Navy sees the WB8 as power supply for direct energy weapons

If polywell fusion is developed, in what ways will the world change for better or worse? Discuss.

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TecnoImpacto
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Navy sees the WB8 as power supply for direct energy weapons

Postby TecnoImpacto » Mon Aug 09, 2010 5:17 am

http://iecfusiontech.blogspot.com/2009/05/wb-8-in-works.html
"The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake intends ... contract for research, analysis, development, and testing to validate the basic physics of the plasma fusion (polywell) concept as well as requirements to provide the Navy with data for potential applications of polywell fusion with a delivered item, wiffleball 8 (WB8) and options for a modified wiffleball 8 (WB8.1) and modified ion gun. "

So, the Navy thinks the WB8 will have "potential [military] applications". They don't said "military" but if they are calling now for an ion gun...!

Remember that a laser of more than 100kW is considered sufficiently poweful as tactical weapon. The military grade electric lasers are maturing very quickly, now they need its power source. With the laser sources with 20%-30% efficiency the have, they need less than 500kW as electric power source.

For tactical laser weapons, they not need 100MW!.

They need a rugged WB8 with 500kW aprox. (or even less, better more). Maybe it is what they mean with "modified wiffleball 8 (WB8.1)": a rugged, military grade, version of WB8.

With 1MW they can shoot simultaneously and continually 2 lasers each of them of more than 100KW. They can add ultracapacitors, and the system could easily handle much more powerful laser bursts and multiply the shooting power. With "unlimited magazines" as they like to say.

They want it as soon as possible, all the system integrated in as much as six years.

What do you think? Could WB8 be made military grade? (I understand WB8.1 means also make it in about two years).

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Postby Roger » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:47 am

Holy crap Batman. The ion gun for WB-8 feeds the fuel to WB-8. And we're still years from net power.
I like the p-B11 resonance peak at 50 KV acceleration. In2 years we'll know.

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Postby TecnoImpacto » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:25 am

Roger wrote: The ion gun for WB-8 feeds the fuel to WB-8. And we're still years from net power.


So the ion gun is not to be an ion gun weapon :)

I read Dr. Nebel said "Hopefully the demo will demonstrate everything that is needed to put a full-scale working plant into commercial production. So if the concept works we could have a commercial plant operating as early as 2020." . Demo is WB-D or WB-8? I think it is D. http://nextbigfuture.com/2009/05/interview-dr-richard-nebel-of.html#comment-9062311

And if he thinks it is possible to have a comercial power plant in 2020, a less powerful unit based on the WB-8 (8.x) could be operating before.

The "requeriments to provide potential aplications...with WB-8", it is explicity refered to WB8. If the WB-D is to produce 100MW, I understand it means 100MW of net power. So the previous WB-8 should produce some net power, I think. Could have sense to go fron zero to 100MW of net power without an intermediate model?.

Even if WB-8 produces 0,5MW, it is a lot of power for a lot of aplications... included weapons. With 0'5MW and a volume of a few m3, a WB-8.x would be placed in fast track... for tactical direct energy weapons.

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Postby WizWom » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:11 am

TecnoImpacto wrote:The "requeriments to provide potential aplications...with WB-8", it is explicity refered to WB8. If the WB-D is to produce 100MW, I understand it means 100MW of net power. So the previous WB-8 should produce some net power, I think. Could have sense to go fron zero to 100MW of net power without an intermediate model?.


WB-8 will probably be a continuous mode machine at ~5T magnetic fields, and with Q=1, that is, theoretical break even, pulses (several seconds at ~10T

This would be about where the Princeton Tokamak was in the early 90s.

I would expect it to be a D-D machine, again. It will have a significant continuous neutron flux, and much of the energy will be very difficult to recover.

Given the desired development timeframe, I expect a N2(l) cooling system, even though a final machine will need H2(l) cooling, in order to allow the highest magnetic fields. N2(l) will give the engineers cryogenic experience that will be essential for finishing the job. It's quite possible the final machine will use Bitter ultracooled conducting magnets.
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ladajo
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Postby ladajo » Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:01 am

Wiz: Where do you get all that from? 5T? 10T? Continuous ops?
You are off the reservation.

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Postby WizWom » Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:08 am

ladajo wrote:Wiz: Where do you get all that from? 5T? 10T? Continuous ops?
You are off the reservation.

Exactly the opposite. What physics issues remain? The exact magnetic fields you need. If you have continuous supercooled magnets at the 5T strength, which you can pulse for a few seconds to twice that, then you can explore the trapping factor through the expected realm.

To reach a drive energy, you need the magnetic field. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out. Once you reach the drive energy, then you can scale the radius and achieve the fusion rate you need.
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Postby KitemanSA » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:16 am

WizWom wrote:
ladajo wrote:Wiz: Where do you get all that from? 5T? 10T? Continuous ops?
You are off the reservation.
Exactly the opposite.
He is exactly correct.
WB8 is probably built and installed by now and is defined as ~0.8T. (eight times WB7). Look at the contract, dude.

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Postby D Tibbets » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:08 pm

WB-D might be a 100 MW fusion output machine, but that is gross watts, not net. Input power may be anywhere from ~ 10 MW to several hundred MW depending on how the loss scaling and optimizations work out. The magrid may be 2-3 meters wide and the vacuum vessel may be ~3-6 meters wide. Because of the rapid B^4r^3. saling and cooling needs, this may represent the lower end for a commercial Polywell. I'm uncertain what Bussard envisioned when he mentioned advanced Polywells for large trucks or locomotives.

If you only need a few MW, especially on an intermittent basis, the compact DPF may have the advantage (assuming both work).

Dan Tibbets
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Postby WizWom » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:15 pm

From the contract, it is clear WB8 is another research reactor; in this one, they will be exploring the magnetic confinement and polywell electrodynamics.

The expected output is 100mW of Fusion.

So, NO, it's not "MILSPEC" - and it won't come anywhere near to making any usable power. That's not what they are trying to do.
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Postby KitemanSA » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:13 pm

WizWom wrote:From the contract, it is clear WB8 is another research reactor; ...
The expected output is 100mW of Fusion.
I believe that was WB9, not WB8 or 8.1.
I could be misremembering it.

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Postby WizWom » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:32 pm

KitemanSA wrote:
WizWom wrote:From the contract, it is clear WB8 is another research reactor; ...
The expected output is 100mW of Fusion.
I believe that was WB9, not WB8 or 8.1.
I could be misremembering it.

N6893609R0044RFP_09-R-0044.pdf wrote:
3.1.2 ... The machine will be operated in magnetic fields with pulsed currents.
3.2.1 Enhanced Ion Drive with PB11 (proton/boron 11): Based on the results of WB8 testing, and the availability of government funds the contractor shall develop a WB machine (WB8.1) which incorporates the knowledge and improvements gained in WB8. It is expected that higher ion drive capabilities will be added, and that a “PB11” reaction will be demonstrated.
3.2.2 The contractor shall deliver a report detailing the results of the experimental testing of WB8.1 ... The report shall address the conceptual requirements for a polywell fusion reactor capable of generating approximately 100mW.


Yes, it appears you are correct.
It also appears they are really screwing up the design goals.

If I was doing things, I'd have pushed for high T constant fields first, with D-D for demonstration of energy release and constant run.

But I don't write the grants, and I don't have the purse strings.
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Postby KitemanSA » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:24 am

WizWom wrote: Yes, it appears you are correct.
It also appears they are really screwing up the design goals.

If I was doing things, I'd have pushed for high T constant fields first, with D-D for demonstration of energy release and constant run.
From statements/writings by Dr. B., I have come to the opinion that the B field is not the limiting factor to run time, and that it would not be easy to fix the other factors at the WB7 scale. That is why they built WB8 which appears to be 2xWB7 scale. If the "other factors" scale appropriately, then it becomes reasonable to design and build WB-D. (WB-9 with misprint?)

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Postby WizWom » Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:07 pm

KitemanSA wrote:
WizWom wrote:If I was doing things, I'd have pushed for high T constant fields first, with D-D for demonstration of energy release and constant run.
From statements/writings by Dr. B., I have come to the opinion that the B field is not the limiting factor to run time, and that it would not be easy to fix the other factors at the WB7 scale. That is why they built WB8 which appears to be 2xWB7 scale. If the "other factors" scale appropriately, then it becomes reasonable to design and build WB-D. (WB-9 with misprint?)

Yes, the limit to run time has been cooling and power needs. The fix for power is just money; that's been the case since the 1950s. Cooling is a much more interesting problem. Cooling adds volume to your coils, which means you have a lower magnetic field at the final surface; you have to gain more with higher current than you lose to the added volume. Which is why Cryo cooling is a very important hurdle to get past. IIRC, one of the early machines was water cooled, so maybe EMCC thinks they know enough about cooling to feel confident.
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Postby TecnoImpacto » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:52 am

KitemanSA wrote:
WizWom wrote:From the contract, it is clear WB8 is another research reactor; ...
The expected output is 100mW of Fusion.
I believe that was WB9, not WB8 or 8.1.
I could be misremembering it.


100MW is for WB-D, wich I understand is in design stage. WB-8 is working, if I have well understood.

You said that it is supposed WB-8 has not net power, it is a supprise for me that there is not an intermediate design between 0W net power and 100MW. I had supposed WB-8 should hove some net power.

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Postby WizWom » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:21 am

TecnoImpacto wrote:
WizWom wrote:From the contract, it is clear WB8 is another research reactor

You said that it is supposed WB-8 has not net power, it is a supprise for me that there is not an intermediate design between 0W net power and 100MW. I had supposed WB-8 should hove some net power.

Well, the WB-8 should demonstrate the size and magnetic field scaling factors, and verify they work properly.
WB8.1, if they bother to build it, will demonstrate the P-B11 reaction works.

After that, they might go WB9, which will be a next step up, and ~100mW power out p-B11; or they might decide to go all the way to a WB-D 100MW net machine.

Once the scaling is demonstrated clearly, then there really is no reason to build a smaller break-even machine; all you get is engineering experience that would be just as effective to learn while building a small production unit.

Navy would REALLY like a continuous 100MW power plant with only tiny pumps. Submariners would kill for it. Even better if it has no radiation hazard to speak of.
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