Creating a Vacuum

Hello to all following this,

Over the past few weeks the department overhauled the lab and the contents.  Bill and Jonthan, my two advisors, went out and purchased a spot welder, air torch, and tons of misc tools.  The lab is really looking spot on now.  I believe we’ll be able to build everything key to the project.

Also,  all the vacuum equipment, including the chamber and the pump,  have come in.  Check out the lab:

The lab as of now.

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Power Supply Data

Finally got around of charting the voltage data for our old power supply.

It has a top end of what we expected after testing it to only 85%.  The reason why we don’t have data for 85%  and up is due to coronas.  Corona shouldn’t occur on our actually chamber, which will allow us to get to 18KV.

Our advisor, Jonathan, also bought a 30KV supply that won’t put out as much current as the BAX-30-70-NRL.

Bertan 825 30KV Power Supply.

Can’t wait to test out the supplies and make some plasma.

-BK

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Humming Right Along

Hello All,

The last month has been used to mainly discuss how the vacuum chamber should be built.  There’s basically a few main geometries that we could chose from.  On the fusor forum, there’s one predominate style: spherical.

Ignore the nubs; see how the main body is spherical?

The spherical chamber has a few advantages.  Firstly, it simplifies the whole thing.  There only needs to be one grid, the inner one.  Secondly, its spherical design allows for tons of ports to be added to it, which means more data, instruments, or experimentation.  The disadvantages are that if the device was to be used by a future classmate it would be hard to adopt it.  Also the spherical chamber would have to be professionally manufactured which would take about 6 weeks and 1000 dollars.

Although we have the money, we don’t have the time.

We eventually designed our chamber off of a “4 way cross”.  The design will not be as easy to assemble as the spherical chamber, but we’ve come up with all the solutions.  Our design was heavily influenced by the University of Wisconsin’s IEC device:

Our chamber, created in auto cad with the help of the Kurt J Lesker drawings. Named the Gol3tron after our good friend, Adam Goler.

Compare it to Wisconsin’s design:

Wisconsin has a very similar design for their chamber, just bigger, badder, and more precise.

We also have started buying things.  We picked up a pump for 200 bucks thats good to 10^-4 Torr and a high voltage probe.  Hopefully we will start building the chamber next week.

Updates in the next week.

-BK

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A power supply that’s older than I am

My 30,000 Volt 70 milliAmpere power supply I found in the "morgue" of the physics department

I have recently started testing the 30KV DC power supply that I have via a high voltage divider circuit. Its fairly old (1979), but has been sitting dormant for I would say a decade or so.  Its hard to believe that its almost 10 years older than I am and still working.

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What’s a fusor?

So I’ve introduced a few basic scientific concepts ranging from what fusion is to what a plasma is.  Now lets talk about the fusor.

A fusor is a device that uses high voltages to confine and collide particles, as I’ve said before.  It does this by having two things:

  • High voltage power supply and high voltage spherical grids.
  • A vacuum chamber and a vacuum pump.

Here’s the schematic from the variant I will be making, the Hirsch-Meeks fusor:

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What is fusion!?

Hello Internet,

Around two years ago I became interested in a scientific project that allowed amateurs to perform nuclear fusion, for a modest price.  This was during my sophomore year of college at American University.  Now that I’m in the last semester of my senior year  I feel comfortable that I can properly construct one of these

NOT the creator of the fusor.
Professor Farnsworth was named after Philo Farnsworth.

devices myself.  This device is known as a ‘fusor’.  It was originally created by Philo Farnsworth (the inventor of the television not the professor from Futurama).  For a scientifically unsavy person a fusor can be a little complicated.  Here’s the short version:  A fusor uses electric forces to confine and shoot ions.  Ions are just atoms that have been stripped of some electric charge; they’re not electrically neutral.  If the fusor shoots the ions hard enough, they can collide together and start a fusion reaction.  Wait!  Stop right here!  Disregard anything you have ever heard about fusion.  No, there is no such thing as cold fusion.  No, fusion is not science fiction.  Yes, fusion has been done on Earth before (a lot infact!).  Let me explain a few things to you so you can understand what we’ll be doing and how we’ll do it.  Well get back to the fusor in a bit.

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