LPP Fusion working to reduce impurities and scale the electrode based nuclear fusion from their dense plasma. LPP Fusion has received another $200,000 of funding from the Abell Foundation.
LPPFusion’s lab team has completed the mechanical repair and reinforcement of the tungsten cathode. The first and most difficult step was to apply the fiber-epoxy composite around the broken rim of the cathode. The purpose of applying the composite was to provide strong inward pressure on the cathode to close up micro-cracks that could impede the flow of current during FF-1 shots. The fiber, a thick nylon thread, was stretched to provide the inward force, while the epoxy adhesive fixed the fiber in place. The problem was the irregular broken surface that we were repairing produced forces that pushed the thread up or down as we were winding it around the rim. In a painstaking task, LPPFusion CIO Ivy Karamtisos guided the thread during many hours of winding to maximize the number of windings and to prevent the fiber form slipping off.
To maintain a constant tension but to avoid breaking the thread, LPPFusion Chief Scientist Eric Lerner monitored the tension with a torque meter (a mechanical device that measures the torque or twisting force on an axel or spool). We checked the torque meter by monitoring how much the fiber was stretching and by noting when the pull was enough to overcome the friction in the turntable that the cathode was resting on. Since we had to let the epoxy dry for a day between each layer of fiber, this critical step was quite time consuming.
As a result of this effort, we were able to stretch the fiber by an average of 18% in length so that with 34 windings round the cathode, in seven layers of fiber, we generated 350 psi of inward pressure. The micro cracks visibly closed up and 80% of the length of cracks ceased to be a significant obstacle to the current—something that we checked with a micro-ohmmeter, an instrument that can measure extremely small resistance to electric current.
Plasma Focus Progress graph prepared for The Abell Foundation shows that by greatly reducing impurities in the plasma it will boost fusion yield back onto the scaling line that leads to the condition needed for net energy production
The next step will be to apply indium to bridge over the remaining 3 cm of micro-cracks, thus providing a safe path for the current in this region. Then the brace and cathode will be bolted onto the steel connection plate. At that point we will be able to proceed to the final reassembly of FF-1 and continue our important set of experiments.
LPP Fusion is running about three to four months behind the 2015 schedule from the beginning of the year
LPP Fusion is a bit behind schedule due to the problems with the electrode but the additional funding will cover the costs to get them to through the targeted work.
LPP Fusion Plans for 2015:
As in previous years we emphasize that our plans require adequate financing. They also depend
on critical suppliers coming through on time and within specifications. However we are confident
that the tungsten cathode will arrive soon, and we are planning a backup monolithic copper
cathode as well. Our main goal for this year remains to increase the density of the plasmoid, the
tiny ball of plasma where reactions take place, the third and last condition needed to achieve net
1. We will complete our computer upgrade and the creation of our Processed Data Base, a powerful
tool for analyzing our data.
2. We will install our new tungsten electrode and perform experiments that we expect will
a) Increase density about 100-fold to around 40 milligrams/ cm³
b) Increase yield more than 100- fold to above 15 J
c) Demonstrate the effect of the axial field coil
d) Demonstrate the positive effects of mixing in somewhat heavier gases, such as nitrogen
The freshly machined tungsten cathode, shown here in THP’s San Diego facility, that will be used in the new experiments
The critical tungsten monolithic cathode, key to LPPFusion’s next set of experiments, has finally been completed and shipped. It arrived at Tungsten Heavy Powder headquarters in San Diego, California on Monday, Feb.23 from their manufacturing facilities in China. It is expected to arrive at LPPFusion’s Middlesex, NJ laboratory around March 2. “For a long time, this cathode has been in the future,” said LPPFusion Chief Scientist Eric Lerner,” and the future has finally arrived.” As described in the December LPP Focus Fusion report the great difficulty of manufacturing the part from pure tungsten to exacting requirements caused long delays, which have now ended.
Preparations for the new experiments have continued, with a successful test of the new adjustors. With the aluminum model standing in for the tungsten cathode, Lerner, Chief Research Officer Hamid Yousefi and Consulting Engineer Anthony Ellis succeeded in using the micrometer adjustors to center the cathode on the anode to an accuracy of 25 microns (one thousandth of an inch). In addition, a new gantry has been purchased and will be installed to help handle the tungsten cathode, whose concentrated 35 kg mass makes it too difficult to lift and position manually.
1. Move to shorter electrodes
1. Implement our improved connections and demonstrate peak currents above 2 MA
2. Increase density to over 0.1 grams/cm³
1. Move to beryllium electrodes, or at least beryllium anode, which will be needed as x-ray emission increases so much that tungsten electrodes would be cracked by the heat absorbed. Beryllium is far more transparent to x-rays.
2. Demonstrate density over 1 gram/ cm³
3. Demonstrate billion-Gauss magnetic fields
4. Demonstrate the quantum magnetic field effect with these billion-Gauss magnetic fields; show its ability to prevent plasmoid cooling caused by x-rays, making possible the net energy burning of pB11 fuel.
5. Install new equipment and begin running with pB11 mixes
Summary of Lawrenceville Plasma Physics
LPP needed to get their Tungsten electrode and then later switch to a berrylium electrode.
If successful with their research and then commercialization they will achieve commercial nuclear fusion at the cost of $400,000-1 million for a 5 megawatt generator that would produce power for about 0.3 cents per kwh instead of 6 cents per kwh for coal and natural gas.
LPP’s mission is the development of a new environmentally safe, clean, cheap and unlimited energy source based on hydrogen-boron fusion and the dense plasma focus device, a combination we call Focus Fusion.
This work was initially funded by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is now backed by over forty private investors including the Abell Foundation of Baltimore. LPP’s patented technology and peer-reviewed science are guiding the design of this technology for this virtually unlimited source of clean energy that can be significantly cheaper than any other energy sources currently in use. Non-exclusive licenses to government agencies and manufacturing partners will aim to ensure rapid adoption of Focus Fusion generators as the primary source of electrical power worldwide.
SOURCES – LPP Fusion
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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