A question about higher order polyhedra.

Discuss the technical details of an "open source" community-driven design of a polywell reactor.

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MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Kiteman,

The difficulty with running two experiments in parallel is manpower. To get the SC device going it is going to take 120% effort for about a year. I want some reserve margin re: labor so going 150% to get two devices going in parallel does not make sense.

The key to checking out transport is stronger magnets and continuous operation (10s of seconds to minutes).

The jump to WB-100MW will require custom SC coils. I don't want to take the hit in time and $$ that will entail. Not to mention potential reliability questions. If I can prove transport with WB-1MW a coil failure of the first one or two WB-100MWs will not be a project killer.

Remember a coil failure with WB-6 almost killed the project. People remember those things even if they have nothing essential to do with device operation.

And if transport is THE question COTS MRI magnets are the sweet spot. Smaller or larger will require too much custom effort. There is enough of that in the project as is (supports and cooling flows, coil shrouds, shield bldgs. etc.).

The biggest cost in terms of available resources is high quality good to go labor. It needs to be conserved.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

KitemanSA
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Post by KitemanSA »

MSimon wrote: The difficulty with running two experiments in parallel is manpower. To get the SC device going it is going to take 120% effort for about a year. I want some reserve margin re: labor so going 150% to get two devices going in parallel does not make sense.
Most testing labs I know WANT several experiments going at once to assure that something useful is happening all the time with their people. With only one experiment there is usually a LOT of "hurry up and wait".
MSimon wrote: The key {emphasis added} to checking out transport is stronger magnets and continuous operation (10s of seconds to minutes).
Or perhaps better magnet design and less metal in the way. Do you have reference for this statement or is it your opinion?
MSimon wrote: The jump to WB-100MW will require custom SC coils. I don't want to take the hit in time and $$ that will entail. Not to mention potential reliability questions. If I can prove transport with WB-1MW a coil failure of the first one or two WB-100MWs will not be a project killer.
Not sure what hit in $$ and time you refer to. I support the creation of an Intermediate Scale Superconductive Polywell Reactor (ISSPR). Should help allay some fears about scaling. But, once folks are sufficiently convinced to put real money into this, they will probably want the best system available. Having the magnet form data will allow it to be provided.
MSimon wrote: Remember a coil failure with WB-6 almost killed the project. People remember those things even if they have nothing essential to do with device operation.
Non-sequitur.
MSimon wrote: And if transport is THE question COTS MRI magnets are the sweet spot. Smaller or larger will require too much custom effort. There is enough of that in the project as is (supports and cooling flows, coil shrouds, shield bldgs. etc.).
COTS MRI magnets study ONE potential aspect of "transport" (the new buzz word :) ), scaling. Until someone with more knowledge says it is the ONLY aspect wrt "transport" I will continue to press for alternate coil forms in small scale. After all, didn't DrN just say that "transport" was effectively containment efficiency? Didn't DrB suggest that improved magnet forms would improve efficiency, i.e "transport"?
MSimon wrote: The biggest cost in terms of available resources is high quality good to go labor. It needs to be conserved.
Not if "conservation" = "hurry up and wait". It must be used effectively. Procurement of additional small scale magnets and testing them in existing facilities is pretty small potatoes in cost and labor and potentially a big benefit in results. The activities can fill in the gaps. JMHO.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

MSimon wrote:
The key {emphasis added} to checking out transport is stronger magnets and continuous operation (10s of seconds to minutes).
Or perhaps better magnet design and less metal in the way. Do you have reference for this statement or is it your opinion?
B^4 is not an opinion.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Re: hurry up and wait. I understand peaks and valleys. I expect them. However, my core team is likely to be even smaller than Rick's and will consist of "old men" - i.e. experienced. You can work them hard but not 24/7 365 like you can kids. Some will have families. When things go slack the humans involved get family time. I do expect them to be thinking ALL the time. But that can be done on the beach just as well as in an office. Maybe better.

But hey. You got a better idea? Do what I'm doing. Make yourself available for offers. Competition is good. I welcome it. Let a thousand Polywell experiments bloom.

I also am of the opinion that small experiments do not teach as much as large ones. Some times quantity has a quality of its own. This is especially true of the B fields. High B field operation (>1T) is very different from low B field (.1T) operation.

Right now 1.5 T to 3 T (MRI magnets) is in my opinion the sweet spot. That determines experiment size (MRI coils). Everything else falls out from that.

You also run into the fact that you need higher fields for smaller experiments to make the gyroradius/machine size ratio "right". Then there is the question of controlling gas flows. It is easier for larger machines. Dead time in the control system has a smaller effect when the gas inventory of the system is larger. I expect a dead time on the order of 3 to 5 mS (3 to 5 ft of gas plumbing following the control valve) minimum. That argues for a 100 mS to 1 second (in terms of pump "swept" volume) gas inventory. Bigger makes a whole lot of things better. In a larger machine POPS can be done at lower frequency and it is easier to try things like rotating POPS fields.

I ain't doing anything with Tritium. Once it gets into the pores of the metal you get a regulatory nightmare worse than you get with induced radiation. Not to mention air samplers etc.

I would prefer not to divide my team's thinking time between the problems of a big and a small machine. If a small machine is to be done in parallel I want a second team. Of course you are then multiplying management problems. I want total focus even if it costs me "efficiency".

If I could get 2 or 3 MRI magnet sized machines going that would be fine. In fact I have suggested that in some of my management outlines. One machine being modified. One cooking out/cooling down. One doing experiments. Maybe that will happen once we get up to WB-100MW.

I doubt I could get the funds for such ambitions at this time. I have been talking a continuous operation machine for over a year now (in terms of having a BOE design). I'm still waiting for a bite.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

KitemanSA
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Post by KitemanSA »

MSimon wrote:
MSimon wrote:
The key {emphasis added} to checking out transport is stronger magnets and continuous operation (10s of seconds to minutes).
Or perhaps better magnet design and less metal in the way. Do you have reference for this statement or is it your opinion?
B^4 is not an opinion.
Non-sequitur. B^4 is not at issue.

You stated "THE KEY", the one and only key, not A prime key, or "perhaps the most significant key", but THE key... Do you have a source that demonstrates that THE KEY is stronger magnets and continuus operation?

tombo
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Post by tombo »

Remember a coil failure with WB-6 almost killed the project.
This is exactly why we need multiple experiments.

The larger machine will need a larger building, power supplies, vacuum pumps, generators, etc. all of which are long lead items. The second (larger) machine will be far enough behind the first so that it can learn from the mistakes of the first. We don't need to know all the details of the insides to get the outsides started. (Actually I hate doing it that way but it sure can pull in the time-lines IF you give the folks doing the insides plenty of elbow room.)

My ideal team would be about 75% good young folks and about 25% greybeards.
I have seen this ratio work well. (The best in the world submarine cable factory was built with lots of 20 somethings that became 30 somethings and a cadre of 50 somethings.) You have the experience and you have the young bodies that can work obscene hours without keeling over. You have fresh educations & the latest skill sets and you have people who have made lots of mistakes already and learned many skill sets.
Some of the older ones must be ones with excellent political/financial connections that the young ones don't have. The young ones don't know that something can't be done so they go ahead and do the impossible.

Small group? You can't do a $100M project without several hundred people. (Well I suppose you could subcontract it all out but then you have to think of all those folks as part of the team.) True most of them are not core group decision makers but it takes a lot of technicians, welders, electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, iron workers, carpenters, millwrights, coil winders etc in addition to the science, engineering, project management & executive people. Don't forget those lower-on-the-ladder people are much closer to the actual work and often have good creative thoughtful solutions too. Like it or not you're going to need good bean-counters, human resources people and other folks like that too. Even a skunk works project needs a corporate home to take care of all those support functions.

The other reason you want enough people is that if this thing works, this in only the first machine. There will be a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th ... etc. You are training those young folks to build power plants.
Then once you've got folks building power plants you can turn them (the power plants) over to the young folks and turn toward building the space ships.
-Tom Boydston-
"If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research, would it?" ~Albert Einstein

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

You stated "THE KEY", the one and only key, not A prime key, or "perhaps the most significant key", but THE key... Do you have a source that demonstrates that THE KEY is stronger magnets and continuus operation?
It is fairly well accepted that confinement improves with stronger magnets. The question is: are there competing effects in the larger sizes that interfere with the better confinement expected with stronger magnets?

In addition from tokamak work we know that there are effects that show up at longer time scales that did not appear with pulsed devices.

I addition - we do know that there is a transition in the way the devices are expected to work at around .35T. WB-6 was a .1T machine (maybe .15T I'd have to go back and look). Given that WB-7 was supposed to be a clone with minor modifications I'd say we are still seeing "low" field operation.

We don't know anything about WB-8 except that it will be a pulsed machine (not enough money in the contract for power supplies) and that it will try to improve transport. Maybe they are doing LN-2 cooled Cu to get up into the .5T range. If the magnets and grid power are pulsed (10 mS more or less) it may be possible to get up to 1.5T with LN2 cooled Cu.

But I know what I want to do. MRI magnets at 1.5 to 3T and continuous operation power supplies.
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MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

tombo wrote:
Remember a coil failure with WB-6 almost killed the project.
This is exactly why we need multiple experiments.

The larger machine will need a larger building, power supplies, vacuum pumps, generators, etc. all of which are long lead items. The second (larger) machine will be far enough behind the first so that it can learn from the mistakes of the first. We don't need to know all the details of the insides to get the outsides started. (Actually I hate doing it that way but it sure can pull in the time-lines IF you give the folks doing the insides plenty of elbow room.)

My ideal team would be about 75% good young folks and about 25% greybeards.
I have seen this ratio work well. (The best in the world submarine cable factory was built with lots of 20 somethings that became 30 somethings and a cadre of 50 somethings.) You have the experience and you have the young bodies that can work obscene hours without keeling over. You have fresh educations & the latest skill sets and you have people who have made lots of mistakes already and learned many skill sets.
Some of the older ones must be ones with excellent political/financial connections that the young ones don't have. The young ones don't know that something can't be done so they go ahead and do the impossible.

Small group? You can't do a $100M project without several hundred people. (Well I suppose you could subcontract it all out but then you have to think of all those folks as part of the team.) True most of them are not core group decision makers but it takes a lot of technicians, welders, electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, iron workers, carpenters, millwrights, coil winders etc in addition to the science, engineering, project management & executive people. Don't forget those lower-on-the-ladder people are much closer to the actual work and often have good creative thoughtful solutions too. Like it or not you're going to need good bean-counters, human resources people and other folks like that too. Even a skunk works project needs a corporate home to take care of all those support functions.

The other reason you want enough people is that if this thing works, this in only the first machine. There will be a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th ... etc. You are training those young folks to build power plants.
Then once you've got folks building power plants you can turn them (the power plants) over to the young folks and turn toward building the space ships.
I like the way you think.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

KitemanSA
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Post by KitemanSA »

MSimon wrote:
You stated "THE KEY", the one and only key, not A prime key, or "perhaps the most significant key", but THE key... Do you have a source that demonstrates that THE KEY is stronger magnets and continuus operation?
It is fairly well accepted ...
yada yada three bags full. In other words, no. :o
MSimon wrote:But I know what I want to do. MRI magnets at 1.5 to 3T and continuous operation power supplies.
I know I want you to do them too, but not to the exclusion of other more basic work, which now seems may be done as "WB8" so it could be that the whole discussion is moot.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

KitemanSA,

I'm not in the mood to search for what you want. It is out there.

B^4 is the key to better confinement. Continuous operation will find out if there are loss mechanisms that are unanticipated from pulse machines. A bigger machine is key to testing size scaling.

You get all that with continuous operation with MRI coils.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

KitemanSA
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Post by KitemanSA »

MSimon wrote:KitemanSA,

I'm not in the mood to search for what you want. It is out there.

B^4 is the key to better confinement. Continuous operation will find out if there are loss mechanisms that are unanticipated from pulse machines. A bigger machine is key to testing size scaling.

You get all that with continuous operation with MRI coils.
DrN suggested we would know in 1.5 to 2 years. We have identified a $2M pot that may cause that to happen. There is the presolicitation for a WB8. By your standard, either WB8 must be a high field SC machine or he is fooling himself. After all, according to you, such a machine is THE KEY to such knowledge. Did I miss an option?

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

KitemanSA wrote:
MSimon wrote:KitemanSA,

I'm not in the mood to search for what you want. It is out there.

B^4 is the key to better confinement. Continuous operation will find out if there are loss mechanisms that are unanticipated from pulse machines. A bigger machine is key to testing size scaling.

You get all that with continuous operation with MRI coils.
DrN suggested we would know in 1.5 to 2 years. We have identified a $2M pot that may cause that to happen. There is the presolicitation for a WB8. By your standard, either WB8 must be a high field SC machine or he is fooling himself. After all, according to you, such a machine is THE KEY to such knowledge. Did I miss an option?
Depends - are you an incremental progress guy or a jump to light speed feller. IMO without knowing any of the details I believe a jump to light speed is in order - if the funds are there. Otherwise - three yards and a cloud of dust.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offensive_ ... _football)

Here is something on industrial management called "Three Yards and A Cloud of Dust"

http://www.aug.edu/~sbajmg/quan3600/Str ... rticle.PDF

And yes: we are not going to know how a full size high field continuous operation machine is going to work until we build one.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

KitemanSA
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Post by KitemanSA »

Nice evasion.

I hope the DrN is correct about knowing in 1.5 to 2 years with money he is going to get. I don't particularly care HOW he does it, but I do think that before we go to Full Scale, we should have data on aspects other than just high power SC magnets.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

KitemanSA wrote:Nice evasion.

I hope the DrN is correct about knowing in 1.5 to 2 years with money he is going to get. I don't particularly care HOW he does it, but I do think that before we go to Full Scale, we should have data on aspects other than just high power SC magnets.
That data can be collected WITH high B field SC magnets. And it will mean more when it comes to scaling to WB-100MW. In any case what we have is what we have and the dollars available are the dollars available.

Given the money wasted on Fannie Mae bonuses to just one guy (Mudd - $70 mn) it seems unconscionable that EMC2 can't get the $10 or $20 mn required for an MRI magnet continuous operation test. Ah. Well. The world is what it is.

BTW I note that WB-8 is a cost plus project. Any one hear what kind of $$ are attached? Maybe they do have the funds. The proposal was for $2 mn (DoD April). Did they up that?
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

KitemanSA
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Post by KitemanSA »

MSimon wrote: BTW I note that WB-8 is a cost plus project. Any one hear what kind of $$ are attached? Maybe they do have the funds. The proposal was for $2 mn (DoD April). Did they up that?
Not sure which "proposal" you are speaking about. The DoD did identify $2M in "recovery" funds for Polywell. If they up it past $5.5M they MUST publish that fact or go black. I suspect Polywell is too "out" to ever go black.

Since the $2M exceeds the sole-source limit by a LONG way, the Navy will have to write a justification like they did for the $300k they gave EMC2 last April. Then we should know.

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