"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. ------ IEC fusion is normally done with metal cages. The inner cage is negatively charged, and the outer cage is positively charged. This creates a voltage drop, just like in a battery. Protons see the negative center, fly in and crash into one another at the center, causing fusion. Why dont we pursue this as an answer to all our fusion needs? These devices take more energy then they could ever make. The metal cages kill the devices efficiency. This is why they were always excused by everyone as a dead end to power generation. However, they can be used for other things. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have been investigating IEC devices as a way to dispose of nuclear waste. They can burn nuclear waste in an IEC device. As was stated above, these devices always fail because of their metal cages. In 1984, Dr. Robert Bussard devised an IEC device which does not contain any metal grids. This device was called a polywell. In 2005, Dr. Bussard claimed to have achieved the world record for fusion using internal electrostatic fusion. This would be 200,000 times better than the previous record. Beyond this, Bussard claimed that the physical principals behind such a device were settled, thus paving the way for a pilot fusion power plant. This paper will offer a partial analysis of this concept, based on the claims made by Dr. Bussard. This is by no means a through analysis; its intent is to spark discussion about the validity of these claims. Analysis will mainly focus on looking for inconsistencies within Bussard own claims. In 1994 Todd Rider, did his doctorial thesis on all non-equilibrium plasma devices at MIT. Dr. Riders concluded that unless the reactor has highly efficient electron re-circulation, it will fail. "In virtually all cases, this minimum recirculation power is substantially larger than the fusion power, so barring discovery of methods for recirculation the power at exceedingly high efficiencies, reactors employing plasmas not in thermodynamic equilibrium will not be able to produce net power." (Rider, Thesis) It is clear; no efficient circulation of electrons and the machine fails. Riders work is often cited as the main argument against Bussards device. After investigation, it seems, Riders work does jive with Bussards. In the summer of 2005, Dr. Bussard came to the same conclusion rider did. In a letter he later recounted the discovery: The electrons can circulate out and back through the cusps all over the machine. Of course, this is obvious; but in 15 years no one saw it, not Hirsch, not our consultants not our opponents, not our staff, and not me." As it turns out, you needed 100,000 transits of electrons before you would get a fusion reaction. (Google Overview Paper). Why do you need re-circulation? Low energy electrons are re-excited by incoming high energy electrons; re-circulation conserves energy in the reactor. It also energizes the ion gas. 100,000 transits might be the high efficiencies Dr. Rider was referring too.
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Dr. Robert Terry - Polywell Fusion Reactors - 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention