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Fusion power and the environment

Description: Environmental characteristics of conceptual fusion-reactor systems based on magnetic confinement are examined quantitatively, and some comparisons with fission systems are made. Fusion, like all other energy sources, will not be completely free of environmental liabilities, but the most obvious of these-- tritium leakage and activation of structural materials by neutron bombardment-- are susceptible to significant reduction by ingenuity in choice of materials and design. Large fusion reactors can probably be designed so that worst-case releases of radioactivity owing to accident or sabotage would produce no prompt fatalities in the public. A world energy economy relying heavily on fusion could make heavy demands on scarce nonfuel materials, a topic deserving further attention. Fusion's potential environmental advantages are not entirely ''automatic'', converting them into practical reality will require emphasis on environmental characteristics throughout the process of reactor design and engineering. The central role of environmental impact in the long-term energy dilemma of civilization justifies the highest priority on this aspect of fusion. (auth)
Date: June 1, 1975
Creator: Holdren, J.P.; Fowler, T.K. & Post, R.F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

MHD-Stabilization of Axisymmetric Mirror Systems Using Pulsed ECRH

Description: This paper, part of a continuing study of means for the stabilization of MHD interchange modes in axisymmertric mirror-based plasma confinement systems, is aimed at a preliminary look at a technique that would employ a train of plasma pressure pulses produced by ECRH to accomplish the stabilization. The purpose of using sequentially pulsed ECRH rather than continuous-wave ECRH is to facilitate the localization of the heated-electron plasma pulses in regions of the magnetic field with a strong positive field-line curvature, e. g. in the 'expander' region of the mirror magnetic field, outside the outermost mirror, or in other regions of the field with positive field-line curvature. The technique proposed, of the class known as 'dynamic stabilization,' relies on the time-averaged effect of plasma pressure pulses generated in regions of positive field-line curvature to overcome the destabilizing effect of plasma pressure in regions of negative field-line curvature within the confinement region. As will also be discussed in the paper, the plasma pulses, when produced in regions of the confining having a negative gradient, create transient electric potentials of ambipolar origin, an effect that was studied in 1964 in The PLEIDE experiment in France. These electric fields preserve the localization of the hot-electron plasma pulses for a time determined by ion inertia. It is suggested that it may be possible to use this result of pulsed ECRH not only to help to stabilize the plasma but also to help plug mirror losses in a manner similar to that employed in the Tandem Mirror.
Date: November 20, 2009
Creator: Post, R F
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fusion reactors as future energy sources

Description: From conference on energy policies and the international system; New, Delhi, India (4 Dec 1973). The need is now apparent for a global energy policy with the following characteristics: Compatibility with environmental and economic factors; large fuel resources, the recovery and exploration of which have minimal environmental impact and which do not introduce disturbing factors into the world political situation. Fusion power in this context is discussed, including assessments of its potential and of the problems yet to be solved in achieving its realization. The proposition is advanced that fusion should be considered as the ultimate source of energy, and that other sources of energy, including conventional nuclear power, should be considered as interim sources. (auth)
Date: January 1, 1973
Creator: Post, R.F. & Ribe, F.L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Controlled fusion physics: experimental

Description: A historical review is given of the experimental thermonuclear research program. The role of pinch devices, mirror machines, tokamak devices, and laser fusion is discussed. (MOW)
Date: October 23, 1975
Creator: Post, R.F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fusion research: the past is prologue

Description: At this juncture fusion research can be viewed as being at a turning point, a time to review its past and to imagine its future. Today, almost 50 years since the first serious attempts to address the daunting problem of achieving controlled fusion, we have both an opportunity and a challenge. Some predictions place fusion research today at a point midway between its first inception and its eventual maturation - in the middle of the 21st century - when fusion would become a major source of energy. Our opportunity therefore is to assess what we have learned from 50 years of hard work and use that knowledge as a starting point for new and better approaches to solving the fusion problem. Our challenge is to prove the "50 more years" prophesy wrong, by finding ways to shorten the time when fusion power becomes a reality. The thesis will be advanced that in the magnetic confinement approach to fusion open-ended magnetic confinement geometries offer much in responding to the challenge. A major advantage of open systems is that, owing to their theoretically and experimentally demonstrated ability to suppress plasma instabilities of both the MHD and the high-frequency wave-particle variety, the confinement becomes predictable from "classical," i.e., Fokker-Planck-type analysis. In a time of straitened budgetary circumstances for magnetic fusion research now being faced in the United States, the theoretical tractability of mirror-based systems is a substantial asset. In pursuing this avenue it is also necessary to keep an open mind as to the forms that mirror-based fusion power plants might take. For example, one can look to the high-energy physics community for a possible model: This community has shown the feasibility of constructing large and complex particle accelerators using superconducting magnets, vacuum chambers and complicated particle-handling technology, housed in underground tunnels that ...
Date: October 14, 1998
Creator: Post, R F
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Inductrack Approach to Magnetic Levitation

Description: Concepts developed during research on passive magnetic bearing systems at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory gave rise to a new approach to magnetic levitation, the Inductrack. A passive induced-current system employing permanent magnets on the moving vehicle, the Inductrack maximizes levitation forces by a combination of two elements. First, the permanent magnets on the vehicle are arranged in a ''Halbach array,'' a magnet configuration that optimally produces a periodic magnetic field below the array, while canceling the field above the array. Second, the track is made up of close-packed shorted electrical circuits. These circuits couple optimally to the magnetic field of the Halbach array. As a result, levitating forces of order 40 metric tonnes per square meter of Halbach array can be generated, using NdFeB magnets whose weight is a few percent of the levitated weight. Being an induced-current system, the levitation requires motion of the vehicle above a low transition speed. For maglev applications this speed is a few kilometers per hour, walking speed. At rest or in the station auxiliary wheels are needed. The Inductrack is thus fail-safe, that is, drive system failure would only result in the vehicle slowing down and finally settling on its auxiliary wheels. On the basis of theoretical analyses a small model vehicle and a 20-meter-long track was built and tested at speeds of order 12 meters per second. A second model, designed to achieve 10-g acceleration levels and much higher speeds, is under construction under NASA sponsorship, en route to the design of maglev-based launchers for rockets. Some of the presently perceived practical problems of implementing full-scale maglev systems based on the Inductrack concept will be discussed.
Date: April 19, 2000
Creator: Post, R.F. & Ryutov, D.D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Kinetic Stabilizer: Further Calculations and Options

Description: The Kinetic Stabilizer, employing injected and mirror-reflected ion beams, represents a method for stabilizing axisymmetric mirror and tandem mirror systems. Building on earlier work, this paper presents further calculations on the concept and explores some new options that promise to enhance its capabilities.
Date: June 19, 2002
Creator: Post, R.F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The ''Kinetic Stabilizer'': A Simpler Tandem Mirror Confinement?

Description: In the search for better approaches to magnetic fusion it is important to keep in mind the lessons learned in the 50 years that fusion plasma confinement has been studied. One of the lessons learned is that ''closed'' and ''open'' fusion devices differ fundamentally with respect to an important property of their confinement, as follows: Without known exception closed systems such as the tokamak, the stellarator, or the reversed-field pinch, have been found to have their confinement times limited by non-classical, i.e., turbulence-related, processes, leading to the requirement that such systems must be scaled-up in dimensions to sizes much larger than would be the case in the absence of turbulence. By contrast, from the earliest days of fusion research, it has been demonstrated that open magnetic systems of the mirror variety can achieve confinement times close to that associated with classical, i.e., collisional, processes. While these good results have been obtained in both axially symmetric fields and in non-axisymmetric fields, the clearest cases have been those in which the confining fields are solenoidal and axially symmetric. These observations, i.e., of confinement not enhanced by turbulence, can be traced theoretically to such factors as the absence of parallel currents in the plasma, and to the constraints on particle drifts imposed by the adiabatic invariants governing particle confinement in axisymmetric open systems. In the past the MHD instability of axially symmetric open systems has been seen as a barrier to their use. However, theory predicts MHD-stable confinement is achievable if sufficient plasma is present in the ''good curvature'' regions outside the mirrors. This theory has been confirmed by experiments on the Gas Dynamic Trap mirror-based experiment at Novosibirsk, In this paper a new way of exploiting this stabilizing principle, involving creating a localized ''stabilizer plasma'' outside a mirror, will be discussed. To ...
Date: June 15, 2000
Creator: Post, R.F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Ambient-temperature passive magnetic bearings: Theory and design equations

Description: Research has been underway at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to build a theoretical and experimental base for the design of ambient-temperature passive magnetic bearings for a variety of possible applications. in the approach taken the limitations imposed by Earnshaw`s theorem with respect to the stability of passive magnetic bearing systems employing axially symmetric permanent-magnet elements are overcome by employing special combinations of elements, as follows: Levitating and restoring forces are provided by combinations of permanent-magnet-excited elements chosen to provide positive stiffnesses (negative force derivatives) for selected displacements (i.e., those involving translations or angular displacement of the axis of rotation). As dictated by Eamshaw`s theorem, any bearing system thus constructed will be statically unstable for at least one of the remaining possible displacements. Stabilization against this displacement is accomplished by using periodic arrays (`Halbach arrays`) of permanent magnets to induce currents in close-packed inductively loaded circuits, thereby producing negative force derivatives stabilizing the system while in rotation. Disengaging mechanical elements stabilize the system when at rest and when below a low critical speed. The paper discusses theory and equations needed for the design of such systems.
Date: December 30, 1997
Creator: Post, R.F. & Ryutov, D.D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Mechanical beam isolator

Description: Back-reflections from a target, lenses, etc. can gain energy passing backwards through a laser just like the main beam gains energy passing forwards. Unless something blocks these back-reflections early in their path, they can seriously damage the laser. A Mechanical Beam Isolator is a device that blocks back-reflections early, relatively inexpensively, and without introducing aberrations to the laser beam.
Date: October 1996
Creator: Post, R. F. & Vann, C. S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Halbach array motor/generators: A novel generalized electric machine

Description: In August 1979, Halbach submitted a paper entitled ``Design of Permanent Multipole Magnets with Oriented Rare Earth Cobalt Material.`` In this paper, he presented a novel method of generating multipole magnetic fields using non-intuitive geometrical arrangements of permanent magnets. In subsequent publications, he further defined these concepts. Of particular interest to one of the authors (RFP) was the special magnet array that generated a uniform dipole field. In 1990 Post proposed the construction of an electric machine (a motor/generator) using a dipole field based on Klaus Halbach`s array of permanent magnets. He further proposed that such a system should be employed as an integral part of ``an electromechanical battery`` (EMB), i.e., a modular flywheel system to be used as a device for storing electrical energy, as an alternative to the electrochemical storage battery. This paper reviews Halbach`s theory for the generation of a dipole field using an array of permanent magnet bars, presents a simple analysis of a family of novel ``ironless`` electric machines designed using the dipole Halbach array, and describes the results obtained when they were tested in the laboratory.
Date: October 28, 1994
Creator: Merritt, B.T.; Post, R.F.; Dreifuerst, G.R. & Bender, D.A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Mirror-based fusion: some possible new directions

Description: This paper examines some possible areas for the study of new approaches to fusion research, ones that employ magnetic confinement systems based on open-ended field topology and employing the magnetic mirror principle. In the spirit of encouraging a wider look at possibilities, some unconventional approaches are suggested. These approaches, involving long linear systems having ion injectors and direct converters at their ends, attempt to exploit some inherent advantages of open-ended systems for fusion. The results of analysis, calculations and preliminary cost estimates for long linear systems of this type that utilize the magnetic mirror effect to achieve their operating regimes will be presented. The approaches suggested, when examined in greater depth, may not stand the test of time, but they might encourage thinking in new areas.
Date: July 16, 1998
Creator: Post, R F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Research on ambient temperature passive magnetic bearings at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Description: Research performed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on the equilibrium and stability of a new class of ambient-temperature passive bearing systems is described. The basic concepts involved are: (1) Stability of the rotating system is only achieved in the rotating state. That is, disengaging mechanical systems are used to insure stable levitation at rest (when Earnshaw`s theorem applies). (2) Stable levitation by passive magnetic elements can be achieved if the vector sum of the force derivatives of the several elements of the system is net negative (i.e. restoring) for axial, transverse, and tilt-type perturbations from equilibrium. To satisfy the requirements of (2) using only permanent magnet elements we have employed periodic ``Halbach arrays.`` These interact with passive inductive loaded circuits and act as stabilizers, with the primary forces arising from axially symmetric permanent-magnet elements. Stabilizers and other elements needed to create compact passive magnetic bearing systems have been constructed. Novel passive means for stabilizing classes of rotor-dynamic instabilities in such systems have also been investigated.
Date: April 1, 1997
Creator: Post, R.F.; Ryitov, D.D.` Smith, J.R. & Tung, L.S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Second Symposium on ``Current trends in international fusion research: review and assessment`` Chairman`s summary of session

Description: This session began with a keynote speech by B. Coppi of M.I.T., entitled: ``Physics of Fusion Burning Plasmas, Ignition, and Relevant Technology Issues.`` It continued with a second paper on the tokamak approach to fusion, presented by E. Mazzucato of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, entitled ``High Confinement Plasma Confinement Regime in TFTR Configurations with Reversed Magnetic Shear.`` The session continued with three talks discussing various aspects of the so-called ``Field Reversed Configuration`` (FRC), and concluded with a talk on a more general topic. The first of the three FRC papers, presented by J. Slough of the University of Washington, was entitled ``FRC Reactor for Deep Space Propulsion.`` This paper was followed by a paper by S. Goto of the Plasma Physics Laboratory of Osaka University in Japan, entitled ``Experimental Initiation of Field-Reversed Configuration (FRC) Toward Helium-3 Fusion.`` The third of the FRC papers, authored by H. Mimoto and Y. Tomito of the National Institute for Fusion Science, Nagoya, Japan, and presented by Y. Tomita was entitled ``Helium-3 Fusion Based on a Field-Reversed Configuration.`` The session was concluded with a paper presented by D. Ryutov of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory entitled: ``A User Facility for Research on Fusion Systems with Dense Plasmas.``
Date: February 26, 1998
Creator: Post, R.F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Open-ended magnetic confinement systems for fusion

Description: Magnetic confinement systems that use externally generated magnetic fields can be divided topologically into two classes: ``closed`` and `open``. The tokamak, the stellarator, and the reversed-field-pinch approaches are representatives of the first category, while mirror-based systems and their variants are of the second category. While the recent thrust of magnetic fusion research, with its emphasis on the tokamak, has been concentrated on closed geometry, there are significant reasons for the continued pursuit of research into open-ended systems. The paper discusses these reasons, reviews the history and the present status of open-ended systems, and suggests some future directions for the research.
Date: May 1, 1995
Creator: Post, R.F. & Ryutov, D.D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Comments on open-ended magnetic systems for fusion

Description: Differentiating characteristics of magnetic confinement systems having externally generated magnetic fields that are open'' are listed and discussed in the light of their several potential advantages for fusion power systems. It is pointed out that at this stage of fusion research high-Q'' (as deduced from long energy confinement times) is not necessarily the most relevant criterion by which to judge the potential of alternate fusion approaches for the economic generation of fusion power. An example is given of a hypothetical open-geometry fusion power system where low-Q operation is essential to meeting one of its main objectives (low neutron power flux).
Date: September 24, 1990
Creator: Post, R.F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Some applications of mirror-generated electric potentials to alternative fusion concepts

Description: Transient electrical potentials can be generated in plasmas by utilizing impulsive mirror-generated forces acting on the plasma electrons together with ion inertia to cause momentary charge imbalance. In the Mirrortron such potentials are generated by applying a rapidly rising (tens of nanoseconds) localized mirror field to the central region of a hot-electron plasma confined between static mirrors. Because of the loss-cone nature of the electron distribution the sudden appearance of the pulsed mirror tends to expel electrons, whereas the ion density remains nearly constant. The quasi-neutrality condition then operates to create an electrical potential the equipotential surfaces of which can be shown theoretically to be congruent with surfaces of constant B. An alternative way of generating transient potentials is to apply a pulse of high-power microwaves to a plasma residing on a magnetic field with a longitudinal gradient. This technique resembles one employed in the Pleiade experiments. At gigawatt power levels, such as those produced by a Free Electron Laser, the production of very high transient potentials is predicted. Fusion-relevant applications of these ideas include heavy-ion drivers for inertial fusion, and the possibility of employing these techniques to enhance the longitudinal confinement of fusion plasmas in multiple-mirror systems. 23 refs., 3 figs.
Date: September 24, 1990
Creator: Post, R.F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Studies of the Mirrortron ion accelerator concept and its application to heavy-ion drivers

Description: The Mirrortron accelerator is a plasma-based ion accelerator concept that, when implemented, should permit both higher acceleration gradients and higher peak-current capabilities than is possible with conventional induction-type accelerators. Control over the acceleration and focussing of an accelerated beam should approach that achieved in vacuum-field-based ion accelerators. In the Mirrortron a low density (10{sup 10} to 10{sup 11} cm{sup {minus}3}) hot electron'' plasma is confined by a long solenoidal magnetic field capped by mirrors.'' Acceleration of pre-bunched ions is accomplished by activating a series of fast-pulsed mirror coils spaced along the acceleration tube. The hot electrons, being repelled by mirror action, leave the plasma ions behind to create a localized region of high electrical gradient (up to of order 100 MV/m). At the laboratory an experiment and analyses to elucidate the concept and its scaling laws as applied to heavy-ion drivers are underway and will be described. 4 refs., 5 figs.
Date: November 30, 1990
Creator: Post, R.F.; Schwager, L.A. (Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA (USA)); Douglass, S.R.; Jones, B.R.; Lambert, M.A. & Larson, D.L. (California Univ., Davis, CA (USA). Dept. of Applied Science)
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Some implications for mirror research of the coupling between fusion economics and fusion physics

Description: The thesis is made that physics understanding and innovation represent two of the most important ingredients of any program to develop fusion power. In this context the coupling between these and the econmics of yet-to-be realized fusion power plants is explored. The coupling is two-way: realistic evaluations of the economic (and environmental) requirements for fusion power systems can influence the physics objectives of present-day fusion research programs; physics understanding and innovative ideas can favorably impact the future economics of fusion power systems. Of equal importance is the role that physics/innovation can have on the time scale for the first practical demonstration of fusion power. Given the growing worldwide need for long-term solutions to the problem of energy it is claimed to be crucial that fusion research be carried out on a broad base and in a spirit that both facilitates the growth of physics understanding and fosters innovation. Developing this theme, some examples of mirror-based fusion system concepts are given that illustrate the coupling here described.
Date: January 1, 1980
Creator: Post, R.F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Symposium: new trends in unconventional approaches to magnetic fusion

Description: An extensive review of the meeting is given. The concepts discussed included reverse-field pinches, compact tori, advanced stellarators, multipoles, surface magnetic confinement systems, the bumpy torus, and a collection of mirror-based approaches. (MOW)
Date: April 5, 1983
Creator: Post, R.F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department