PPPL Colloquium: The Lockheed Martin CFR, Aug 6, 2015

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Skipjack
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Re: PPPL Colloquium: The Lockheed Martin CFR, Aug 6, 2015

Postby Skipjack » Fri Aug 07, 2015 8:10 pm

mvanwink5 wrote:One vast difference between Polywell and LM's fusion machine (CFR) is that Polywell uses high voltage to drive fusion, but for LM's CFR, they think that heat of fusion will drive the reaction after initial startup. They do this by retaining the fusion byproducts with recirculation aided by the outer mirror magnets.

So, it looks like the power transference will be thermal, possible with molten salt, but those details are to be developed down the road. McGuire's talk devoted a lot to the idea of how to achieve high project development speed.

Some skeptics of the project have mentioned the concern that it seems like LM does not believe enough into this to use its own funds for the development (which they certainly have) and so McGuire and his team are looking for external funding. If this is true, then there is certainly reason to be skeptical about the validity of the concept.
Did they say anything about the funding situation for the project?

ladajo
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Re: PPPL Colloquium: The Lockheed Martin CFR, Aug 6, 2015

Postby ladajo » Fri Aug 07, 2015 8:22 pm

It would be fair to say that LM is in marketing mode. Self admitted even. They need funding.
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Skipjack
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Re: PPPL Colloquium: The Lockheed Martin CFR, Aug 6, 2015

Postby Skipjack » Fri Aug 07, 2015 9:33 pm

ladajo wrote:It would be fair to say that LM is in marketing mode. Self admitted even. They need funding.

Then I have to ad myself to the skeptics that ask "why?".

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Re: PPPL Colloquium: The Lockheed Martin CFR, Aug 6, 2015

Postby mvanwink5 » Fri Aug 07, 2015 10:36 pm

The implication was speed which was dependent on parallel paths being worked required more money. As a comparison General Fusion worked on many parallel aspects of their reactor. That takes money (seems GF is way better funded than LM's project). From what I gathered LM has not finished the low $ work, but perhaps they see that finishing up, (they did not say how close they were to the next step though). There was a lot of fluff in the presentation, but that was apologized for up front.

The claim that I took from the presentation was that the basic science was known (cusps and mirrors), but the critical details needed to be experimentally determined and those details would determine the practicality of their approach (magnet strengths, sizes, materials, losses)

I wondered if the amount of fluff was a function of tight lips on the critical details, or if secrecy may just be a function of thin results. I will be interested in what others have to say.

Plasma stability (at high beta) is frequently mentioned by Ladajo as Polywell's development progress advantage. LM said their CFR was inherently stable except in certain areas of the recirculation zone where mirror B fields were convex, but that was just one of the loss areas they needed to characterize.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

paperburn1
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Re: PPPL Colloquium: The Lockheed Martin CFR, Aug 6, 2015

Postby paperburn1 » Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:08 pm

Being a former Lockheed Martin guy I can probably's shed some light on this problem of funding. I remember distinctly that even though Lockheed Martin has a large corporation had a great deal of money each individual arm or branch might not have a large amount of funding. Case in point of what happened to me and our project. We had a need for some specialized components that another site was disposing of to the garbage. We requested that they sent these components up to our site as they would be a huge boon that we could re-utilize and bring ourself in way under budget. They would not give us these parts and would only sell them to us at wholesale. I did not have the money in our budget to buy these parts so they ended up going to landfill. This is how Lockheed Martin operates, your branches given so much funding to accomplish the task. If you need more is not available and if you need it from another's division you must pay for out of your budget. Thankfully I don't have these problems anymore as I'm with a different Corporation.
I am not a nuclear physicist, but play one on the internet.

Skipjack
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Re: PPPL Colloquium: The Lockheed Martin CFR, Aug 6, 2015

Postby Skipjack » Sat Aug 08, 2015 2:09 am

paperburn1 wrote:Being a former Lockheed Martin guy I can probably's shed some light on this problem of funding. I remember distinctly that even though Lockheed Martin has a large corporation had a great deal of money each individual arm or branch might not have a large amount of funding. Case in point of what happened to me and our project. We had a need for some specialized components that another site was disposing of to the garbage. We requested that they sent these components up to our site as they would be a huge boon that we could re-utilize and bring ourself in way under budget. They would not give us these parts and would only sell them to us at wholesale. I did not have the money in our budget to buy these parts so they ended up going to landfill. This is how Lockheed Martin operates, your branches given so much funding to accomplish the task. If you need more is not available and if you need it from another's division you must pay for out of your budget. Thankfully I don't have these problems anymore as I'm with a different Corporation.

So in other words, Lockheed only (barely) finishes a project (any project) if they have billions in government money thrown after it.

crowberry
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Re: PPPL Colloquium: The Lockheed Martin CFR, Aug 6, 2015

Postby crowberry » Sat Aug 08, 2015 7:36 am

In the general introduction McGuire described Lockheed Martins goals of mobile fusion reactors even on air planes. They seem to have no interest at least currently in advanced fuels, which is understandable as they will run a thermal neutral plasma.

The heating of the plasma with Neutral Beam Injection (NBI) was described to heat the plasma at high beta through the diamagnetic current sheet at the surface of the plasma. The NBI needs a dense enough plasma "target" initially, but the starting of the reactor to get to the initial state is not clear to me.

The LM Compact Fusion Reactor (CFR) has borrowed ideas from the Polywell like high beta, recirculation of losses and magnetic cusp geometry, but it is not run like a Polywell, so it is not correct to describe it as an modified Polywell. It resembles and uses magnetic mirrors, but they have tried to improve the losses by recirculation and having a large volume where the fusion reactions occur. In the 2013 talk by Charles Chase he described the CFR as a "new magnetic configuration" and I would agree that it is an adequate description of it.

The CFR team is small and fusion is a very hard nut to crack, so I think the call for collaboration by McGuire just reflects the fact that they cannot do everything by themselves. Also General Fusion is doing the same by collaborating with universities and national labs and even outsourcing some of their problems.

Giorgio
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Re: PPPL Colloquium: The Lockheed Martin CFR, Aug 6, 2015

Postby Giorgio » Sat Aug 08, 2015 7:43 am

paperburn1 wrote:Being a former Lockheed Martin guy I can probably's shed some light on this problem of funding. I remember distinctly that even though Lockheed Martin has a large corporation had a great deal of money each individual arm or branch might not have a large amount of funding. Case in point of what happened to me and our project. We had a need for some specialized components that another site was disposing of to the garbage. We requested that they sent these components up to our site as they would be a huge boon that we could re-utilize and bring ourself in way under budget. They would not give us these parts and would only sell them to us at wholesale. I did not have the money in our budget to buy these parts so they ended up going to landfill. This is how Lockheed Martin operates, your branches given so much funding to accomplish the task. If you need more is not available and if you need it from another's division you must pay for out of your budget. Thankfully I don't have these problems anymore as I'm with a different Corporation.

This explains quite well one of the ways in which these companies abuse of the "costs plus" type of contracts.....
A society of dogmas is a dead society.

hanelyp
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Re: PPPL Colloquium: The Lockheed Martin CFR, Aug 6, 2015

Postby hanelyp » Sat Aug 08, 2015 7:43 pm

Giorgio wrote:
paperburn1 wrote:Being a former Lockheed Martin guy I can probably's shed some light on this problem of funding. I remember distinctly that even though Lockheed Martin has a large corporation had a great deal of money each individual arm or branch might not have a large amount of funding. Case in point of what happened to me and our project. We had a need for some specialized components that another site was disposing of to the garbage. We requested that they sent these components up to our site as they would be a huge boon that we could re-utilize and bring ourself in way under budget. They would not give us these parts and would only sell them to us at wholesale. I did not have the money in our budget to buy these parts so they ended up going to landfill. This is how Lockheed Martin operates, your branches given so much funding to accomplish the task. If you need more is not available and if you need it from another's division you must pay for out of your budget. Thankfully I don't have these problems anymore as I'm with a different Corporation.

This explains quite well one of the ways in which these companies abuse of the "costs plus" type of contracts.....

Under rational funding a division would sell surplus to another division at deep discount before landfilling. Under cost plus rational need not apply.
The daylight is uncomfortably bright for eyes so long in the dark.

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Re: PPPL Colloquium: The Lockheed Martin CFR, Aug 6, 2015

Postby mvanwink5 » Sun Aug 09, 2015 5:36 am

The heating of the plasma with Neutral Beam Injection (NBI) was described to heat the plasma at high beta through the diamagnetic current sheet at the surface of the plasma. The NBI needs a dense enough plasma "target" initially, but the starting of the reactor to get to the initial state is not clear to me.

McGuire's hope is that the fusion reaction will be sufficient to sustain itself without an external heating source, but NBI would be used for the CFR start up. McGuire did mention the issue of start up plasma density, but said they have ideas for addressing it. However, that issue is not being addressed at this early point. Polywell also has a start up hurdle in that high beta is needed to close off the cusps, so both need to adequately solve the ultra fast initial plasma inflation to high beta. Or so it seems to me.

McGuire did a bunch of gee whiz, what if, applications, but for me they all fell into the category of filler material as until the CFR can be proven for any size, applications are all moot. Still, it is something to say that LM is thinking of putting a fusion reactor in a transport sized plane. Color me a bit skeptical.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

crowberry
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Re: PPPL Colloquium: The Lockheed Martin CFR, Aug 6, 2015

Postby crowberry » Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:32 am

mvanwink5 wrote:I wondered if the amount of fluff was a function of tight lips on the critical details, or if secrecy may just be a function of thin results. I will be interested in what others have to say.


I guess it was due to both reasons. The plasma temperature they can reach is limited by the available heating power, which has increased from 1 kW in 2014 (http://news.sciencemag.org/physics/2014/10/lockheed-looks-partners-its-proposed-fusion-reactor-0) to 15 kW reported in the colloquium with plans to further increase the heating power.

The reported plasma lifetime of 1 to 2 s sounds quite promising at this early stage, but there is a lot of work required to reach the 29 h plasma lifetime reported by Tokamak Energy for their spherical tokamak (http://www.tokamakenergy.co.uk/we-now-hold-the-world-record-for-running-our-tokamak-with-magnets-of-high-temperature-superconductors-for-29-hours/).

It is nice to see that LM has kept their intention to report on the progress of this project. Some of the other players in the field have also chosen not to report on all their progress for natural and understandable reasons. It will be interesting to see how the project evolves in the future and if the bold visions will hold true or not.

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Re: PPPL Colloquium: The Lockheed Martin CFR, Aug 6, 2015

Postby mvanwink5 » Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:24 pm

In other words, from what I can gather McGuire is a really, really long way from proof of concept. His only positive at this point it would seem is he is up and running on a machine designed to facilitate rapid results and at this point there are no obvious show stoppers, just challenges that seem to have possible solutions (not enough details for me to be more positive on this). As to plasma management which is 'the' challenge for everyone, their one area of questionable plasma stability is outside of the bulk plasma zone in an area of recirculation. So, their hope seems to me to be that the losses there will be manageable.

Crowberry is right that LM's CFR is as dissimilar as it is similar to Polywell, as the CFR is purely magnetic in its methods of plasma containment. So, the CFR uses cusps for bulk plasma containment and magnetic mirrors for leakage management, Polywell predominantly uses cusp containment (for electrons) via Grad's now proven conjecture(*). Further, LM's CFR has no potential well as Polywell does given its pure magnetic configuration. Therefore the CFR has to achieve containment of fusion ash long enough to provide a fusion heating source. I wonder how this will work out for the cusp magnets which reside in the heart of the machine, for although LM mentioned this issue, it is far down the road for development. One might call this the CFR's first wall problem.

In contradistinction, Polywell wants the fusion ash to leave immediately, steered through the cusps, as it provides no benefit due to deriving all fusion collision energy from the potential well acceleration of ions. Thus, the Polywell cusp magnets are virtually subject only to neutron flux. A big difference it would seem, especially for the cusp coil supports (no ion recirculation as exists in the CFR).

Well, those are my thoughts.


(*) I wonder if it could be argued that Polywell has evolved to pure cusp containment for electrons (magnetic), as perhaps electron recirculation isn't as important as was once thought given the success of Grad's cusp conjecture. But fuel ions are indeed contained by the potential well created by the trapped electrons with fusion ash free to quickly leave. Hence, conceptually, Polywell containment in principle is both a combination of magnetic and electric fields and thus significantly stands apart from LM's CFR (as pointed out by Crowberry above).

edited for clarification...
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

D Tibbets
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Re: PPPL Colloquium: The Lockheed Martin CFR, Aug 6, 2015

Postby D Tibbets » Sun Aug 09, 2015 5:10 pm

mvanwink5 wrote:One vast difference between Polywell and LM's fusion machine (CFR) is that Polywell uses high voltage to drive fusion, but for LM's CFR, they think that heat of fusion will drive the reaction after initial startup. They do this by retaining the fusion byproducts with recirculation aided by the outer mirror magnets.

So, it looks like the power transference will be thermal, possible with molten salt, but those details are to be developed down the road. McGuire's talk devoted a lot to the idea of how to achieve high project development speed.


It looks like the Lockheed machine is intended as a D-T ignition machine. Neutral beam heating drives the startup conditions, ignition may maintain operation thereafter.

There indeed is no electrostatic potential well. Both the electrons and ions are magnetically contained. He mentions that an ion executes a 1/2 gyroradius turn on the high Beta edge. Ion entrapment in the border sheeth and subsequent ExB losses enter the picture only if the ion undergoes a Coulomb collision on the edge. This presumably mitigates the ExB ion diffusion issues considerably. There are good magnetic curvatures everywhere except outside the two interior magnets so edge instabilities only occurs there. Apparently this will be only a small percentage of the magnetic bottle surface area and will only involve plasma that escapes through the cusps into this region, so the contribution may be small. Also, he mentioned the magnetic potential well. Somehow the instabilities in these cusp areas mentioned must preferentially inject the plasma back towards the center of the machine. I don't know how this would occur.

On the machine ends the spindle cusps are mentioned as a major loss areas. Apparently the produced alphas, after thermalization are expected to exit here and be removed via a diverter. Does the fuel plasma somehow recirculate here around the magnets?

The cooling with metal salts is mentioned. I suppose he means lithium salts, as tritium will need to be bred. The greatest thermal wall loading is expected to be at the inner edges of the two main internal magnets. The heating will be primarily from the D-T produced neutrons and may reach about 10 MW per square meter, a challenge in itself.

I didn't get any hint that this machine could use anything other than D-T fuel, and that optimistic Qs of 3-5 may be possible (if I heard right).

Dan Tibbets
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pdxpyro
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Re: PPPL Colloquium: The Lockheed Martin CFR, Aug 6, 2015

Postby pdxpyro » Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:44 pm

As promised, the session was posted to the Princeton Media Central site.

https://mediacentral.princeton.edu/medi ... 1_5j8kix93

pdxpyro wrote:
pdxpyro wrote:I've sent an email to the folks at Princeton asking when it will be posted on the Princeton Media Central site. I'll update as soon as I get a reply.


Response was:
"The file will be available this Monday afternoon."

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Re: PPPL Colloquium: The Lockheed Martin CFR, Aug 6, 2015

Postby mvanwink5 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:53 pm

Thank you pdxpyro for that link, very kind.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.


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