rnebel wrote:This is basically LINUS revisited. LINUS was an experiment done at NRL in the 70s where a plasma was imploded with a liquid wall. I believe the plasma was a Z-Pinch. The idea behind MTF plasmas is that the magnetic fields provide thermal insulation, but not confinement forces which come from the liner, or in this case an imploding wall. I believe that they are using FRCs as the target plasma. I don't know where they are with the program, but in my opinion this is an approach which should be taken seriously.
The mechanical problems are daunting. Getting 200 steam pistons operating together to within 100 nS of each other (mechanical tolerances not given nor length of motion) to provide 1 uS of confinement is no easy task.
Mechanical resonances alone may make it impossible. Friction and wear variables complicate things.
Here is some resource material from 1999.
http://fusionenergy.lanl.gov/Documents/ ... May_99.pdf
A 30 year time line and a billion dollar cost.
Another paper from 1994:
http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/doe/lan ... 405980.pdf
One of the things to consider is the speed of sound in steam (it determines the rate at which forces can be applied). At room temp and pressure you are looking at ~340 m/S for air. The upper range for a detonation wave in high explosives is 10,000 m/S. Speed of sound in Steel is 6,000 m/S. Diamond 12,000 m/S. Speed of sound in water is ~1,400 m/S. In mercury about the same. I would expect a lead/lithium mixture around that range i.e 500 m/S to 3,000 m/S. So that gives some idea of the speed of a pressure wave through the material.
And then you have to maintain an steam inlet pressure constant with all the valves pulsing. Then conduct all the exhaust properly away from the machine to prevent differential heating.
I believe electromagnetic field approaches show more promise. At least from an engineering standpoint.