Wednesday, May 4, 2011


My post about Bussard's fusion device is still the most popular post that I've written. Far be it for me to ignore that when I want to get my audience interested enough to come back here. So write about it I will.

I wrote that I didn't understand the Polywell device. The thing that I didn't understand was how could such a small device contain something hot enough to fuse hydrogen? It requires enormous amounts of heat. How was this possible?

I've probably written this before, but I can't locate the post. At the risk of repeating myself, I came to understand it by watch Tom Ligon's presentation on YouTube. The fact is, Polywell doesn't require heat to do the fusion. It is done, as best as I can describe it, by electricity. In particular, the electrical potential which can be measured in electron volts. It turns out that electron volts can be expressed in terms of degrees Kelvin. Bingo!

Now I got it. Energy can be expressed in more ways than one. Kinetic energy is nothing more than motion of matter. It might be hard to see it that way, but, admittedly from someone not trained in physics, it appears to be the case. For example, in a television set, there is enough electron volts there to melt the whole thing, so why doesn't that happen? I think it has something to do with the electromagnetic spectrum. In order to have heat, the electrical energy has to be converted into infrared radiation. That is felt as heat. As long as no infrared radiation is produced, your TV won't melt. But it will produce visible light, which allows you to watch images on a screen. Visible light is on the electromagnetic spectrum, but not on the same wavelength as infrared. And kinetic energy is also energy, but is expressed as motion of matter. Electromagnetic energy is expressed as wavelengths of particles.

Cold fusion has been debunked, supposedly, but if there is no heat, it must be cold, right? I mean, it doesn't have to be in billions of degrees. It can be in thousands or ten thousands of electron volts. Fusion can take place under those conditions and has taken place under those conditions. Therefore, it doesn't take a huge tokomak structure to produce fusion. It can be done with a smaller device, like a polywell, or focus fusion device. Or other approaches.

Conventional wisdom has been written about here too. It so happens that conventional wisdom is often wrong. That because certain fallacies are allowed to take hold and that is what dominates thinking from then on. So when cold fusion gets debunked, the only alternative must be hot fusion done by tokomaks, right? Well, wrong. But that is what people come to think and it is unfortunate.

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