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TECH The Navy's Patent for a Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Is Wild
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Buffalo, NY

    The Navy's Patent for a Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Is Wild

    It is always interesting (to me) to see the possibility of a new energy source.


    For fair use education/research purposes.

    The link:

    The article:

    The Navy's Patent for a Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Is Wild
    By Jennifer Leman
    October 10, 2019

    From Popular Mechanics

    A patent filed by the U.S. Navy last month claims to have developed a compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor.

    Nuclear fusion has been touted as the ultimate energy source, generating enormous amounts of power with little to no harmful byproducts.

    No one has yet been able to mass produce or control large quantities of fusion energy, so designs for the reactor seemingly stretch the limits of science.

    Scientists have longed to create the perfect energy source. Ideally, that source would eventually replace greenhouse gas-spewing fossil fuels, power cars, boats, and planes, and send spacecraft to remote parts of the universe. So far, nuclear fusion energy has seemed like the most likely option to help us reach those goals.

    The big problem? It’s difficult to harness, and we’re nowhere near producing it at the scales we need in order to cause a seismic shift in energy policy. That's why teams of researchers across the world are racing to improve our understanding of this reaction.

    Now, the U.S. Navy has jumped into the game by filing a patent for a compact fusion reactor, according to exclusive reporting by The War Zone.

    Developing a viable source of nuclear fusion energy—the same reaction that powers the sun—has long been seemingly unattainable. The patent for the device was reportedly filed on March 22, 2019, and published late last month. This technology, by all accounts, is a long shot. But it would completely revolutionize how we power our world.

    In order to create fusion energy on Earth, scientists and engineers must build instruments that can contain gases that will reach temperatures of hundreds of millions of degrees in order to compel atomic nuclei to slam together at high speeds and create a superheated plasma.

    But that’s not an easy task, and there a several technical challenges associated with creating fusion energy. For example, the plasma can’t touch the walls of the chamber in which it’s created, so scientists must use powerful magnetic fields to isolate the substance. This is one of the most critical challenges researchers aim to overcome. And then there’s the issue of actually storing the energy that’s created in the reaction. No small feat.

    If scientists were able to harness fusion energy, all it would do is completely change the course of humanity. One kilogram of fusion fuel produces the same amount of energy as 10 million kilograms of fossil fuels, according to the Science Museum in London. It’s the perfect energy source; it doesn’t emit greenhouse gases or leave behind harmful byproducts such as nuclear waste—unlike nuclear fission. In fact, its sole byproduct is helium: an inert, extremely useful gas.

    Current reactors are approximately the size of a building; a relatively portable compact fusion reactor, one designed to power relatively small vehicles, would be a game-changer. The Chinese government (allegedly), Lockheed Martin, and several other private companies have made inroads in shrinking the technology, and the Navy is hot on their tails. This device, according the The War Zone, could potentially fit on a boat or an aircraft. So, how does the service propose to create such a tiny reactor?

    The success of the device, developed by researcher Salvatore Cezar Pais of the Naval Air Warfare Center - Aircraft Division, relies on a part called a dynamic fusor. According to the patent, Pais’ plasma chamber contains several pairs of these dynamic fusors, which rapidly spin and vibrate within the chamber in order to create a “concentrated magnetic energy flux” that can squish the gases together.

    Coated with an electrical charge, the cone-shaped fusors pump fuel gases like Deuterium or Deuterium-Xenon into the chamber, which are then put under intense heat and pressure to create the nuclei-fusing reaction. Current technology at reactors around the world use superconductors to create a magnetic field.

    The War Zone reports that the device could potentially produce more than a terawatt of energy while only taking in power in the kilowatt to megawatt range. We don’t currently have an energy source that can produce more power than is needed to create it.

    We’re getting close, though, according to Seeker. The International Nuclear Fusion Research, a collaborative experiment to build the largest-ever instrument that houses these reactions, called a tokamak, could do this when it boots up in 2025.

    Of course, developing the necessary infrastructure to get this energy out of the lab and into our cars and homes is still a long ways away. But we can still dream.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Eastern Shore, MD
    The US Navy knows a thing or two about nuclear stuff.

    Keep ignoring my rights and I'll keep ignoring your laws.

  3. #3
    Interesting that they would patent it, which requires disclosure, instead of keeping it secret. Maybe it's because they're lousy at keeping secrets, and at least this way they can make money off licensing.
    Better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Southwest (enjoy it!)
    I'll be impressed if and when some are built and are fully functional and in use. As of right now I am tired of hearing about a nuclear fusion reactor because I have been hearing about then since I was in high school and now I am retired.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    West Virginia
    The Chinese have already stole it by hacking and should have it in their newest ships in the next month or two.
    Last edited by Publius; 10-12-2019 at 04:40 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2001
    yankee baptist land
    So what happens if a plane with this reactor crashes or a boat with one of these sinks?

    Unintended consequences?
    ” Watch ye therefore and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man”
    Luke 21:36

    COLLAPSE NOW: avoid the rush

  7. #7
    Big secret? All over the net?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by jed turtle View Post
    So what happens if a plane with this reactor crashes or a boat with one of these sinks?

    Unintended consequences?
    As soon as the fusion reaction stops, everything stops. About the only concern is that the reactor vessel, depending upon the fuel mix and fusion reaction used, might be a bit "warm" from neutron capture.


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