Tri-Alpha recent patent reject.

Point out news stories, on the net or in mainstream media, related to polywell fusion.

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chrismb
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Tri-Alpha recent patent reject.

Post by chrismb »

Oh dear. They seem to be falling like flies recently. Another October reject.

The USPTO is no longer taking 'fusion energy' as something that can be easily claimed [any more], so it seems. A few tid-bits:

Image

Image

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... and so it goes on in that vein for 15 pages...

Enginerd
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Re: Tri-Alpha recent patent reject.

Post by Enginerd »

chrismb wrote:The USPTO is no longer taking 'fusion energy' as something that can be easily claimed [any more], so it seems.
So it seems. And good for the USPTO for finally taking a stand....
They need to prove that what they are seeking a patent on either already exists and has a working model that proves their claims, or they need to provide a detailed and fully worked out basis in physics for supposing that their theories just might work. If somebody wants a patent, they need to describe it sufficiently for someone "skilled in the art" to replicate the contraption. That is after all what society receives back in exchange for giving, for a limited time, "to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

Image

krenshala
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Post by krenshala »

I think I can agree with the finding that, basically, they need less assumptions and more details on what works. However, I find it interesting that the rejection includes
It is known that over the years in the nuclear fusion art, there have been many nuclear fusion concepts presented as operable, viable alternatives to such nuclear fusion concepts as the Tokamak.
The way this is worded, it appears to me to be an assumption that Tokamaks "work" (the other thread notwithstanding, Chris. :D) for providing power from fusion, when my understanding is that ITER and friends are still working out just how to get a Tokamak to "work", and it hasn't really been confirmed as a "... viable (alternative) for nuclear fusion power".

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

I thought the funniest part was the implicit assertion that tokamaks have generally operated as envisioned. I really wonder who wrote that.
n*kBolt*Te = B**2/(2*mu0) and B^.25 loss scaling? Or not so much? Hopefully we'll know soon...

KitemanSA
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Re: Tri-Alpha recent patent reject.

Post by KitemanSA »

Enginerd wrote: Image
Thanks, this is perhaps my favorite cartoon (comic?) of all time. I face this kind of thinking all the time in my work with defense department contractors. :D

chrismb
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Post by chrismb »

krenshala wrote:The way this is worded, it appears to me to be an assumption that Tokamaks "work" (the other thread notwithstanding, Chris. :D)
Yeah, my funny-bone noticed that too. At least the examiner refers to tokamaks as 'a concept' but might've been better to suggest that ALL concepts have failed to work as anticipated.

BenTC
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Post by BenTC »

cartoon wrote:Then a miracle occurs
Reminds me years ago at Uni, there was quite a difficult assignment question to prove equation A can be derived into equation B. One student had the audacity to use the following method:
  1. Start at the top of page 1 and continually expand equation A forwards until it spreads over several lines.
  2. Start at the bottom of page 2 and continually expand backwards from equation B until it spreads over several lines.
  3. Keep going until the two unrelated expansions meet.
The bastard got full marks.
In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

Tom Ligon
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Post by Tom Ligon »

Part of the problem with patent applications is, if you fail to get the patent, you've let the cat out of the bag.

The cat, in this case, is the wording on electrons. I'm not an expert on the field-reversed configurations, but I had assumed it was basically a thermal magnetic confinement device. In that case, I wondered how they expected to burn boron, and why their math has so many similarities to the Polywell.

I'll look closer now, since they appear to intend a way to confine electrons that leaves them cold. There is still the question of making the art clear and proof that it works, but at least I have a better notion of intent.

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

BenTC,

That really happens? I thought that was just an xkcd.
n*kBolt*Te = B**2/(2*mu0) and B^.25 loss scaling? Or not so much? Hopefully we'll know soon...

Betruger
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Post by Betruger »

It does. A lucky dork at my campus got full grade on his final philosophy exam for answering "why not?" to the question "Why?", and walking out in the first couple minutes. Everyone else sweated it for hours.

icarus
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Post by icarus »

Tom:
I'm not an expert on the field-reversed configurations, but I had assumed it was basically a thermal magnetic confinement device. In that case, I wondered how they expected to burn boron, and why their math has so many similarities to the Polywell.
Tri-alpha is not proposing a conventional FRC in this patent but one with a quite a twist. It has a contained core of electrons in the same way as a Polywell, kind of FRC-IEC hybrid. There is also some claims to what I thought was speculative, self-generated magnetic field containing the electrons ... it was discussed in this thread (that got hijacked quite quickly with philosophy of patents) ... viewtopic.php?t=2329&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

icarus
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Post by icarus »

Kiteman:
Thanks, this is perhaps my favorite cartoon (comic?) of all time. I face this kind of thinking all the time in my work
Ha. A perusal of the current material "Theory" section should keep you well titillated with an appreciation of such a sentiment (or not?).

Tom Ligon
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Post by Tom Ligon »

One of the members of my think tank has worked on this machine. I've brought his attention to this thread. I expect he can't say much, but I did want him to let him know there's a discussion going on here.

mattman
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Interesting...

Post by mattman »

I can't speak for everything here - however I noticed the rejection included an important point about getting the electrons cold. The polywell has a similar issue. If the electrons in the middle were cold, unmoving, this would be helpful for the machine working. Ion to electron energy transfer would be low - ions are about 1,000 times more massive then electrons. So if the electrons are cold it would not necessarily mean the ions would also be cold.

Some people have made the argument that the electrons in the center of the polywell are cold, moving at low speeds. I am not so sure this was true in WB-6. The electrons are certainly experiencing A VERY LOW Lorenz force in the center. With no fields from the magnets in the center, the only Lorenz force the electrons experience would be caused by the movement of other electrons and ions - I think. No force means no acceleration. No acceleration means no new energy added to the electrons.

I think of the electrons like marbles in a bowl. The center of the polywell is the flat center of the bowl. The electrons in the center are not picking up any new energy. The fly through the center on inertia.

*** So here is an interesting idea ****

What if, we went to allot of rings. Say 100 rings. The Wiffle ball has allot more holes because the containment field now has many more cusps. However, I bet the center would be bigger. Put another way, the zone of no magnetic field would occupy more volume in the middle. Put another way, what we have done is flatten out the middle of that bowl. The electrons would have to traverse more of the center on inertia.

I bet in that case the electrons would be colder.

Tom Ligon
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Post by Tom Ligon »

The easiest way to picture the Polywell's electron behavior is to simplify it to an Elmore Tuck Watson machine, just a pair of concentric spherical grids, like a Hirsch Farnsworth fusor but with positive high voltage on the inner grid.

Pictured only as an electron accelerator, the ETW machine will only hold so many electrons at a given voltage, at which point it space charge limits. Picture this as a "potential hill" rather than a "potential well". Electron mutual repulsion counteracts the drive of the grids. This is what the Langmuir Blodgett paper of 1924 is all about ... Poisson's equation at work.

The electrons in the center of such a machine are still moving, but they are as nearly dead cold as they can be. Inject a few ions just inside the inner grid and they will see the density gradient of the electrons as an attractor, so a few ions in the system will reach maximum kinetic energy in the center where the electrons are cold.

More than a few ions and the ions start reducing the height of that electron potential hill. The electrons will retain some energy. Flood the center with ions and the electron hill will nearly vanish.

Bussard stipulated that the p-B11 machines must have "virtual anode height" controlled. We've seen a couple of papers targeting about 15% of well depth. Thus, if you had 100 kV of well depth (and 500 keV of kinetic energy on the boron ions at +5 charge), the electrons would be at only 15 keV, presuming the system does not thermalize. Control of the virtual anode height essentially means you have to fuel starve the reactor a little, keeping ion density down.

WB6 did not need to keep the electrons cold because it was a DD machine and bremsstrahlung is not a big issue with that fuel. It had no mechanism for ion control, and probably ran only for a fraction of a millisecond as the ion population increased exponentially. But when it was working it would most likely have passed thru a zone in which the virtual anode height was low.

If Tri-Alpha is controlling electron energy seperately to achieve this trick, they would almost certainly use similar math. We know from a published argument by Rostaker in support of the feasiblity of p-B11 fusion that he mentioned Fokker-Planck bounce averaging and a few other details also mentioned by Bussard.

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