Aviation Week on the Lockheed Skunkworks CFR

Point out news stories, on the net or in mainstream media, related to polywell fusion.

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crowberry
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Re: Aviation Week on the Lockheed Skunkworks CFR

Postby crowberry » Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:07 pm

ladajo wrote:I heard something similar.
The (LM) approach is reportedly not well received by community plasma physicists. I have heard that the concensus is they have a ways to go beyond glossy photos of shiny stuff.


To judge the LM concept one should wait until LM publishes something on their results next year. To condemn or praise the concept is a bit too early now without any data on their current prototype. It is also difficult to distinguish the potential performance of any concept from the limitations of any given prototype.

One nice thing with the LM announcement is that it has given much more publicity and credibility to the other privately funded fusion companies.

choff
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Re: Aviation Week on the Lockheed Skunkworks CFR

Postby choff » Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:35 pm

The lead engineer is a genuinely legit researcher, I don't believe he would get himself involved in something that wasn't a serious effort. That said, the design is a bit of a puzzle and requires more published material.
CHoff

ladajo
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Re: Aviation Week on the Lockheed Skunkworks CFR

Postby ladajo » Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:45 am

I am not judging the concept. I am merely reporting what I heard from a reputable source. LM has presented to some core players in the plasma physics community. The reported concensus is that the project is very immature, and not yet addressing some key concerns. I wasn't in the conversation, I was only told about it.
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)
What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

choff
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Re: Aviation Week on the Lockheed Skunkworks CFR

Postby choff » Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:19 am

Or it works a little too well for people with rice bowls to protect, time will tell.
CHoff

Solo
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Re: Aviation Week on the Lockheed Skunkworks CFR

Postby Solo » Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:08 pm

lajado: precisely. One senior professor remarked (and I wish I could find the reference now :( ) that the design seemed to be ignoring some fundamental plasma physics, but that it is difficult to tell anything from the limited amount of information. Evidently, McGuire's thesis was on a topic somewhat remote from actual experiments with magnetic plasma confinement, which might lead one to suspect that he could overlook something important. I think it would benefit his project a great deal from a thorough vetting by the community. The concept is not totally without historical precursors, and some folks out there may be able to advise him on what is already known to work or not.

Robthebob
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Re: Aviation Week on the Lockheed Skunkworks CFR

Postby Robthebob » Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:45 am

Have their machine gotten to high beta yet? If they can't get it to high beta, it will not work.
Throwing my life away for this whole Fusion mess.

AcesHigh
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Re: Aviation Week on the Lockheed Skunkworks CFR

Postby AcesHigh » Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:36 am

ladajo wrote: LM has presented to some core players in the plasma physics community. The reported concensus is that the project is very immature, and not yet addressing some key concerns.


yes, it absolutely ignores the concerns of people involved in Tokamaks about their jobs. :lol:

Robthebob
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Re: Aviation Week on the Lockheed Skunkworks CFR

Postby Robthebob » Sat Nov 15, 2014 5:52 pm

So I talked to a bird. I was told that the actual LM team havent actually made any insane outrageous claims (anymore than JYP have been making). The folks at APS were just going crazy without any good reasons.

The bird talked to Charles Chase, and he was very very realistic about the machine. Their major losses are electrons out of open field lines, into the support structure, etc.

What I thought was super insane is that Charles Chase apparently said the CFR doesnt need to rely on the WB effect. This pretty much blew my mind.
Throwing my life away for this whole Fusion mess.

mvanwink5
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Re: Aviation Week on the Lockheed Skunkworks CFR

Postby mvanwink5 » Sat Nov 15, 2014 6:11 pm

There are many promising projects and not one has dropped out due to hitting a plasma brick wall. So, funding is the key and many of the projects have adequate staged milestone based funding. All we need is for one of these projects to have a successful prototype.

It would be comforting if all the dark horse projects had at minimum adequate staged funding. Hoping EMC2 makes the funding breakthrough, I mean good grief, big e-guns to power the WB-8, how expensive can that be...? I can't believe the Navy didn't complete the project. :shock:
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

hanelyp
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Re: Aviation Week on the Lockheed Skunkworks CFR

Postby hanelyp » Sat Nov 15, 2014 10:23 pm

Robthebob wrote:The bird talked to Charles Chase, and he was very very realistic about the machine. Their major losses are electrons out of open field lines, into the support structure, etc.

To me that suggests the machine uses a polywell style potential well to contain ions. Otherwise ions would be escaping out the same ways electrons are. I will note that several of the simulations I've run based on the skunkworks configuration have developed a net negative charge on the plasma with nothing specific to introduce extra electrons. The ions just escaped faster until the charge differential developed.
The daylight is uncomfortably bright for eyes so long in the dark.

D Tibbets
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Re: Aviation Week on the Lockheed Skunkworks CFR

Postby D Tibbets » Sun Nov 16, 2014 1:40 am

hanelyp wrote:
Robthebob wrote:The bird talked to Charles Chase, and he was very very realistic about the machine. Their major losses are electrons out of open field lines, into the support structure, etc.

To me that suggests the machine uses a polywell style potential well to contain ions. Otherwise ions would be escaping out the same ways electrons are. I will note that several of the simulations I've run based on the skunkworks configuration have developed a net negative charge on the plasma with nothing specific to introduce extra electrons. The ions just escaped faster until the charge differential developed.


I have vacillated between thinking the Lockheed effort was a straight forward adaptation of core Polywell concepts, to seemingly confounding manipulations along lines that have proven failures in the past. The idea of Loffle bars, baseball seams, etc. The basic three ring narrow line cusp single center high Beta, potential well hints are all Polywell derived (either derived or developed in parallel), with the possible deviation from the polyhedral magnet arrangement. The effects are the same. The exchange for perhaps greater line cusp losses if there are significantly fewer point cusps available for losses may give similar final performance in the final volume, density versus loss picture. The additional external magnets to change the shape of the confined plasma and the line cusp escaped plasma seem to introduce poor edge stability conditions (concave fields), and offer substantial increased oppertunities for ExB diffusion issues. If these external flows are dedicated primarily to modestly improving recirculation of electrons, fine and good. If the additional magnets are to confine high density plasma, and flow it around magnets, then it seems fraught with know flaws.

If it is intended to function very similar to a Polywell, then significant proof of concept studies have already bene done. Perhaps the two most important is the deep potential well, and high Beta Wiffleball performance, with decoupling of ion and electron confinement modalities. There may be different design advantages- direct conversion may be simpler, and the choices for electron and ion/plasma injection may be modified. This last consideration seems to be the main challenge facing EMC2 currently.

Basically, most of the physics is the same but engineering and operational issues may be different. The interesting effect of converting the central B field null/ minimum from a dumbell to a point to a torus configuration might allow for some interesting (and useful?) oscillations in the core plasma. This combined with POPS considerations opens further windows and complexity- good for job security :) on plasma manipulations.

Dan Tibbets
To error is human... and I'm very human.

ladajo
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Re: Aviation Week on the Lockheed Skunkworks CFR

Postby ladajo » Sun Nov 16, 2014 5:06 pm

Robthebob wrote:So I talked to a bird. I was told that the actual LM team havent actually made any insane outrageous claims (anymore than JYP have been making). The folks at APS were just going crazy without any good reasons.

The bird talked to Charles Chase, and he was very very realistic about the machine. Their major losses are electrons out of open field lines, into the support structure, etc.

What I thought was super insane is that Charles Chase apparently said the CFR doesnt need to rely on the WB effect. This pretty much blew my mind.


This is more or less what I heard as well. If folks thought that what I said above inferred outrageous claims, that was not my intent. They are just not that far along and have some significant issues (as do others) to figure out. Some of the issues they may not even really know about yet.
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)

What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

RodCarlson
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Re: Aviation Week on the Lockheed Skunkworks CFR

Postby RodCarlson » Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:14 am

Ok decided to use COMSOL plasma physics to model the FEM model of the oscillating field coils. Also will look into NairnFEAMPMViz a MDM PIC FEM modeler, though it seems literature on how to use it isn't explicit. It may take a while to authorize a version of the COMSOL but will try my best as the graphics are very good at showing plasma motion and fields. Of course its a simplified model and doesn't take into account nonlinearities or high temperature plasma. But my goal here is to explain if a gridless accelerator is what Lockheed is aiming to achieve and I can do that very visually with these packages I hope.

Of course I'm going to not worry about what everyone says is impossible for now, and just focus on the propulsion technique I think Lockheed is attempting. Whether or not it creates fusion is a secondary thought, as I think what should first occur is that we have a fairly rough model in our head of what Lockheed plans to achieve with this new configuration. Then we can get more detailed if what they are trying to do is actually doable in terms of plasma and fusion.

Regards,
Rod

DeltaV
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Re: Aviation Week on the Lockheed Skunkworks CFR

Postby DeltaV » Mon Nov 17, 2014 4:17 pm

Robthebob wrote:What I thought was super insane is that Charles Chase apparently said the CFR doesnt need to rely on the WB effect. This pretty much blew my mind.

That suggests the dynamic field variations are being exploited as the primary compression mechanism (see my Oct 21 post on this thread).

A Polywell wiffleball can, in theory, be static. This, maybe not...

Maybe they are interlacing B field oscillations (coil currents) with E field oscillations (coil case potentials). The limiting factor for oscillation frequency is the inductive reactance of the coils, as MSimon pointed out years ago. The potentials can be varied much faster than the currents.

Use agile E to make up for sluggish B?
An E "holding action" on the speedy particles until the B "sledge hammer" can be dropped?

(Sorry for all the plasma physics jargon :\)

TallDave
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Re: Aviation Week on the Lockheed Skunkworks CFR

Postby TallDave » Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:06 pm

Solo wrote:With mechanical supports for the coils, this idea is dead in the water. You cannot get 'recirculation' that way. All the plasma on the field lines that pass outside those 'internal' rings can ExB or grad-B drift around azimuthally until it collides with the stub and is lost. So you basically turn it into a cusp machine, which has shitty confinement. QED.

Suppose you figure a way to levitate those coils, despite the fact that they are extremely unstable, since they oppose the externally-generated field. You still have a superconducting coil inside a plasma with no room for shielding (not if you want a reactor on a semi truck), and more importantly, no divertor, just a limiter most likely. That right there is going to eat your lunch, because it will introduce too many impurities.

Ok, so what if the coil wasn't a coil, what if we put beams in there? Well, you have Tri-Alpha. (This is essentially an FRC with coils.)

So I give this about 0% chance of going anywhere. My question is, what the heck is LM thinking, letting this brash young dude promise fusion in 5 years? I guess all PR is good PR, and if nothing comes of it in five years, it's no big deal to them.


At a glance I have to agree with Solo and D Tibbets on this. Maybe they have some way around this, but I'm not getting too interested until I see some neutron counts.

Right now this looks way too much like the designs that Bussard spent 20 years figuring out were wrong.

That said, their plan for a new small machine every year is a good one and they might figure out the problems in the next generation or two.
n*kBolt*Te = B**2/(2*mu0) and B^.25 loss scaling? Or not so much? Hopefully we'll know soon...


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