"Someday, they said, if they're right, a machine just 20 times bigger could run the city of Santa Fe." - The Santa Fe News Imagine if you could spend 200,000 dollars on a machine, which satisfied all your energy needs. Imagine there was a machine which produced bountiful electricity with no carbon footprint and no radiation. Imagine if that machine held the capacity to make space exploration a real possibility. If that were true, then such a machine would be the greatest invention of our time. That is a big IF. That is the claim that Dr. Robert Bussard is making with his Polywell device. He is claiming that he has designed a machine which will create bountiful energy, with no radiation and no carbon footprint. Such a claim is hard to stomach. It is hard to believe. This video attempts to take a hard look at this claim. Where does it make sense? Where does it falter? How valid is it, from a rough engineering analysis. This is by no means comprehensive. I do not claim to be an expert. Hopefully, this will spark a conversation, and further investigation by honest experts, into this validity of this device. -------------- Ideally, you want the kinetic pressure of the electrons balanced by the magnetic field pressure. Bussard made a ratio out of these: This is his beta condition, which he references at Google, and in his Valencia paper. The highest beta can reach is 1; at beta equals 1 condition, the Whiffle ball containment is formed. Above one and any extra electrons would simply escape the containment at the holes of the Whiffle Ball. Bussard claims that these hole sizes are 1.5-2 times the electron gyro radii at whatever energy level they are at. Computer simulations were done, examining this Whiffle ball effect, a picture of this effect is shown below: This work was done by a hobbyist, Indrek Mandre, in Estonia, in 2007. Indrek created simulations and animations of the magnetic fields, the electron and proton movement inside the reactor. Bussard makes reference to a 1.5-dimensional Vlasov-Maxwell code. In his Valencia paper, Bussard states that Whiffle ball confinement is critical to net power. Mr. Mandre said that his simulation would not get the Whiffle Ball effect; however he lacked the technical training, computer power, and completeness of model to simulate the effect properly. Mr. Mandre did form a cloud of electrons in the center, achieving a virtual cathode. This cathode could not create the 10 kV (with a 12.5 kV drive voltage) potential drop that Bussard claimed. This number seemed so high that Indrek did not believe it. Bussard claims that he can reach such a high potential drop because of the critical Whiffle ball effect. Many physicists see this as the biggest issue with the Polywell machine. On November 9th 2005, Dr. Bussard got 2.5E9 fusion reactions per second, for 0.4 milliseconds. He fused deuterium and deuterium (the easiest fusion reaction possible). The device ran on 12.5 kilovolts, with a well of 10 kV. He got this well by biasing his core with about 1E6 more electrons then protons. His magnetic field strength was 1300 Gauss, his vacuum was about 10E-9 Torr. The device used had a diameter of 30 cm. Because the electrons were moving at 10^9 cm/second theyre on a deferent time scale causing their lifetime to be 0.1 microsecond. This implies that the mean recirculation path of an electron in the reactor is 1/1000 of a centimeter.
Dr. Robert Terry - Polywell Fusion Reactors - 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention