Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lab Tools

I'm making a list of lab tools. Random jottings for now. If some Mechanical Engineers have suggestions - I'm a little light in that area - chime in in the comments and I will expand the list. Plus any EEs have ideas chime in. Or any one else.

No good suggestion refused.

Electronics Lab
Production Microscope
Spectrum Analyzer
Network Analyzer DC - 1 GHz
LCR Analyzer
HV DC and AC measuring eqpt.
Radio - 10 Hz to 1 GHz AM/FM/CW
Circuit Board Prototyper - LPKF or equivalent
High Speed sampling scope
High speed analog scope
Current probes

Mechanical Lab
CNC Mill - 17" or more travel + rotary table
CNC Table Top Mill
CNC Lathe - 36" or more between centers
CNC Lathe Table Top
Surface Grinder

Computer Lab
Logic Analyzer

Update: 05 N0v 007 1508z
Computer Lab added

Monday, October 29, 2007

It's Official

Defence News has a story up on the death of Dr. Robert Bussard in which they state that the US Navy has put up nearly $2 million to continue the research on the Bussard Reactor.
Robert Bussard, inventor of a promising method for producing energy from nuclear fusion, died Oct. 6. He was 79.

Bussard received nearly $2 million under a U.S. Navy contract in August to continue work on an inertial electrostatic confinement reactor he had developed. The reactor uses magnetic fields to confine electrons, whose negative charge causes protons and Boron 11 atoms to fuse. The fusion sets off a chain of reactions that produces electricity.
I have a bit to say about Dr. Bussard's life work at Dr. Bussard has died.

You can find out more about the Bussard reactor at the following urls.

Bussard Fusion Reactor
Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion
Bussard Reactor Funded
Dr. Bussard's Final Interview
IEC Fusion Newsgroup
IEC Fusion Technology blog

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Donations Requested

To keep this place running I could use some support of the financial variety. The ISP wants to get paid. The hard drive is running low on space. etc.

If you would like to help visit: Support Requested.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dr. Bussard's Final Interview

Tim Ventura has a 53 minute audio interview of Fusion Pioneer Dr. Robert Bussard at his site American Anti-Gravity. Let me give you a bit of what Tim has to say.
In our exclusive interview, Bussard describes the disenchantment with big-science Tokamak research that led him to return to the roots of Farnsworth-style fusion in the "Polywell" project that he initiated in 1986. Funded for over 20 years by the Department of the Navy, Bussard's EMC2 corporation was tasked with solving 19 fundamental challenges that stood in the way of designing commercially viable Farnsworth fusors - and in an unexpected twist, a race to bring the prototype online after project funding was cut in 2006.

Never straying far from the dream of manned spaceflight, Bussard's Polywell design is exceptional in being not only designed for high-efficiency, but also for portability - making it perfect for not only the Navy's intended use in powering ocean vessels and submarines, but also for providing high output thrust for proposed nuclear space-applications. Bussard's first intended application was an 8-foot diameter naval reactor capable of generating 100-megawatts of output energy, with the ultimate goal of using these reactors in high-velocity transorbital spacecraft capable of reaching the moon in less than 8 hours time.
To hear the audio go to Tim's site. He has links there. It is a most interesting talk and well worth your time. Dr. Bussard discusses his Fusion Reactor and other Fusion developments like Cold Fusion and Sonic Fusion. He explains why the last two, though real effects, are unlikely to lead to net power production.

Let me add that the US Navy funded Dr. Bussard's research this past August, about two months before he died. Two scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratories, one a long time friend of Dr. Bussard's, continue the work.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dr. Robert W. Bussard Has Passed

Tom Ligon who worked for Dr. Bussard has informed me that Dr. Bussard has died. A sad day for all of us in the IEC Fusion community. A great one has passed. We are all diminished by his loss.

Fortunately his work will continue. A whole community has developed to support his work:

EMC2 Fusion
IEC Fusion Newsgroup
IEC Fusion Technology blog
Talk Polywell
Open Source Fusor Research Consortium II
NASA Fusion/Spaceflight Forum

Dr. Bussard was well known to Star Trek fans for inventing the Bussard Ramjet.
The Bussard ramjet method of spacecraft propulsion was proposed in 1960 by the physicist Robert W. Bussard and popularized by Carl Sagan in the television series and subsequent book Cosmos as a variant of a fusion rocket capable of fast interstellar spaceflight. It would use a large ram scoop (on the order of kilometers to many thousands of kilometers in diameter) to compress hydrogen from the interstellar medium and fuse it. This mass would then form the exhaust of a rocket to accelerate the ramjet.

In the Star Trek fictional universe vessels commonly have magnetic hydrogen collectors, referred to as Bussard collectors or Bussard ramscoops. Those are seemingly fitted on the forward end of the twin "warp nacelles", and have a "reverse" function that allows for spreading hydrogen as well as sucking it in.
Dr. Bussard is also known for his recent work on the Polywell Fusion Reactor.
The Polywell is a gridless inertial electrostatic confinement fusion concept utilizing multiple magnetic mirrors. It was designed by Robert Bussard under a Navy research contract, and is intended to overcome the losses in the Farnsworth-Hirsch fusor to create fusion power.
Dr. Bussard has left a great legacy.
In 1960, Bussard conceived of the Bussard ramjet, an interstellar space drive powered by hydrogen fusion using hydrogen collected using a magnetic field from the interstellar gas.
Some of his earliest work was in the area of nuclear fission rockets.
In 1956, Bussard designed the nuclear thermal rocket known as project Rover.
Dr. Bussard initiated some of the first major work on nuclear fusion in the United States.
In the early 1970s Dr. Bussard became Assistant Director under Director Robert Hirsch at the Controlled Thermonuclear Reaction Division of what was then known as the Atomic Energy Commission. They founded the mainline fusion program for the United States: the Tokamak. Later, in June 1995, Bussard claimed in a letter to all fusion laboratories as well as to key members of US Congress, that he, along with the other founders of the program, supported the Tokamak not out of conviction that it was the best technical approach but rather as a vehicle for generating political support, thereby allowing them to pursue "all the hopeful new things the mainline labs would not try".
If you would like to see Dr. Bussarrd in action and learn a little more about the Polywell design you can find out more at Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion.

My tears are flowing but the work will continue. God bless you Dr. Bussard and Warp Speed.

Update: 09 Oct '007 0244z

Rand Simberg has some thoughts.
David Bullis at Jerry Pournelle's site had a few thoughts.

I also want to thank from the bottom of my heart Eric Scheie and Justin of Classical Values who got me interested in Dr. B's work with this post and this one.

The Fusor Net folks have some thoughts.
The Talk Polywell people add their thoughts.

Update: 09 Oct '007 2043z

You can hear Dr. Bussard and Tom Ligon on The Space Show. I was honored to be able to ask a question. You can listen to the May 8th, 2007 MP3 here.

New Energy and Fuel has a couple of posts up:

Dr. Robert W. Bussard Passes Away
Details On Dr. Robert W. Bussard Passing Away

I will be adding links without further comment or update notices. Check back:

Centuri Dreams
Dad2059’s Blog of Science Fiction
Focus Fusion Society

Cross Posted at Classical Values and Power and Control

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Two Manifolds

Here is a theory of the universe I came up with over the last few months. It may just be a crock but I'm having fun with it while awaiting the results of WB-7:

I have been working on a theory of the universe. It is probably stupid so if there are some physics guys out there who can critique this I'd appreciate it.

My theory says that the Universe consists of two manifolds at right angles to each other and that all particles in the two universes are traveling at the speed of light. Because of that relationship the Lorentz equation falls out naturally.

i.e. v12 + v22 = c2. Thus v22 = c2 - v12

with the subscript 1 standing for our universe (manifold) and subscript 2 standing for the manifold we can't "see".

I discuss how I came up with it at Talk Polywell.

The equivalence of matter and energy is intrinsic to such a formulation. What is mass in one manifold becomes energy in the connected manifold. And vice versa.

Let me add that I found this recently and it inspired me to keep thinking about the problem:

The discovery of the electron spin - S.A. Goudsmit. I'm another math challenged guy interested in Physics.