Thursday, July 21, 2005


(image courtesy

Here is an article that shows promise for small-scale fusion. Scientists at Purdue have acheived results indicating that they have produced a successful nuclear fusion reaction in a small laboratory setting.

“’The two key signatures for a fusion reaction are emission of neutrons in the range of 2.5 MeV and production of tritium, both of which were seen in these experiments..’”

The mechanism for producing the reaction in this experiment is called ‘acoustic cavitation.’ Sound waves are used to cause the formation of micro bubbles in a fluid. When these bubbles implode, they produce tremendous heat and pressure, albeit on a small scale.

“Researchers have estimated that temperatures inside the imploding bubbles reach 10 million degrees Celsius and pressures comparable to 1,000 million earth atmospheres at sea level.”

These conditions mimic the fusion reactions within the sun and also - what scientists are trying to duplicate on a larger scale - the Tokamak (magnetic confinement fusion) and high energy lasers (inertial confinement fusion).

The development of ANY form of small scale controlled fusion would be fantastic:

“Development of a low-cost thermonuclear fusion generator would offer the potential for a new, relatively safe and low-polluting energy source. Whereas conventional nuclear fission reactors make waste products that take thousands of years to decay, the waste products from fusion plants would be short-lived, decaying to non-dangerous levels in a decade or two. For the same unit mass of fuel, a fusion power plant would produce 10 times more energy than a fission reactor, and because deuterium is contained in seawater, a fusion reactor's fuel supply would be virtually infinite. A cubic kilometer of seawater would contain enough heavy hydrogen to provide a thousand years' worth of power for the United States.”

Is it time for Mr. Fusion?


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