Thanks! I try my best at kremlinology
MAST, Sandia, MIFTI among others use very high currents.RERT wrote: ↑Sun Jun 20, 2021 8:33 pmFrustrating for me that I don't really understand the challenges they face in raising the current. We know MAST is a mega-amp, fwiw. But if the difficulty scales with e.g. the 17th power of current, they might not make it. Just floundering, but I wish them the best: they certainly get the prize for conceptual simplicity....
The challanges ZAP faces are in the structure and materials. They want to and have to do several shots a second for a viable power plant. That will cause some abrasion on their electrodes. Also, they have not had a lot of funding until recently. So they were limited in what they could afford to build.
Plus, I know Uri well enough to know that he is extremely cautious. So he likely wanted to test on a smaller scale first and make sure that this is actually working before spending the big bucks. E.g. they went through great lengths to ensure that the neutrons they were getting, were from actual thermonuclear reactions and not some other source, like neutron spallation.
To the best of my understanding, the longer the pinch, the longer the confinement time.
They are aiming for even longer pinches (10 meters) for their space propulsion designs with advanced fuels.