Need a weekend project around the house? Mark Suppes, web developer by day, has built his own nuclear fusion reactor in a Brooklyn workspace. It kind of makes that project car you've got rusting in the garage seem lame by comparison.
Suppes' reactor – it's about the size of an air conditioning unit with some extra bells and whistles attached – isn't the answer to the world's energy problems, at least not yet. He joins a list of 37 others recognized by the online community Fusor.net as having achieved homemade fusion (among them is a 15-year-old in Michigan). But his reactor is unique in the sense that it sits smack in America's most densely populated city, and one in which the very word "nuclear" causes discomfort.
But rest easy, Brooklynites. Reactors of this kind are both legal and safe. It uses no fissile materials like uranium or plutonium that are associated with nuclear weapons, and it produces no pollution or other byproduct, other than heat. Suppes' reactor uses deuterium gas to fuel his reactor, which essentially creates an ideal atmosphere for fusion before mashing neutrons together at high energy.
While all the components of Suppes' machine – including the deuterium gas – were acquired through legal channels, some of it is somewhat dangerous. His power supply provides 30,000 volts, and his reactor does put off a negligible amount of radiation as it smashes neutrons together.
Suppes' reactor does not generate any more power than he puts into it, and as such is not the golden fusion generator scientists hope will fuel the future with clean, cheap energy. But at some point Suppes hopes to go much bigger, attracting the funding to build what's known as a Bussard reactor that will break-even when it comes to energy input and output. In the meantime, to see what Suppes is doing in his makeshift lab firsthand, check out the BBC's video package on the amateur physicist, or check out this extensive feature from Gizmodo.
Yea Well i put in a new shelf in my garage. I even ran electrical so i could have a lamp on it. I also got first comment...
You can't claim its a fusion reactor when its a box that give off as much heat as energy you put in. I bought a $20 garage space heater that does the same thing.
"Suppes' reactor uses deuterium gas to fuel his reactor, which essentially creates an ideal atmosphere for fusion before mashing neutrons together at high energy"
IT SMASHES AND FUSES NEUTRONS TOGETHER!!! READ THE ARTICLE!
Yeah, but this guy didn't do anything new or special. It has been done before many times. It was a waste. It was of no scientific value except to boost his big ego.
I don't understand why massive scientific labs, corporations or govt would not putting more time and $ into fusion.
@cruzinmy64 "to boost his big ego"
Really? Fer real?
The article says he's the 37th, idk if that's "many" times, and it cites his intentions of upscaling to a larger one that breaks even on energy. I'm sure scientists like all the data they can get when it comes to this, especially if they are all slightly varied.
Fusors do not smash neutrons together. They feature a charged grid that when deuterium gas is charged and enters the chamber, the deuterium accelerates towards that grid. Some of the gas will impact the grid and heat it up, others will miss and (hopefully) impact each other at the center with enough force to cause fusion.
When Deuterium-Deuterium or Deuterium-Tritium is fused, they eject a high energy neutron which is captured and turned into heat to power a turbine. This is also how Tokamaks are going to produce their thermal energy. The magnetically contained plasma will confine the D-T and when temperatures reach the critical point of fusion, they will eject High energy neutrons which are not contained by the magnetic field. These neutrons can then escape the chamber and be "collected" to heat up a working fluid for energy production.
I wish I had a garage.
There is an increasing work on cold fusion in recent years.
And since it requires a much simpler device than hot fusion, I think amateur people should better try to work on that instead.
I hope my neighbor is not making stars in his garage :) just kidding, this is cool stuff...
Considering all the efforts and money that have been put in fusion by thousands of physicists without any success up to now (this is over 60 years of research), I'm very sceptic about any chance of M. Suppes to get to the berak-even point.
I think this guy is North Korean defector.
If my son and daughter-in-law would get their crap out of my garage ...
Wait. Maybe they have something in there I could make a fusion reactor with.
" nothing special " " a waste of time " ... really is that what you think ? Because if so you are demonstrating your ignorance of science .
37 people in the world have put somthing like this together . That's nothing . I don't think his ego plays into it much . I'm sure he felt satisfaction after he completed the project to be expected.
When I built my crystal set radio years ago with my father I was happy that we did it and didn't say before we started , " well this has been done many times so let's not do it ,waste of time " I learned alot at the time and that's supremely Important in this world . If nobody ever tried to build anything we'd be a pretty sad bunch of apes wouldn't we .
I have my own atom, electron, neutron, whats it tron, smasher in my garage too. Its called a hammer! When I hit things with it really hard, they tend to break and sometimes they get warm in the process and bits and pieces fly about.
It was just the other day, I fused a nail to a piece of wood with my hammer.
"Big deal" -wowlfie
"this guy didn't do anything new or special." "You can't claim its [sic] a fusion reactor" "a waste of time" "boost his big ego" -cruzinmy64
Okay then, YOU MAKE ONE.
Until then, all I see are a bunch of trolls who have no idea about the effort needed.
" I contemplated taking a quantitative segment of time, to relinquish my automotive reservoir with petroleum desolate.
I am thinking about taking a break and filling up my gas tank. "
Just because this guy made a fancy light bulb in his garage, does not mean he made any kind of great achievement.
Wow, I can surely sense all the penis envy here. Fusors never could or will break-even. What would drive me to ever build a fusor is not to break-even or even to help contribute any new science. What would drive me is when fusing light nuclei, you are essentially creating a microstar- that is Fucking cool as hell. Now all of you go back to putting together jigsaw puzzles in your free time.
So what is needed to make a worthwhile fusion reactor?
Isn't the sun's fusion powered by its intense gravity?
I'm no scientist, but I think that maybe we should invent gravity generators first to accomplish meaningful fusion reactors.
Yeah...we should definitely invent gravity generators. Now...how exactly does gravity work? Anyone?
Nice work Mark Suppes! Those of us anxiously watching research into the Bussard Polywell Fusor are happy to see more interest being shown. I hope Suppes gets to build one. Any news on the Navy-sponsored WB-7.1 and WB-8 projects? The Polywell concept is (so far) very promising...and the research is vastly less expensive than the magnetic confinement and laser-ignition experiments.
Let's report this guy to Al Gore for wasting energy.
He's the 38th, not the 37th.
rpenri, look up Einstein's Equivalence Principle.
Isn't the phrase "impact/with enough force" another way of saying "mashing/together/at high energy"? And the gas itself does not fuse, the subatomic particles in the nuclei of the atoms that make up the gas do (aka protons and NEUTRONS!), hence the term "nuclear fusion". There is no exact way that nuclear fusion must be obtained other than the nuclei of atoms must be fused, so if this guy did it by smashing neutrons together then fine, why doubt it? And I think the writters of a magazine called "Popular Science" would know a form of nuclear fusion when they see it and would not have to make up a story to explain how it works. So by saying they got it wrong, you called them liars, and I don't see any way that can be true.
Alkyar, the article specifically says "mashing neutrons together". Neutrons do not fuse together. The nuclei from the deuterium atoms fuse, and that fusing produces helium-3 plus a neutron. That free neutron is what will produce thermal energy in a tokamak reactor. For example, since neutrons have no charge they can escape the magnetic field containing the plasma. People make mistakes and the article was wrong.
Also, if you detect neutrons you can know that you are fusing the deuterium into helium-3.
Thinking to myself: "...
I can only imagine his garage is really bright and easy to see around in, warm too. I wonder if he exposed himself to any type of radiation? I wonder if he'll develope anytime of radiation induce cancer years from now? I should think his electric company loves him, but his neighbors loath him as their own lights dim in their homes..."
You can find a lot of good stuff on the sidebar at - IEC Fusion Technology - about fusion - Polywell fusion - fusors - and stuff.
so then, wouldn't it make sense to use the property of beryllium to make a better neutron propagator?