Let's make an FAQ of Polywell

Discuss ways to make polywell research more widely known or better understood. Includes education and outreach.

Moderators: tonybarry, MSimon

Zixinus
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Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:39 pm

Let's make an FAQ of Polywell

Postby Zixinus » Tue Jul 24, 2007 3:36 pm

Let's make a question-answer session for common misconceptions of Polywell, and sticky it up once its cleaned up.

Q: Why has not Dr.Bussard has not released any scientific paper regarding Polywell?

A: Until this time, EMC2 was under a publishing embargo, due to how the Navy contract was defined and due to internal politics. The embargo has been recently lifted, and there 10 years of work that has to be written and documented, which is further hampered by Dr.Bussard's health.

However, the idea that EMC2 and thus Dr.Bussard did not publish any science paper regarding his work on Polywell is untrue. There has been some papers regarding various operations calculations and theory of Polywell released with DTIC (http://www.dtic.mil/) under the keywords "EMC2" and "Bussard".

Q: Why 200 million? This is not small money.

A: Actually, 200 million is the funding required for developing and researching everything for full-scale p-B11 fusion reactor.

200 million is not the only offer of EMC2 makes. EMC2 can also offer a demo D-D reactor for 150 million dollars.

Also, further experiments to confirm things like scaling laws and electron recirculation effectiveness and to study the fusion process itself can be done for 5 million dollars, with WB-7 and WB-8 experiments.

Q: Dr.Bussard has a record of being wrong. Ringatron and his ramjet concept. Why shouldn't he be wrong now?

A: Neither concepts are truly unworkable, and Dr.Bussard's has work beyond Ringatron and his ramjet. An example is his early work, his NTR fission reactor concept called KIWI formed the basis for NASA's project ROVER and NERVA. While the project was cancelled due to financial and political reasons, the concept has been generally accepted, and even inproved.

As for Ringatron and Bussard ramjet:

Ringatron: no experimental device was ever built, and the reasons why the concept is considered unworkable has been found and researched just at the time Ringatron was financed and developed on paper.

Ramjet: While the original concept of doing interstellar travel with the Bussard Ramjet has been theoretically proven extremely difficult, it is not impossible. While the original idea of using p-p fusion is unusable due to the enormous energy requirements, the concept has been further developed and would be usable with either isotopes of Lithium or Boron or antimatter particles. While this does not solve the problem of fuel, it does solve the problem of propellent.

Any other common criticisms?

Zixinus
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Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:39 pm

Postby Zixinus » Sat Jul 28, 2007 9:21 pm

Sorry for bumping, but let me clarify why I made this tread.

I want to make this tread for possible questions we receive regarding Polywell, and to put something on our blogs and wikis to avoid answering uninteresting questions or to make it harder to shrug off Polywell as a whole.

I also find FQAs a much more easy read then browsing trough the sparse and sometimes difficult-to-understand papers and reports of Polywell. The Bussard video is also of low quality enough to be a problem.

So I created this tread to make a FQA, all questions and answers to them are welcomed, along with constructive criticism.

pstudier
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Postby pstudier » Sat Jul 28, 2007 9:50 pm

Why not put this information on http://wiki.polywell.org ? IMHO, an encyclopedia is more organized than a FAQ.
Fusion is easy, but break even is horrendous.

Nanos
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Location: Treasure Island

Postby Nanos » Sat Jul 28, 2007 9:54 pm

One has more control over a FAQ than a wiki.

Though no reason why one could not do both, but I'd say old fashioned simple text FAQ first, then wiki/latest fad next.

Zixinus
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Postby Zixinus » Sat Jul 28, 2007 9:59 pm

Though no reason why one could not do both, but I'd say old fashioned simple text FAQ first, then wiki/latest fad next.


Agree. Also, the FAQ could be discussed in more detail in forums. Also, an FAQ can be on a single document and more flexible.

Zixinus
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Postby Zixinus » Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:17 pm

A few other questions come into mind:

Q: What are the possible dangers of using Polywell? Would it blow up like a fission plant?

A: The short answer is, no, it would not blow up like a fission plant. However, this sadly does not prevent it from blowing up altogether. There is enormous amount of energy in the form of super-hot plasma and charged superconductors. However, the explosion wouldn't leave the building, let alone the unmanned reactor core.

In the severe case if it did, for some reason of mayor incompetence, the effects would be relatively minor, depending on what fuel is used.

In the case of fuels which product in the fusion reaction are neutrons (D-T reaction as well as D-D reactions) there is the possibility of radioactive material released in the atmosphere. Unlike fission plants, these are transmutated light materials, with often short half-life that decay back into stable isotopes. Even in case if all materials were to be released, the area would be safe to come back within a month.

In any modern fission power plant, there is a steel-reinforced concrete dome in the case of a steam overpressure explosion. This dome prevents any escape of radioactive materials. This is a proven, literally solid last line of proven defence. To get the idea how powerful this dome is, know that a even if a Boing 747 would crash right on top of it, it would still leave the reactor intact and sealed. There is nothing stopping from using such a dome on a fusion plant.

The fuels of the fusion reaction themselves are not dangerous in the case of an accident. Deuterium is stable and chemically identical to hydrogen, you would need to contentiously drink heavy water alone for several weeks for it to even have any effect on you. Tritium on the other hand, is radioactive, especially when breathed in. However, tritium is also chemically identical to hydrogen thus it would quickly enter the upper atmosphere where it would quickly disperse. The tritium used is usually only a few kilograms, so there is little danger.

The two other fuels possibly used, is boron and helium-3. Helium-3 is stable, thus no treat. Boron 11 is also stable, and solid at room temperatures.

Q: What are the environmental effects of a fusion power plant?

A: Very little. Only side-product produced by the fusion reaction is helium, a few kilograms a day. Helium is actually fairly rare, thus valuable. Otherwise, there is possibly the steam produced by the cooling or thermal process used to gain energy from the fusion reaction. The steam is natural water vapour, thus harmless. It would be possible to use this hot steam to heat homes or power chemical processing facilities. A fusion power plant is clean, and does not release any greenhouse gases or any kind of pollutant.

A third side-product, is some low-level radioactive waste created by neutron-rich reactions (D-T or D-D). Unlike the materials found in a fission plant, these materials are short-lived and decay into stable elements. At worst, the lifespan of such waste would be a century, after which it would re-usable or safely recyclable.

Debate answers for questions:


Q: I'm a venture capitalist. What benefit and potential profit would I gain if I fund Polywell?


Q: What are the possibilities of Polywell working as intended?

Q: Where do the scaling laws come from?

Q: Can I access the data from past experiments for myself?

Indrek
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Postby Indrek » Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:56 am

Um. I've been working with various wikis (using them to get stuff done) in commercial and non-commercial environments for almost 4 years. They've come a long way since being "the latest fad". Also not all wikis are open/free to edit for everyone, sophisticated access control and administration mechanisms are available (as in the wiki.polywell.org) - so not all wikis are like wikipedia.

I know some people here think wikipedia is all bad when it comes to content - that might be quite true on the borders - but as a collaborative tool it's quite excellent. Remember - wiki is not wikipedia (that means wiki is not encyclopedia, how you organize your data/text is all up to you). Also nothing stops you having the FAQ in the wiki as a single page.

As for the FAQ here, I think it's a great idea. I think you should use more professional and calmer tone. And the english could use some work.

Zixinus
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Postby Zixinus » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:00 pm

Does nobody have any criticism of what I've written so far?

ANTIcarrot
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Postby ANTIcarrot » Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:28 am

Zixinus wrote:Does nobody have any criticism of what I've written so far?


Even p11B reactors would also produce neutrons, and hence produce radioactive reactor components. The half life for much of this material is only a few days or years though. It's low/medium level waste and again only needs to be buried for a few years, rather than millenniums.

This may amount to a considerable amount of waste and require a very large storage system if the technology is sent world wide, as Mr Bussard has recommended.
Last edited by ANTIcarrot on Thu Aug 23, 2007 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
Some light reading material: Half Way To Anywhere, The Rocket Company, Space Technology, The High Fronter, Of Wolves And Men, Light On Shattered Water, The Ultimate Weapon, any Janes Guide, GURPS Bio-Tech, ALIENS Technical Manual, The God Delusion.

jlumartinez
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Location: Spain

Postby jlumartinez » Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:40 pm

There are also a good couple of pages of FAQs in the document "Should Google Go Nuclear.pdf" . It covers all the questions done to Bussard during his Google Tech-Talk. We should add all these FAQ stuff to the new website

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:21 pm

ANTIcarrot wrote:
Zixinus wrote:Does nobody have any criticism of what I've written so far?


Even p11B reactors would also produce neutrons, and hence produce radioactive reactor components. The half life for much of this material is only a few days or years though. It's low/medium level waste and again only needs to be buried for a few years, rather than millenniums.


Do you have multiple personalities ala Bourbaki?

Some of your posts are quite knowledgeable. Some are just craziness.

Simon

cuddihy
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Postby cuddihy » Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:42 pm

Indrek wrote:
As for the FAQ here, I think it's a great idea. I think you should use more professional and calmer tone. And the english could use some work.


heh. Jeez, schooled on the grammer by an estonian...
Tom.Cuddihy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Faith is the foundation of reason.

Indrek
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Postby Indrek » Sun Aug 26, 2007 12:37 pm

Sorry. I did not mean grammar specifically but the whole sentence structure etc. For example reading "This is a proven, literally solid last line of proven defence." does not stroke confidence in me. I wrote like that when I was 12. Also you use awkwardly elongated sentences and sometimes just weird structure.

Also content wise it reads like desperate defence of a condemned man, some craziness around. Or maybe like a gestapo interrogation. Coming over as crazy and desperate is not a good idea. This is somewhat ok in informal discussions but does not bode well in cast documents like a FAQ.

I suggest you take all this content, rewrite it (and reread twice) and set it up on some web page as a whole. Continuous review and improvement like this in a forum does not work very well. Now I should better shut up before I say too much.

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Sun Aug 26, 2007 1:46 pm

To get the idea how powerful this dome is,


A dome is not powerful. It is strong.

I'm afraid The Estonian is right. Poor wording. Unclear thinking.

Write it like a business brochure for an established technology.

Zixinus
Posts: 200
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:39 pm

Postby Zixinus » Tue Aug 28, 2007 10:42 pm

Write it like a business brochure for an established technology.


Good idea, but two problems:

- It's not established.

- I don't know how to write a business brochure.


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