bomb so to speak, inside a huge underground chamber. Collect all that heat with lithium and steam generators.. Voila! Metallic Fusion! I also like the name coz it sounds like a music genre.
-- xkuntay, Dec 28 2008

Popular Science Article http://www.popsci.c...e-might-save-world#
harnessing fusion with controlled explosions
Two desktop-printer engineers quit their jobs to search for the ultimate source of endless energy: nuclear fusion. Could this highly improbable enterprise actually succeed? [xaviergisz, Dec 29 2008]

Metallic Hydrogen Article
Eplanation of the metallic hydrogen experiment at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab. [xkuntay, Dec 29 2008, last modified Dec 30 2008]

Explanation of EPFCG
How the E-Bomb works! Tells you how to make an e-bomb out of an old TV for instance. [xkuntay, Dec 30 2008]

Paper on Using EPFCG for Fusion http://www.princeto...ns/pdf/7_2Jones.pdf
They have actually concieved of using EPFGC for a Pure Fusion Weapon (PFW) in 1998! However, their method is terribly inefficient if you ask me (and it does not use EMP). [xkuntay, Jan 01 2009]

Nuclear Geothermal Power Nuclear_20Geothermal_20Power
If you want to obtain energy from large nuclear blasts, try this! [Vernon, Jan 03 2009]

Three Fusion Reactor Variations Three_20Fusion_20Reactor_20Variations
This may be what [Bungston] was talking about, in terms of related stuff. [Vernon, Jan 03 2009]

Cold Fusion Hypothesis http://www.nemitz.n...oldfusionhypoth.pdf
This is the published article. [Vernon, Jan 04 2009]

Path Ingtegral Monte Carlo simulation method http://www.fz-jueli...volume10/bernu2.pdf
The tool for simulating Metallic Hydrogen; PIMC. Those with a lot patience and some kind of perpetual sponsorship are welcome to try it. [xkuntay, Jan 07 2009, last modified Jan 08 2009]

Phase Diagram for Hydrogen http://access.ncsa....gen/Hydrogen_2.html
Proof that if you squeezed hydrogen to 0.4 gr/cm3, it would become metallic. [xkuntay, Jan 08 2009]

The Ghostly T.O.E.
More on how the quantum foam explains the strange things in Quantum Mechanics. [Vernon, Jan 13 2009]

Haha! Set off a hydrogen bomb to ignite 1 mg of hydrogen. Brilliant!

Of course you can't expect politicians to appreciate the irony of this idea. They are so attached to the practical, rather than the wildly conceptual. Screw them, eh?
-- ldischler, Dec 28 2008

Actually if you could ignite 1mg of hydrogen, I think it would be rather handy. No idea if this would work, though...
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 28 2008

Surely the hydrogen is only metallic while the high pressure exists. With your 'bullet' suggestion, this seems like a very transient situation.
-- Texticle, Dec 29 2008

Unleashing the primal force of the universe with a superfast bullet followed by an EMP pulse. And the promise of Lorenz force joinging the party? Who could not dig it! Dig it very deeply, please.

A bun for you both for this over the top idea which hangs together plausibly, as well as your tongue in cheek presentation.
-- bungston, Dec 29 2008

I should note that the bullet itself should be comprised of uranium, and the same impact which compresses the hydrogen could compress the uranium as well to critical mass, fueling the emp pulse. A gleaming bauble of alloyed hydrogen metal and critical mass uranium is what I am looking to hang on the tinder-dry tree of holy fusion.
-- bungston, Dec 29 2008

Not to be mean, but the spelling is actually "Livermore".

Nuclear fusion isn't my forte, but I don't see anything outlandish in your general idea. I don't know if it would work, but off the top of my head, I don't see why it wouldn't.
-- talldave, Dec 30 2008

How would you harness all this energy? How do you safely contain a hydrogen bomb detonation?
-- Spacecoyote, Dec 30 2008

Well, if you can do it for 1 mg of hydrogen, thats 3.6x10^14J. Should be able to power the entire world for the rest of its existence. About 1ms.
-- miasere, Dec 30 2008

Thanks for all the comments and criticisms. I appreciate criticising comments just as much. Please shoot it down, if you can, so I don't need to worry about it any more!

[MaxwellBuchanan], thanks for the advice. The aim is to ignite only 1mg of hydrogen, but usually the payback is insufficient for that amount. You don't get rich by mere working but mostly by investing; hence it is best to use it to ignite more fuel.

[bungston], thanks! We can top it with uranium as you like and even sprinkle some palladium on it. A nice tasty fusion-fission cake in the morning!

[talldave] thanks for pointing out the spelling. Shame on me. I pass from Livermore every week. Just was too excited when writing I guess. The idea of igniting 1mg by EM is by no means original, but EMP I had never heard of. Write EMP Fusion in Google and there's nothing. I think EMP is the way to go. It can be born from nuclear blast so it should create one!

[Spacecoyote] The blast could be a small one, does not need to be an entire nuclear bomb. It could be a tnt bomb size, so you could harness it the usual way, with steam turbines.

Here the improvement is not scientific but mere engineering. Ergo predictably, I am an engineer.
-- xkuntay, Dec 30 2008

Digging this.
Digging this very deeply.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Dec 30 2008

[2 fries] Here are some numbers if it would help:

dimensions: 10 micron cube = 0.0000000001 cm3 density of liquid lead: 10.66 conductivity of copper (100 micron*micron x 10 micron): 0.000168 ohms specific heat of copper (J/g.K): 0.385 explosively pumped flux compression generator: 100 MA = 10^8 A mass of sample (10 micron cube): 0.0000000012 g P=I*I*R power generated: 16800 W = J/s temperature rise: 36,363,636,363,636 K/s = 36,363,636,363 K/ms

density of copper: 8.96 g·cm-3 = 1.8 E23 temperature effect on elec. resistivity of copper: 0.393 %/degree or temp. coef. of copper = 0.00393/degree
-- xkuntay, Dec 31 2008

[xk] - you may enjoy reading Vernon's fusion musings here on the HB. Also, mentioning his name in an annotation will summon him, and I would like to read his thoughts on your scheme.
-- bungston, Dec 31 2008

Dear friend [b], I would be most happy to see [Vernon] joining our discussion here. This is not a one-person thing. We need to work together on this to perfect it. But I tell you in all honesty that I believe this IS the ultimate fusion method and it WILL save the world economy, bring peace to world, and make our white and blue ball crystal clear as before. In the meantime, dear friend, the Nobel prize is enough for all of us! Happy NEW year!
-- xkuntay, Dec 31 2008

Interesting idea: Harness energy from explosions (nuclear fusion). But, my fellow Oregonian [SpaceCoyote] is right: how are you going to gather more output energy than the input energy? (It's there - just HOW are you going to get it?) Turning an almost instant detonation - (of course it will work: it's called a hydrogen bomb) - into usefull energy is the real Nobel prize. Remember, Alfred Nobel invented dynamite; that would work, too, assuming ... you could feasibly harness it.

[more info needed before I vote: kudos, though, for your enthusiasm. I suspect, [xkuntay], that the real novelty of your idea isn't in your execution, but in the method of fusion...]
-- Wily Peyote, Jan 01 2009

[Willy Peyote] Thanks for your comment. I will try to answer your question, and hopefully get your vote too. How are we going to harness the energy from a detonation? I will use my general chemical engineering knowledge to construct a scheme:

Imagine a chamber held at 212 degree F (boiling temp of H2O). This chamber is 100 x 100 x 100 ft and well insulated except the top. On the roof of the chamber there is a pool of DI boiling water at 1 atm. Let's see now what happens when the mini H2 bomb sets off:

Around the blast there are lithium walls, known to capture neutrons well, thus preventing damage to chamber walls. When blast takes place heat and energetic neutrons are disposed. The chamber gets hotter, from 212 F to say 300 F. The water on top of the chamber boils vigorously, creating a pressure. The steam is vented through a circular duct with a steam turbine.

Let's say now that the steam turbine converts 10% of heat to electricity, a relatively conservative efficiency. With all other losses, say only 1% of fusion energy is usable. Then, our fusion scheme has to have an input:output ratio of 1:100. Metallic Fusion, I say, is capable of this.

If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
-- xkuntay, Jan 01 2009

//let me express my opinion about // // I do not believe any of these // //but that's my opinion// // think the only way to achieve // // I believe this IS the ultimate fusion method and it WILL save the world economy, bring peace to world, and // //Metallic Fusion, I say, is capable of this//

... Did you call yourself an engineer>? Really? I mean there's nothing wrong with holding an opinion on something; but having a fairly vague concept of something, and then trying to convince people that it's the only feasible option, is a pretty arrogant move.

I think this whole idea is pretty up in the air. That's not to say it can't work, but I honestly think you're a little too convinced. You sound more like an evangelical preacher, than an engineer.
-- Custardguts, Jan 01 2009

[Custardguts] *L* Glad that my overly confident remarks worked! The purpose was to draw some attention, based on the principle that there is no bad advertisement. No offense was meant!

Yes, I am a pretty experienced engineer. No, I do not think this is the only feasible fusion method. Anyone who has some reasoning would tell that there may be thousands of schemes that can work, given the number of people working or have worked on fusion. I am not really a fusion scientist either.

But then again, I do believe this could be a more promising method, given that we are combining two very efficient ways of transferring energy: adiabatic compression, and electromagnetic pulse. The losses are greatly minimized as such. Again, I am thinking purely in engineering terms, as scientifically there is no novelty in it.

And no, I am not a preacher. If I were, I'd preach QM. I have sufficient logic to know that even fusion could not save the world at this time. It could improve it a bit though. At least that much I hope for.

Finally, why don't we focus on the technological facts of it rather than the vanity?
-- xkuntay, Jan 01 2009

OK, what makes electromagnetic pulse a "very efficient way of transferring energy"- ? As opposed to, say, a laser? I think you'll find that a pinch or other EMP device will be horribly inneficient as a closed system.

Why would you think that the hydrogen would stay metallic? It wouldn't, you know... Pretty much instantaneously it would get hot enough to liberate electrons and suddenly you have plasma. Now plasma will conduct induced currents as well, but I'm not getting the relevance of the metallic phase. Why not use a pulse of electricity through your lithium deuteride fuel to vaporise it to plasma, then hit it with your EMP? I hope you realise that there are huge currents passing through the plasma in a TOKOMAK, that being one of the heating methods.

Now as to these E-bombs you speak of. HOw expensive/big/complex are they? Just how large a fusion event are you planning per cycle? What is the duty cycle? The relevance being most non-steady-state fusion designs (here I define a TOKOMAK reaction as steady-state - they could/will last for a minute, or even more when scaled up. An example of non-steady state would be inertial confinement laser initiated) use a fairly small fusion event, and cycle them frequently, maybe as much as 1 every 10 seconds, or shorter timelines. There are good reasons for this, being to do with scale. If you need a blast chamber 1 mile across then we're never going to float this baby. Secondly, whatever energy capture system you're using will better handle a constant input, or smaller inputs more frequently, rather than huge pulses.

I assume the pinch (EMP) you're going to use will be completely destroyed in the ensuing mess. So 1) whatever gasses/solids are left over from the pinch that are now pasted on your chamber walls may be radioactive, which isn't a good thing, and 2) you've got to make a new pinch (or E-bomb, whatever you're using) every time you fire this up. That's not cheap, in terms of man-hours, money, or resources (copper, explosives, etc).

Are we focussing on technological facts yet?
-- Custardguts, Jan 01 2009

Inertial confinement fusion is all about energy flux [volumetric] across the fuel pellet, efficiency of the energy delivery system, [especially in terms of payback, or recovery ratio] and cycle time, amongst a vast collection of other issues.

You need to look at this system and ask yourself, is this the best way of blasting vast ammounts of energy into a fuel pellet in the shortest possible time? Is this the cheapest, most controllable and most efficient way of getting the energy to the fuel? Is it repeatable? Is it scalable?

The technical difficulties involved with IC fusion are vast, and varied. There are no real doubts that it's doable, but they're still trying to get the energy transfer right. Laser technology just won't cut the mustard, yet.

For the record I'm a mechanical engineer, with a university level physics/chemistry/optics background. I'm no nuclear physicist either.
-- Custardguts, Jan 02 2009

[Custardguts] Much much better ;-) Pretty impressive points. Nice analysis. And actually you hit some questions that I had been afraid of (yes I admit! I am no preacher so I have no dogmas). Let's continue in order:

1. I will rephrase your question, hoping your excuse: Why is laser, for instance, not better than EMP for energy transfer? Ans: Honestly, I do not have any quantified proof. My inference is based on heuristics. I have read a good deal on ICF, and what I learned is that the hohlraum gets significantly heated up during the laser treatment. This is only understandable; the laser is let bounce off the walls of the hohlraum. I never played with EMP myself, but what I know is magnetic field is conserved. If you have two coils, one with current, the other without, and they are on the same axis and adjacent, if you were unplug the first one, ignoring all the resistive losses, the current would resume itself in the second coil, without loss. That is what I hope will happen to the metallic hydrogen sample. NO GUARANTEES though (heck, if I knew for sure, I'd dive into White House and make them do it.). As for pinch (you mean z-pinch I assume), it was proven to be more effective than ICF, to my knowledge again.

2. Sure the hydrogen would not stay metallic in the super fast bullet case. It lasts few milliseconds, but that is enough time to hit it with EMP. Timing should be no problem. Computers today run with nanosecond accuracy.

3. Again on the metallic hydrogen: it probably will turn into plasma (but as a metal, it is already kinda like that). Even the better! Think, a plasma as dense as copper, at 40 million K, and 200 million atm! If this can't fuse, what can?

4. About starting with a plasma: This is actually a subtle point (nothing material yet, just conjecture). There are two advantages of starting off with metallic hydro that I concieve:

4.a) Starting with a plasma is exactly what z-pinch does. The idea is to compress the fuel adiabatically so that it heats. Problem (and as a Mechanical Engineer am sure you will understand): Much of compression energy is turned into pressure instead of heat (sophomore thermodynamics).

4.b) If you implode a fuel, how can you use it to ignite more fuel? See, it implodes, recedes, so you can't bring more fuel to it. But if you compress first and then make it explode, heck! Maybe you'll create a small nova explosion!

5. E-bombs.. that's another possible problem. You are right, e-bomb is not cheap: about $100 a piece (no, I'm not mocking, that's expensive for one round), but there are e-bomb alikes that do not explode and are reusable. But I don't think those would last the neutron bombardment either. Nevertheless, I think that could be worked out somehow.

6. Precisely, this scheme also uses successive explosions, like in ICF. Target-EPFGC pairs are successively placed into the chamber. Each pair maybe around $500 so all I can do is to hope that the energy generated will be worth more.

7. No, I am not concieving of a Noah's ark or something, 1 mile acrosss (duh!). The explosions are about the same or just slightly bigger than the z-pinch (say 10 times bigger).

8. Yes, the reactor walls will be rusted and corroded in three months. Oh well, more work for the contractors. I don't have any solution to that and it's not only my problem, all fusion reactors have it.

9. Then again, why no one mentioned one of the most critical points? This one is from me: What if the hydrogen cooled down by contacting with the bullet/pressure pellet? This is the most critical question here, and I am yet to have an answer for that! See, I am not as unreasonably confident as you told. I will defend myself against my question too though: The pulse is so fast that there is no time for heat loss through conduction / convection / radiation. Fingers crossed.

See, this was a lot more fun. This is what I was talking about!
-- xkuntay, Jan 02 2009

Thanks for the buns. I actually did some further thinking and calculations, and it turns out the cooling of the fuel by conduction is a problem! No wonder they talk about 'confinement'! But I am not done yet! There still is a solution! The bullet can impact the target in the air. The target holder could be in a ring shape and light, while the fuel will be plenty (this will make it different than that tried at LLNL). Another possible scheme: two bullets are fired and hit the target simultaneously (but that may be difficult). Any way, if the target holder is not massive, and the fuel is plenty, it can still work. It must!
-- xkuntay, Jan 02 2009

Maybe [bungston] got it down; the bullet could be uranium too so that once it hits, it's gone! Pouf! And there is no conduction. For those who would complain about pollution, the alternative would be nitroglycerine. Does anyone see a flaw in that?
-- xkuntay, Jan 02 2009

[bungston], I don't respond to every mention of my name, but if the topic is interesting....

I recently published a hypothesis regarding Cold Fusion, and one of the aspect of the idea is that pure metallic deuterium might be inherently nuclearly explosive in a "catalyzed" way, somewhat different from pure U-235 or Pu-239. So, a chunk of frozen-solid deuterium, surrounded by enough conventional explosives to compress it to the metallic state, but no farther, could hypothetically lead to a nice fusion blast. The more frozen deuterium you start with, the bigger the blast. No EMP assisstance needed.

A nuclear blast is actually not an efficient way to generate an EMP. It's just that so much energy is released that even the small portion that appears as EMP is still a large absolute quantity. Anyway, when you want a large LOCAL EMP, it is probably hugely more efficient and less expensive to design and build a special pulse generator, powered by a large bank of capacitors.

The coin you described should probably be a ring instead. To the extent that the EMP causes a "pinch effect" that turns the metallic hydrogen into a dense plasma and sqeezes the plasma, only a ring-shaped part of the coin would be affected, so no need to waste effort cycling fuel through the system that doesn't get used. When small quantites of fuel are used, not enough fusions happen to "burn" a lot of fuel outside the initiation zone. That both helps make it safe and makes it difficult to "break even" in terms of energy-in (to start it) and energy-out (from the reaction).
-- Vernon, Jan 03 2009

[xkuntay], your plans of fusion by controlled miniature explosion is somewhat similar to mine that I have conceived in my college years but with a major twist. I was musing about a helical magnetic flux (whether it can be done in the first place) to play a major role in particle acceleration. Now, I am very glad you brought this up in this multifaceted forum summoning up the best minds to come up with unbridled outlandish one-and-only solutions that work best. Please bear with me for I am only a simple mechanical engineer who delve too far in the realm of physicists without the necessary talent and mathematics for a conclusive investigation. It was just done out of curiosity and sheer futuristic active imagination that a youthful mind can bring and be immersed into.

We have similar opinion about the future of current fusion technologies that they would not be practically available soon when pitied against a controlled explosion method. Well, that was just my educated hunch since I have conceptualized a more robust particle accelerator. Now, having read your plans to employ EPFCG on highly compressed hydrogen, I felt a feasible fusion with controlled explosions is very close at hand.

It was long time ago I have conceptualized a very short particle accelerator and I may have forgotten some details of it. Hope this might interest you into developing your plans into reality as I believe, with our sheer wholehearted collaboration for further refinement, these conceptual plans might help a little bit.

We all know that particle accelerators can achieve nuclear fusion. One big hindrance is that the facility is so enormous and energy intensive that fusion would be too impractical and far from even achieving a breakeven point. My solution is to build up a betatron technology with a simple twist, instead of having a linear magnetic flux subjected to the revolving charged particles, the magnetic flux is twisted linearly like a regular coil spring by shaped electromagnetic coils such that the charged particles can travel linearly, traversing the magnetic flux. As with the regular betatron accelerator, the magnetic flux is increased so that the particle would accelerate. One huge advantage in this setup is that the accelerated particles would not anymore be subjected to centrifugal force, such that the magnetic flux can now be rapidly increased than normal with the help of supercapacitors. Aside from increasing the magnetic flux, the magnetic flux downstream is already intensified. In this manner, the particle is rapidly energized in a much shorter distance and duration, keeping the infrastructure and energy consumption minimal compared to ordinary particle accelerators. It will then be possible to place the particle accelerator vertically in a tall building having a fusion-reaction underground chamber.

Another advantage is that, since the particle accelerator is made up of shaped electromagnet, the whole barrel can double as electromagnetic propulsion of metallic bullet that may effectively shock a hydrogen pellet into metallic transformation.

Now, having built such compact linear particle accelerator, we can now proceed into muon generator out of it. Muon particles are collected out of energetic collisions then redirected to the rapidly compressed supercooled hydrogen pellets by some shock means and the metallized hydrogen simultaneously zapped by electromagnetic wave that initiate further implosion aside from the initial surface fusion brought about by the muons. The more massive muons effectively replace the electrons such that a given two hydrogen nuclei can be brought much closer that a further electromagnetic zap can effectively fuse them into a helium atom, propelling the inner shell of the pellet inwards further intensifying the internal pressures similar to laser implosion technique to initiate fusion at the core. The still undecayed muon from the first fusion is liberated towards another set of hydrogen nuclei triggering another energetic fusion until its decay.

So, what do all of you think? Let us all know so we can hopefully baked this sooner and get rid of oil dependency, pollution and global warming.
-- rotary, Jan 03 2009

I remember shaping the bullet as a cylinder with tapered through hole in a shape of an hour glass. The inner sides would compress the outer shell of a magnetically suspended spherical hydrogen pellet while the exposed areas in front and back of the tapered hole serving as openings for energetic particle impingement. At that time, I never knew that hydrogen would behave like a metal upon such impact until I read this idea of yours including the most interesting implementation of E-bomb phenomena. At that time I was only imagining of the metal-ceramic composite (cermet) bullet would disintegrate together with the effect of the fusion explosion.
-- rotary, Jan 03 2009

[Vernon] , great to make your acquaintance, and great to have a guru of fusion over here! Thanks a lot for your comment. I have read several of your articles and when I read the Three Fusion Xr Variations again, I noticed that you already had the same concept 4 years ago, and it may well be that I read it before at some point and derived my ideas from yours.

As you told, there are zillions of different fusion techniques and all of them look promising, so the funding is distributing all across. I do sometimes feel inapropriate of a common engineer like me to take on such a subject, but I just can't help it. While there are so many alternatives, some experts and authorities seem to be so obstinate on their camps that they would rather do it million times than try something different. Such is the ITER, spending 10 billion dollars on a technology that has never ever achieved breakeven. How many companies could have been bailed out with all that money!

So, I feel we are on the same page in many ways. Your ideas are also a 'fusion' of two or more others. And here too my idea is very similar to your theta-pinch idea. Only, I am trying metallic hydrogen.

Your article on Cold Fusion is most intriguing. I would really want to read it. I'd appreciate if you posted a link if possible. It is very interesting that you suggested metallic deuterium could explode in a catalyzed way. Are there any theories or calculations behind it? If deuterium could be ignited with conventional explosives alone, no need to go further. That is essentially the only method to be pursued!

I would like to particularly thank you for mentioning conventional explosives. I did some research and yes, TNT can generate 24 MegaBars, more than enough to metallize hydrogen! Then we do not need the sandwich or bullet scheme any more and the device becomes extremely simple and inexpensive!

Assuming for the time being that explosives alone may not be enough to cause fusion, my revised Metallic Fusion then is as follows: Forget the super fast bullet. Make a ball of TNT and inject liquid hydrogen into its center.. Detonate it, and hit it with EMP. Now the problem is where to put the EMP device. Surely the pulse can travel, even through granite, but it oughta be as close to the target as possible. Here is my solution then:

The EPFGC also generates electric currents that are millions of amps (they say a lightening is like a spark next to it). The final loop of the EPFGC could be right inside the TNT ball. IF the timing could be done right, the final ring will explode at the same moment as the hydrogen became metallic. Here we need a bomb expert to tell us the right way to load the TNT.

Whether or not it would work, this device would cost $10,000 to test, not $10B!
-- xkuntay, Jan 03 2009

[rotary] Thanks for sharing your interesting idea. Sounds like another promising scheme. No need to be ashamed of being an engineer as we are all engineers here looks like (just kidding, but at least 3 so far). The accelerator could be of a lot of use. Using it to shock the hydrogen could be very effective. And your scheme with Muons would work. However, Muons are not so easily produced at this time, so that part of your idea is more towards the future.

When I read about Metallic Hydrogen, I immediately thought it could be used for fusion, I don't know why. Metallic Hydrogen, actually is nothing but a COLD PLASMA. It is a very very special case in nature. There is no other substance made up of a river of protons and electrons only! There has to be some way of making it fuse, if not EMP.

It really is hard to predict what happens in sudden blasts. Like in the Teller-Ulam bomb, the shell somehow does not melt after the primary. I really don't know how to simulate this. The speed is definitely way beyond CFD, while it may be too complicated for molecular simulations. Nevertheless, I think this whole heat transfer, pressure build-up thing could be fairly simulated using Monte-Carlo. Until this is done, there is no way of even predicting how it will fly. I still hold on to compression by explosives followed by compression by EMP.
-- xkuntay, Jan 04 2009

Heat Insulation for Plasma

Ok, I think this idea should be an ammendment to the original heading. The walls of the sapphire plates are lined with TNT so that when the hydrogen becomes plasma, it serves as a heat insulator. (Explanation: Upon impact, the TNT ignites generating pressures even higher than that of the bullet's impact [yes I went back to the bullet design], thus pushing the sapphire plates farther away from the hydrogen core. Alternatively, we could squeez liquid hydrogen between TNT and ignite, but I am just afraid of Rayleigh–Taylor instabilities.)
-- xkuntay, Jan 05 2009

//made up of a river of protons and electrons only/

Hold up one cotton picking miniute. I had at least assumed you were talking about deuterium/tritium fusion, or possibly deutirium/deutirium fusion. Protinium/protinium fusion is, IIRC much much harder to initiate (and has less specific yield IIRC).

Think about a fusion event as a kinematic problem for a minute. Imagine to protons approaching each other. They have a given momentum (massXvelocity) and the repulsive force is proportional to the charge they carry.

Compare to a, say deutirium deutirium event. If the gas temperature is the same, the ratio of momentum to charge is roughly double, or at least much higher (breakdown of the kinetic gas theory comes into effect here, I'm fuzzy enough on the subject that I'd want to read further before I said it was exactly double, or not as I suspect it isn't double at all). Therefore for a given temperature, the particles have a greater chance of getting closer together if the neutron/proton ratio is higher. Ergo, initiation temperature is much lower with the more massive hydrogen isotopes. Obviously there are other competing factors as well, as dictated by nuclear chemistry in terms of which fusion variants are prefferable. IIRC purely proton fusion is hard to achieve, much lower yield, and I think has more harmful radiation (gammas I think).

[I will note here that I did most of my fusion research a number of years ago. If someone has a better read on the above, please feel free to correct me]
-- Custardguts, Jan 05 2009

[Custardguts] Yes, you are right. D-T fusion is easier than P-P. Good thing is D can also become metallic (in which case it is a river of protons, neutrons and electrons only), but I don't know about T.
-- xkuntay, Jan 06 2009

[Custardguts], just being nitpicky, but the name for the simplest hydrogen atom is "protium".

[xkuntay], while metallic ordinary hydrogen would be made of protons and electrons only, metallic deuterium would be made up of deuterons and electrons only. The proton and neutron inside a deuterium nucleus will stay together. Metallic tritium should be just as possible as the others, although likely dangerously radioactive, because of the sheer quantity of unstable atoms in one place, needed to make a metal out of it. Also, since the result of tritium decay is helium-3, every decayed atom, at random places throughout this piece of metal, would sort-of "pop out" of the metallic matrix as a gas atom, fairly quickly leading to the destruction of the piece of metal. (HALF of all those tritium atoms would decay in 12 years; 1/4 in 6 years, 1/8 in 3 years, and so on.)
-- Vernon, Jan 06 2009

Hey! What happened to my anno?
-- coprocephalous, Jan 07 2009

//Hey! What happened to my anno?// Maybe you forgot to hit ok or maybe it got filtered, c-clamp.
-- xkuntay, Jan 07 2009

//or maybe it got filtered//
I didn't know the HB did that.
-- coprocephalous, Jan 07 2009

//I didn't know the HB did that.// Just random quantum tunneling, when an anno is bordering offence.
-- xkuntay, Jan 07 2009

So you post wildly a speculative fusion scheme, complete with dubious and outright incorrect claims, and are prepared to be sensitive about the content of comments people post?

-- Custardguts, Jan 08 2009

//dubious and outright incorrect claims// dubious maybe but incorrect is yet to be proven. Had you proven it? I don't recall. Everyone can make comments within the terms & conditions. Which ones? Why, the common t&c of democratic self-expression. Rudeness is fine, polluting is not. Anyway, I'm not sensitive, just like clicking buttons sometimes.

And back to business. Introducing Lawson Criteria:


i.e. "triple product" of density, temperature, and confinement time. Now please do tell me how my wild speculations are outright incorrect. Or you don't believe in QM?
-- xkuntay, Jan 08 2009

//But what can heat up a coin shaped specimen up to 40 million K?? Answer is EPFCG a.k.a. E-Bomb! // - I suspect this wild speculation is incorrect. I certainly suspect that it is wildly impractical.

//there would be 100MA currents in circles in the coin for at least 1 microsecond// Are you sure>? 100 million amps for a microsecond? Given the radial dispersion of the energy from the "E-bomb", this will of course be subject to proximity to the core of, as well as the power of your "e-bomb". I suspect that you'll have trouble.

//If we are talking about 1 mg of hydrogen, that's enough to make it fuse// Maybe you're right here. I haven't bothered checking your numbers, in fact I don't know the resistivity of "metallic hydrogen" so I'd have trouble putting boundary limits on my equations, even to try to determine what energy you're imparting to the hydrogen, let alone working out what the peak temperature might be. And from there it'd be a highly nonlinear computational problem to try to determine what density, you reach, let alone looking at inertial effects to see if you can reach this "tripple product" you talk about to determine if fusion will occor. I suspect these are all highly iterative calculations anyways, so I'd have to pop by CERN or someone to borrow their computational models to have a chance of seeing if fusion is possible. Licking your thumb and waving it about, claiming that "you must get fusion if we E-BOMB it" is hardly confirmation that fusion will occor.

Nothing wrong with speculating, that's what this site is all about. It's just when people blur the lines between "I reckon that's about right" or "it should work" with "it'll definitely work and is the only practical solution" that gets my goat. Certainly when they get defensive of criticism.
-- Custardguts, Jan 08 2009

//when an anno is bordering offence//
sp. "offensive".
You infer (and I note you've post-edited your anno) that everyone at the HB seems to be an engineer, and get upset when I gently (well, gently for me) point out that this may not be the case, and then take offence at my anno?
As [custardguts] so beautifully put it - Sheeesh.
-- coprocephalous, Jan 08 2009

I didn't say everyone in HB, I said under this topic. Sheesh.
-- xkuntay, Jan 08 2009

[Custardguts] Good, very good. Making progress here! //this wild speculation is incorrect. I certainly suspect that it is wildly impractical// Why? Look at the facts: EPFCG can generate a field strength of 2 × 10^6 gauss (200 T). Isn't that a lot? [Sheeesh]

//Given the radial dispersion of the energy// Radial! That's right. So, if the target is 1 inch away from the EPFCG? Okay, 1/4 inch then! //I suspect you'll have trouble// Yeah, that is the fun of it. If it's too easy everyone will do it.

If they give you hard time at CERN, I'll give them a call. We'll get you the biggest computer there.

Nothing will work until it works. Speculation, yes, but should be at least good enough for a bun.
-- xkuntay, Jan 08 2009

Having had a closer look at these EPFCG's of yours (yes, it's just a version of the "pinch"), I suppose I'm wondering whereabouts you're putting this "hydrogen coin" relative to the device. The induced currents they are talking about are all internal, as are the magnetic flux densities. Once again, this is an issue of practicality. Are you putting your hydrogen *inside* the core of the EPFCG, somehow hitting it with your magic bullet to make it metal, then triggering the EPFCG? I assume this is your intention, anyways.

What I mean by this is the EPFCG is clad in explosives. Your hydrogen core simply can't get very close to the source of the magnetic field unless it starts off inside. If it does start off inside, I think you'll have trouble hitting it how you want to with your bullet.

Lastly, if any of this turns out to be even remotely feasible, which I still doubt, you're more talking about a portable, non-fission initiated thermonuclear device. There are several international treaties banning development on this, probably the most relevant being the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.
-- Custardguts, Jan 08 2009

Nice research! Wikipedia is a great invention isn't it? ;-) I must admit I learned a lot from it too.
-- xkuntay, Jan 09 2009

Once again, for the record, if you ionise, or heat, the hydrogen to a plasma state, it becomes conductive. This is a well established and very well understood phenomena, and is exactly how your fluorescent lights work. I don't know so much <or anything?> about the other electromagnetic properties of a plasma.

Focus: Do you really need the hydrogen to be metallic in the first place? Does this idea hinge on the metallic phase of hydrogen, or will it be easier to put a pellet of lithium deuteride at the focal point of this EPCFG, copupled with an x-ray source for initial ionisation, or some other such scheme?
-- Custardguts, Jan 09 2009

Oh yeah, I find it never helps to put all of your eggs in the wiki basket....
-- Custardguts, Jan 09 2009

[Custardguts] I like the lithium deuteride at focal point with x-ray ionization scheme. That could solve the problem of heat loss through contact, i.e. confinement. But again my wiki basket has a hole for that because it says lithium deuteride ignition requires 2 billion K. I am so mad at wiki sometimes, but hell it is virtually always right.

Then again, your scheme brings about some interesting possibilities. What about actually using Lithium aluminium hydride as a target? This alloy is still conductive and when heated to 400 K will release its hydrogen. How about we make the whole thing a ring and hit it with EMP in a vacuum chamber? If it reached 100 million K, it may ignite. The only knife hanging there is the impurity of the hydrogen. Will the nuclei find each other and become one? Will they have little neutrons together? Or will the devilish electrons interfere? The soap opera goes on.

Well, thanks for the constructive criticism I should say.
-- xkuntay, Jan 09 2009

At any rate, I am glad that you now believe in the EPFGC. (The inventors of this should be grateful to me for being such an advocate.) But I have good reasons to promote this: 1. An electromagnetic pulse would be independent of a circuit. If it is done on a plasma, even if the plasma is broken into blobs it will push the particles right and left. 2. Although the cheapest is with explosives, EPFGC does not need to be destructive. There are versions that are totally electrical (ever watched Ocean 12?) 3. In Z-machine you lose significant energy by energizing metal devices around. Furthermore, you spend a lot of energy for imploding those steel cables. Overall it has a lot of loss.
-- xkuntay, Jan 09 2009

I highly suspect about an unexpected side reaction that severely hinders earthly fusion experiments. I don't know if anyone reported this or not, but I think it is a major issue. The issue is this:

We know that collision of two protons, or just two particles of same charge is highly unlikely. On the other hand, collision of an electron with a proton should be likely as hell. Isn't it so? That means in any fusion experiment it is highly likely to have proton-electron fusions that will result in massive amounts of neutrons. I wonder how on earth this has not been reported yet!
-- xkuntay, Jan 10 2009

[xkuntay], electrons do not "feel" the Strong Nuclear Force. They cannot fuse like protons and/or neutrons. Note that in the Sun, one part of the overall fusion reaction cycle involves two protons only, nuclei of ordinary hydrogen atoms. When they experience enough temperature and pressure to overcome their mutual electrostatic repulsion, the Strong Force takes over, and drags them together. In the process one proton becomes a neutron by spitting out a positron (and a neutrino); the result of this fusion is a deuterium nucleus.

Electrons and protons CAN do a kind of "fusion" via the Weak Nuclear Force. This force is something like one ten-billionth as strong as the electric force that would let protons and electrons approach each other closely, so it just doesn't show up very often. Yes, when it does, the result is a neutron (and a neutrino).

Also, there has to be some energy ADDED for this to happen, the mass of the neutron is greater than the sum of the mass of the proton and the electron. That's why it is normal for a lone neutron to decay in about 12 minutes into a proton and an electron (and a neutrino). Decay is a downhill reaction, "fusion" is uphill, in this particular case.

Finally, remember that normally, most of the time when electrons and protons approach each other, the electron simply goes into orbit about the proton, and never gets any closer than some thousands of times the diameter of the proton. Thus we normally get hydrogen atoms, not neutrons.
-- Vernon, Jan 10 2009

I correlate the way that electrons don't just bind up with protons, to being the same as why planets, asteroids, comets, etc don't just fall into suns. It's all about angular momentum. If there is any off-vector velocity at all at your starting point, two mutually attracted bodies won't get to come into contact. They will be too busy orbiting one another. Likewise, I wonder if this effect is relevant in proton/electron interaction?
-- Custardguts, Jan 10 2009

[Vernon] Thanks for the explanation. That makes sense. Although I read that the required energy for e-P fusion is about 1000 keV, the Weak-Force explains somewhat why it does not happen often. I am quite relived! In that case, it may be possible to use a Metal Hydride for fusion, is not that right? With a M-Hydride plasma, all we do is actually introduce a bunch of electrons and two huge metal nuclei. By basic probability, say if a proton meets the right proton in 1 in a million, with 2 more foreign particles in there it will be 1 in 3 million. Not too bad!

[Custardguts] That is an fun example. However, it is very dangerous to apply classical thinking to particles. The reality is, electrons have two states with a proton: scatter (E>0) or bound (E<0); yes there is negative energy somehow. So, if they are scatter, they simply hit each other, if they are bound, the electron never gets close to the proton.
-- xkuntay, Jan 10 2009

[Custardguts] Thinking over, I think your LiD scheme might work. Maybe Li and D won't fuse but the D's might.
-- xkuntay, Jan 10 2009

Lithium Deuteride is the hydrogen delivery system used in Thermonuclear weapons, or at least it is the primary one anyhow. I figure they chose it for good reasons.

I wasn't suggesting that the planets/suns analogy directly relates to electrons vs protons. I was just pointing out the newtonian result of two mutually attracted bodies [one much more massive than the other] coming together with nonzero off-axial velocity in a relatively low friction environment. Which is, that you get one orbiting the other, and if the velocity is large enough, they won't ever get very close to one another. I think the concept is at least relevant, if not important, when thinking about proton/electron interaction.
-- Custardguts, Jan 10 2009

[Custardguts] Either way, it was a good call. I hadn't thought of LiD until you told it. Now you can get a part of the Nobel!

Having said that, please make sure not to use the term orbiting and electron in the same sentence. If the Underground Phyicists Society finds it out, they'll blacklist us and we can't get a dime! Especially be careful to those in brown uniform, you know them.
-- xkuntay, Jan 11 2009

Oh, bollocks. I'm all for wave-particle duality, and it'll take a lot more than a series of vague-probability based mumblings to sway me from my firmly newtonian beleifs.

Did I say I was a mechanical engineer, not a quantum physicist? I like solid, law abiding particles, not vague, ephemerial probability clouds.
-- Custardguts, Jan 11 2009

[Custardguts], perhaps it would help if you continued to think of a particle as truly being particulate, but its POSITION is what can be random. That is, the "cloud" is the set of possible locations for the particle. If you think of Space itself as being quantized, then that set of positions cannot be an infinite set. It is limited by the range that the particle can randomly jump around (wavelength of particle, per the duality), and there is some maximum number of Space-quanta within that range, surrounding the "most probable" location of the particle. OK?
-- Vernon, Jan 11 2009

Yeah, cheers, I mean I have read the theory, I know <or have known> the why's. To me, it's still a particle, that just so happens to be moving very very fast, in an environment where the forces involved are enormously out of proportion to mass (near instantaneous acceleration/ deceleration), and where the wavelike behaviour of a particle is highly relevant.

It's the blur between "we can't possibly know where it is" and "it isn't actually in any fixed position at any time" that gets me, and I was never satisfied with the explanation.

To me, the uncertainty principle is all about "we can't possibly accurately measure position and velocity at the same time, so we use probablity to deal wioth it" not "we can't possibly measure position and veliocity at the same time, therefore we're going to pretend that neither property really exists". And it pisses me off.

But like I said, I'm a mecho, so I'm all about quantifiable properties.
-- Custardguts, Jan 11 2009

Duude, I think we should change the subject. We are awfully derailed here and I hold myself to blame for most part. As long as electron does not interfere with the scheme, it can be the tip of a needle in 6th dimension for all that matters. I am also an engineer, so I say: let us assume using e-bomb on LiD makes energy. Want to know if it holds? Then let us make it and test it! For I say, until I hear the boom I will assume.
-- xkuntay, Jan 12 2009

[Custardguts], supposedly you know that quantum randomness is a consequence of the Uncertainty Principle, but perhaps one aspect of it was not properly explained? The reason we can't accurately measure both position and momentum of a particle at the same time is because the process of making either measurement always distorts the other measurement. There have been many attempts to think of a way of doing both measurements simultaneously to arbitrary accuracy, and every single proposed method has always been found to have a flaw in it. Even Einstein tried and failed.

In one sense, the final nail in that coffin is the Bell Inequality experiments. If there was a way to make the desired measurements, then it would be connected to some so-far-unobserved phenomena underlying Quantum Mechanics, which are typically known as "hidden variables". Things QM says are totally random would not actually be that. The Bell Inequality is a kind of equation that revealed a difference, a way to detect whether or not QM randomness was real, or was a pseudorandom consequence of hidden variables.

ALL the different varieties of Bell Inequality experiments ever performed unequivocally support QM randomness. This can therefore be taken to mean that we have experimental evidence that it is not possible even in theory, to simultaneously measure both the position and the momentum of a particle beyond a certain amount of accuracy (related to Planck's Constant).

Please don't be mad about it. It's ineffectual in this case....:)
-- Vernon, Jan 12 2009

Okay, well you obliged me to comment on your QM discussion here. I am particularly upset about the interpretation of the uncertainty principle. IMO that is what makes QM so difficult to understand. And is it Heisenberg who is to blame?

The uncertainty principle is definitely not the cause but the result of the wave function. It has nothing to do with measurements (I know a lot of books tell it is!). As a direct result of probability density and wave function, certain observables are incompatible with each other. This does not mean you cannot measure both! It means, if one variable has small 'fluctuation' (the term I use for probability), then the other variable has to have a large 'fluctuation'. See, I think it as a slot machine and it helps. There is a chance of getting the particle here or there. But it is the speed of the slot machine wheel that makes it more or less likely.

Read David Griffith's Introduction to Quantum Mechanics when you get a chace. It is by far the best book ever on QM.
-- xkuntay, Jan 12 2009

You're missing my point. I propose that at any given instant, an electron has a fixed position and velocity. It's just that there is no way to measure both. That's nice, I can deal with the fact that we can't simultaneously measure both, and that therefore we need to use probability functions, etc to deal with it.

It's the suggestion that the electron is somehow behaving in some special way, and doesn't really exist at a fixed location that gets me. I think people get mixed up between the reality of the situation, and the mathematics we use to deal with it.

It's the same for the schrodinger cat experiment. Just because we have no way of knowing whether the cat is dead until we open the box, does not mean that there is something special going on, and that the cat is both dead and alive at the same time. It's just that we *can't* know. I'm fine with that, but don't tell me that the cat is both dead and alive, that's bullshit.
-- Custardguts, Jan 12 2009

Oh no, please do not bring that cat into this discussion. It has nothing to do with it, that poor cat. The bullet is not an electron and the cat is not a robot. And there are animal rights nowadays, you can't shoot a cat like that. What QM is saying is that if you put an electron at the corner of your room, you know it is there in the corner. But actually, it may be in your hand too. Even though there is a billionth of a chance, that electron is in your hand. And if that small chance occurs, you open your fist and there it is, the electron you put in the corner of your room. In short, nothing is crisp and clean, but a blur. The larger the picture you look at, the crisper it looks, the smaller you get, the blurier it gets. It is life, it is how we are made. Ain't that a miracle!

But I understand you too mecho. Being in a department with no girls for 4 years, one in bound to become a thick head. I've got an older brother who is a mecho as well, and a thick head all the same.
-- xkuntay, Jan 12 2009

[xkuntay], I did not say you could not measure both; I said you could not measure both ACCURATELY AT THE SAME TIME (where "accurately" was intended to mean "perfectly accurately"). And I do tend to agree that the Uncertainty Principle can be interpreted as a consequence; Physics is a set of DESCRIPTIONS, after all, and there is no doubt that the U.P. describes something. However, please remember that without the U.P. as a guideline, we would not have had much reason to deduce Quantum Randomness. In THAT sense the U.P. is the cause of Q.R. description, if not the cause of the thing being described.

[Custardguts], what you wrote about the position and momentum of a particle can only be instantaneously true. In the next instant, either or both of those values can be different. A Newtonian Mechanic might not like this situation, prefering the First Law of Motion to rule the default behavior of all things, but a Quantum Mechanic has to accept that Newton's Laws have their limitations.

On the other hand, I do know of a Q.M. scenario which does not need to throw Newton's concepts away. This scenario starts with the "quantum foam", all those virtual particles spontaneously popping into temporary existence and vanishing almost immediately. This activity happens everywhere and all the time. And it is known that virtual particles can interact with ordinary particles.

The net result is, you can picture your chosen particle as behaving in perfectly Newtonian fashion as long as you exclude its interactions with virtual particles. It is those interactions which shove your particle this way and that, always giving it different position- and momentum-values, in accordance with Newton's Second and Third Laws, AND in accordance with the U.P.

Okay? (see link for more details)
-- Vernon, Jan 13 2009

I think the theory does not prohibit you from measuring both observables at once, but one of the measurements would not make sense.
-- xkuntay, Jan 13 2009

The way I understood it is it's all about the fact that taking a measurement exerts some affect onto the thing you're measuring, ie you need to hit a particle with a photon in order to "see" it. The way I had it is you can't instantaneously measure both position and momentum at the same time.

... Okay, from the wiki Heisenburg Uncertainty page... "..values of certain pairs of conjugate variables (position and momentum, for instance) cannot both be known with arbitrary precision. That is, the more precisely one variable is known, the less precisely the other is known."

... It goes on to say a lot of things I need to catch up on, anyhows, just going to show how much I like to go off half cocked. At this point I'll butt out, thanks for the banter...
-- Custardguts, Jan 13 2009

[Custardguts] No prob. ;-) Good wiki research. Very well put there. The more precise a variable is known, the less the other one is known. Not perfect but good. I think perfect way to put it would be: 'One variable fluctuates little while the other fluctuates more.' But the general reality is, the product of their mean square divergence is less than the constant h/2. That is all it is, and they can both be measured at the same time with 'moderate' precision.
-- xkuntay, Jan 14 2009

I used to be on the same boat as you, looking for a good source of QM. Everyone seemed to ramble about it and all were part of a puzzle. Then I found Griffith's and my problems went away. I would reccomend Griffith's to anyone suffering from QM pain. On the other hand, the idea supposed to be discussed here, Metallic Fusion has nothing to do with my studies. Let's return to the main question: Hitting LiD with EMP, go or no go? I would say, go! Why not?
-- xkuntay, Jan 14 2009

It occurs to me that LiD is a chemical compound, and thus is unlikely to be a good electrical conductor, yet it's nature is such that very high pressure might turn it into a metallic state. Then we are even-more-back to the original Idea posted here, heh.
-- Vernon, Jan 14 2009

[Vernon], yes indeed. Good point. It is not exactly a conductor. Yet, it is like a salt, and all salts conduct when molten. I think we may be able to melt it first like Costardguts told with x-rays. If this fails, then we may put it inside a tube of a material that has high melting point and heat the whole thing up to 1000 F. Then we hit it. Advantage over metallic hydrogen is, you don't need contact, can hit it in free fall.
-- xkuntay, Jan 15 2009

I have something new to add to the idea. Please do not think I am just trying to get it highlighted. It occured to me suddenly. Can the bullet and the target have very thin magnet linings so that right after impact they are separated? I thought there may still be some hope for the idea. Anyone got some buns to spare, please? I need some carbohydrate.
-- xkuntay, Jan 22 2009

random, halfbakery