# Compact Fusion

#### Deacon James

https://lockheedmartin.com/en-us/products/compact-fusion.html

HOW COMPACT FUSION WORKS
Nuclear fusion is the process by which the sun works. Our concept will mimic that process within a compact magnetic container and release energy in a controlled fashion to produce power we can use.
A reactor small enough to fit on a truck could provide enough power for a small city of up to 100,000 people.
Building on more than 60 years of fusion research, the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works approach to compact fusion is a high beta concept. This concept uses a high fraction of the magnetic field pressure, or all of its potential, so we can make our devices 10 times smaller than previous concepts. That means we can replace a device that must be housed in a large building with one that can fit on the back of a truck.

Related Nuclear Engineering News on Phys.org

#### Deacon James

Interesting but where is a workable machine now ?

#### Borg

Gold Member
That's just a project description. They don't have a working prototype.

#### russ_watters

Mentor
....and to put it charitably, it seems overly optimistic to me.

#### BWV

But it’s only 20 years away

#### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
So far, fusion for power generation (that is "economic" power generation) is always in the future. Back almost 40 years ago when I studied fusion engineering, it was 10 years away. Forty years later, it's about 20 years away and counting.

The problem with terrestrial systems with magnetic confinement is that we'll never reproduce conditions in the core of the sun, particularly the pressure and plasma density in the core. Furthermore, fusion is present in the sun, but it's p+p, or CNO-cycle process, as opposed to the easier d+t or d+d fusion we are attempting in terrestrial systems. It is misleading to liken our attempts at fusion with what is happening in the sun.

From https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/sunfact.html
Model values at center of Sun:
Central pressure: 2.477 x 1011 bar best we can to is ~70 atm (71 bar)
Central temperature: 1.571 x 107 K ITER is attempting 150 million K (https://www.iter.org/sci/plasmaheating)
Central density: 1.622 x 105 kg/m3 or about 162 x density of water; other put the estimate about 150 x density of water.

I can get a 4000 watt generator at Target that is powered by fusion, albeit indirectly, for about $250 #### Attachments • 12.3 KB Views: 673 #### mathman Science Advisor I can get a 4000 watt generator at Target that is powered by fusion, albeit indirectly, for about$250

View attachment 225021

#### BWV

Yes, this fusion-powered generator burns gasoline, which is a pretty nifty way to store fusion power

#### rootone

Yes, this fusion-powered generator burns gasoline, which is a pretty nifty way to store fusion power
I think it runs on propane, but still, same idea.

#### mheslep

Gold Member
According the UK AEA chief and fusion expert Steven Cowley, the Lockheed fusion project and its lead researcher McGuire have placed themselves in a bit of a scandal. Apparently Lockheed released some promising preliminary results on their reactor, prompting some immediate but unsurprising queries about plasma temperature, density, etc. After some stalling came the reply, that the machine had not yet been turned on.

Last edited:

#### Paul Colby

Gold Member
when I studied fusion engineering, it was 10 years away.
Ah yes, it's the technology of the future and always will be.

#### russ_watters

Mentor
According the UK AEA chief and fusion expert Steven Cowley, the Lockheed fusion project and its lead researcher McGuire have placed themselves in a bit a scandal. Apparently Lockheed released some promising preliminary results on their reactor, prompting some immediate but unsurprising queries about plasma temperature, density, etc. After some stalling came the reply, that the machine had not yet been turned on.
Could you please provide a reference for that.

I wonder if that's a rogue engineer or if corporate leadership knew about it. Academic fraud is not a crime, but financial fraud (stock manipulation) is.

#### mheslep

Gold Member
Could you please provide a reference for that.

I wonder if that's a rogue engineer or if corporate leadership knew about it. Academic fraud is not a crime, but financial fraud (stock manipulation) is.
Cowley's talk is here, and the comments on alternative fusion approaches like Lockheeds begin at 1:11. Note that though Cowley calls these particular startup American approaches 'whacko', he's very pro American mainstream research earlier in the talk.

#### jim hardy

Gold Member
2018 Award
Dearly Missed
That device at 40 seconds into Lockheed video sure resembles a Farnsworth fusor .

#### Attachments

• 119.7 KB Views: 590

#### jim hardy

Gold Member
2018 Award
Dearly Missed
Wow - the patent is only two days old !

#### Attachments

• 77 KB Views: 346

#### mheslep

Gold Member
That device at 40 seconds into Lockheed video sure resembles a Farnsworth fusor .

View attachment 225103
Fusors are indeed spherical, but they are electrostatic devices that do work on the plasma to (futilely) focus it in the center. Lockheed's device as the patent states is magnetic confinement of a thermal plasma.

Last edited:

#### jim hardy

Gold Member
2018 Award
Dearly Missed
Futility of a means depends on the end.
Tabletop fusors make a stream of neutrons sans uranium. Chrysler marketed them for a while. They were handy for irradiating things when you don't have a fission reactor.

They don't break even on energy though ..
Seems they have been relegated to the hobbyist world now.
http://shia.wsyntax.com/~raymond/fusor.pdf

#### alantheastronomer

I'm wondering about how energy is extracted once fusion is achieved?

#### bob012345

Gold Member
Cowley's talk is here, and the comments on alternative fusion approaches like Lockheeds begin at 1:11. Note that though Cowley calls these particular startup American approaches 'whacko', he's very pro American mainstream research earlier in the talk.

It's rather unfair for him to label alternative approaches as 'whacko'. The simple fact is that the mainstream fusion research community has been promising results for six decades now and their approach just isn't working thus the ongoing joke. The Lockheed approach may not work but I'm glad they and others are trying.

#### bob012345

Gold Member
Could you please provide a reference for that.

I wonder if that's a rogue engineer or if corporate leadership knew about it. Academic fraud is not a crime, but financial fraud (stock manipulation) is.
Academic fraud should be a crime if it involves intentional deception in order to receive grants.

#### bob012345

Gold Member
I'm wondering about how energy is extracted once fusion is achieved?
Probably running a steam generator or if they get fancy, an MHD generator.

#### bob012345

Gold Member
....and to put it charitably, it seems overly optimistic to me.
Lockheed's approach is more about designing the design cycle and a fast pace of research rather than a specific machine design. As I've read what they are really about is developing the facilities and staff to rapidly test a sequence of devices and changes in configurations with the hope that this process will lead to a working machine in a five to ten year period.

### Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving