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Bubble Fusion - verified?

  1. Jan 21, 2005 #1
    Bubble Fusion - verified?!!

    http://www.rpi.edu/web/News/press_releases/2004/lahey.htm#cool: [Broken]

    could this finally be it?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 21, 2005 #2
    Why does sound affect the bubbles in that way?
  4. Jan 21, 2005 #3


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    I'm skeptical (what else would I be?), but I'd like to hear an opinion from one of our resident nuclear physics/engineering experts. In any case, its not cold fusion that they are claiming, so that's a plus in my book...

    Candyman, the idea, as I understand it, is that focused sound waves create cavitation - small bubbles - that collapse rapidly, an the inertia of their collapse creates enough heat and pressure to initiate fusion.
  5. Jan 21, 2005 #4


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    If they did get temperatures of 100 million Kelvin (and high pressures), then that is in the realm of fusion conditions. I believe the presence of oxygen and carbon atoms from the acetone will be limiting.

    Professor Richard T. Lahey Jr is well respected in the field of nuclear engineering, primarily in BWR technology, and multi-phase flow and heat transfer.

    The folks at ORNL should be able to verify it.

    Scalability would probably be a big hurdle to implementing this for power generation.

    But I withhold judgement until I see the data.
  6. Jan 24, 2005 #5
    Funny, I just realized the quote in Astronuc's post talks about the sound waves moving at the speed of sound.
  7. Jan 24, 2005 #6


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    Back in the 1930's, undeveloped photographic plates often went through an ultrasonic cleaning treatment prior to use, and would sometimes get a strange haze on them. The bubbles of gas in the water bath they were in were emitting light, and this phenomena was named sonoluminescence. In 1988, Felipe Gaitan and L.A. Crum were able to isolate a single bubble of air in water and show this bubble could be made to flicker or pulse when bombarded with high frequency sound waves. At the time, there were a variety of theories regarding the phenomena, the two main ones being exceedingly high temperatures created by compression of the air, and the other being a jet forming inside the bubble which impacted the opposite wall, broke chemical bonds (not sure what the chemistry was), and when they recombined, the released energy produced the flash of light.

    As early as '92 or '93, a Seth Putterman (UCLA?) started researching this phenomena in hopes of creating fusion. He's been joined by many others since then, and the term "sonofusion" was coined. In 2002, the Journal of Science had a cover story about this along with some research, but at the time the researchers felt it was impossible to do this with deuterated acetone. The conclusion was to try other liquids such as metals and salts.

    I've followed this research on and off since the early 1990's. Personally, I think this will happen, if not in the next 5 years, then eventually - this will be the holy grail of energy.

    some references:
    http://www.uah.edu/physics/seeleypg/sbsl.htm [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  8. Jan 25, 2005 #7


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    Depending on the conditions, shock waves can be subsonic, sonic, or even

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
  9. Jan 25, 2005 #8
    My mistake, I thought it was talking about sound shock wave. This is very intresting, I want to do some research before I leave college. I may do a cooperative job instead, but how would I be able to research this without having to leave this campus?
  10. Aug 21, 2005 #9
    Does the size of the bubble affect it's temperature or the strength of it's shockwave? What problems are the engineers having with bubble fusion? How can you increase the length of time that the high temperatures are formed (I read the temperature only lasts for a small fraction of a millisecond). When fusion occurs will the fusion reactions propagate or will bubbles have to be constantly bombarded with ultrasound? Is sonoluminescence hotter than cavitation?
  11. Aug 21, 2005 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    I didn't realize that anything looked so promising! I hope they're right.
  12. Aug 22, 2005 #11


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    I don't think it is promising.

    As Astronuc pointed out, the presence of carbon and and oxygen will be limiting.

    You have a species with atomic numbers of 6 [ carbon ] and 8 [ oxygen ].

    It's going to be very difficult to achieve fusion conditions with an overabundance of electrons.
  13. Aug 26, 2005 #12

    Hopefully they will find another way to increase light (which I am assuming is proportional to heat) besides cooling the liquid as it would be impratical for nuclear fusion to have to cool the liquid to produce heat.
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