New Copper Coil Polywell on the Scene

25 12 2009

Researchers at the University of Sydney have made a small Polywell device which looks like this:

Powerpoint slides of their research here.

Notice there is no metal exterior on the magrid. As far as I understand… instead of using a magrid with a shell at positive potential (like the WB6 does), they are shooting in electrons with kinetic energy from an electron gun.

This seems like a feasible way to build a copper coil polywell. If the researchers are willing and able to share the details of the experiment, I would explore replicating the device and results. It looks manageable:

Welding Shields

18 12 2009

In an attempt to protect the fragile coils while welding together the magrid, I’ve designed a magrid with welding shields:

I added code to generate closeups:

The lids have the female side of the welding shield:

USB Geiger Counter

15 12 2009

Got the sparkfun USB geiger counter working today.

The replacement PCB is a newer iteration. It bleeds the high voltage automatically. Nice upgrade.

You can read the data from the virtual com port with this command:

screen /dev/tty.usbserial-A800czX2

Each geiger count produces one random bit:

Dielectric Test

10 12 2009

I’ve come to a decision on what to build next.

It will be an inexpensive magrid. Not designed to be fully functional, but rather designed to test several immediate concerns:

1) The dielectric varnish between the coils and the magrid chassis. There will be a 30kV+ voltage difference between the coils and their container. The insulating varnish must be evenly applied to the coils. Varnished coils will be stiff and difficult to install. In an attempt to make the coils easier to install, I’m working on an open joint design like this:

2) Test out welding the magrid together. Can we weld this together without destroying the delicate coils inside?

3) Design first iteration of the standoff.

4) Test liquid nitrogen bath.

The machine would have 2 turns of superconducting YBCO and be made using the inexpensive prometal process as before. It will have thick walls to avoid the sagging we got last time.

I’m still working through the details, but this machine should be imminently build-able.

Beautiful Error

7 12 2009

While working on new connector nubs for the SC magrid, I produced this beautiful error:

Also while testing the USB geiger counter, a high voltage discharge vaporized the counter tube producing this beautiful error:

Spark fun is sending me a new one. Thank you!


7 12 2009

It’s 4:51 AM. I’m broadcasting live from WFMU with my friend Jesse on the Frow Show. Here is the show. We are layering the clicks from my geiger counter over ambient music:

What fun!

Heat Shield

1 12 2009

The red hot fusor grid reminds me  – I must address thermal issues from plasma, xrays and neutrons for polywell fusion without boiling the superconductor’s liquid nitrogen.

I asked for help with thermal modeling on the polywell talk forum. Good feedback.

Here is a rough draft of the superconducting magrid with a vacuum separated heat shield:

The trick is, the shield must have a gap so that you can weld the lid to the chassis. The welded magrid would have a gap in the shield along the midplane of the torus.

This gap would bring the vacuum between the heat shield and the inner superconductor holder. Well actually it would be  ~10 mToor of ionized deuterium.

This design does not include liquid water cooling. Although it’s easy to add cooling channels with the Arcam process, the real challenge is connecting fluid channels when you weld the lids onto the chassis.

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