Date: April 1, 1957
Creator: Saenger, E.
Description: The astrophysical theory of stationary nuclear reactions in stars is applied to the conditions that would be met in the practical engineering cases that would differ from the former, particularly with respect to the much lower combustion pressures, dimensions of the reacting volume, and burnup times. This application yields maximum rates of hear production per unit volume of reacting gas occurring at about 10(exp 8) K in the cases of reactions between the hydrogen isotopes, but yields higher rates for heavier atoms. For the former, with chamber pressures of the order of 100 atmospheres, the energy production for nuclear combustion reaches values of about 10(exp 4) kilocalories per cubic meter per second, which approaches the magnitude for the familiar chemical fuels. The values are substantially lower for heavier atoms, and increase with the square of the combustion pressure. The half-life of the burnup in the fastest reactions may drop to values as low as those for chemical fuels so that, despite the high temperature, the radiated energy can remain smaller than the energy produced, particularly if an inefficiently radiating (i.e., easily completely ionized reacting material like hydrogen), is used. On the other hand, the fraction of completely ionized particles in ...
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