Experimental Fun

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I had been wanting to build a Fusion Reactor for a about 4 years now, they have always fascinated me. Even though it doesn't produce surplus energy as of yet, they are quite something to look at. Also highly dangerous as are most of my projects :) 


I was lucky enough to find a nice dome glass vacuum chamber for my reactor in a skip bin a few years back. I also collected a wire protein shaker ball quite some time ago as I thought I may be able to use it in my reactor some day, I did eventually replaced it with a much smaller stainless steel ball coil fashioned out of SS cable ties.


Extract from Wikipedia: 

Fusion power is energy generated by nuclear fusion. Fusion reactions fuse two lighter atomic nuclei to form a heavier nucleus. It is a major area of plasma physics research that attempts to harness such reactions as a source of large scale sustainable energy. Fusion reactions are how stars transmute matter into energy. 


For the full Wikipedia article click here: Fusion Power

I made my way to Bunnings to collect some materials to make the stand, I used mainly pine wood and mdf board to make the stand. 

The control for the incoming power is a dual isolator, which means it isolates both active and neutral. I have also installed one 16A circuit breaker and one 25A circuit breaker. The circuit breakers feed one power point each, the power points are located on the sides of the control panel. The gauge tells me the amount of vacuum within the glass vacuum chamber. I used a refrigeration compressor and an air compressor in series originally as the vacuum system. The refrigeration compressor eventually failed and was replaced with a proper vacuum pump in series with the air compressor. The air compressor pulled a pretty good vacuum given it wasn't intended for that purpose.

 

The power supply for the Fusion Reactor is my Jacobs Ladder made of MOTs (microwave oven transformers).





The large wire sphere produced a beautiful white glow on full vacuum, but the plasma was not concentrated enough.



I wanted to try seeing what a magnetic field would do to the plasma. The magnetic field does remove any visible plasma from the outer edges of the vacuum chamber and off the anode, but it does not as yet create a more concentrated plasma ball in the center of the wire sphere. After adding a second layer of magnet wire to the outside of the vacuum chamber this did cause a tighter concentration of plasma to form. But the magnetic field can only be operated for a few seconds due to heating. 



The setup prior to adding the control switches and circuit breakers.



I am using one of my other projects (Jacobs Ladder) as the power supply, it puts out AC so I needed to convert it to DC using a full wave bridge rectifier. All the diodes have been encapsulated in resin to prevent any arcing and reduce the hazard of electric shocks. The rating of the bridge rectifier is a max of 8000 Volts @ 2.5Amps or 20KWs of power. But  of course I will only be putting in a max supply of 4000 volts at 1.25Amps or 5KWs of power.




I used 10mm thick perspex as the base for the vacuum chamber, and a spark plug tapped into the perspex as the negative hv input. A piece of straight copper tubing was soldered to the spark plug and then insulated. (the insulation  eventually deteriorated due to the high temperatures and was replaced with another spark plug, so I ended up with two spark plugs one on the outside and the other on the inside. 

After rebuilding the cathode with new spark plugs I downsized the wire sphere to no bigger than a 10 cent piece. The reduction in size yeilded positive results, the plasma seemed more concentrated in the center of the sphere which is the what I was hoping for.

The project is one of my most power hungry devices so far. The Jacobs Ladder power supply uses 5KW, the electro-magnet surrounding the vacuum chamber uses up to 3KW and the vacuum system uses 2.1KW, totaling 10.1KW!

All in all I am pleased with the outcome of the project and will continue to experiment on it as time goes on. And maybe attempt to turn it from a demo model into a proper fusor by injecting Deuterium into the reactor, of course after proper shielding has been put in place or a version 2.0...


The original large wire sphere can be seen in this video.





In this video you see the upgraded smaller wire sphere. Also part of the way through the video I switched on the electro-magnet surrounding the chamber, the effects of the magnetic field can be seen on the plasma and also it affected the camera causing the lines in the footage.