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Featured First Stable Plasma Ring

  1. Nov 16, 2017 #1


    Staff: Mentor

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2017 #2
    Awesome! Its mentioned that no magnetic ring was necessary. What would this mean for ITER since a magnetic field is the entire premise of it? Would this be more viable for energy storage?
  4. Nov 17, 2017 #3


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    It also says that a continuous 9000 psi stream of water is required to maintain ring.
    The ring looks like it's only 100 µm in diameter. [ref: my eyeballing of figure 1 (A) from the original paper]
    I think the ITER* plasma ring is a bit larger. (google google google)
    Yup: [ITER] major radius 6.2 m [ref: wiki]

    Sounds like they would have some scaling up to do.

    That does sound like a fun maths problem though:
    Find the flow rate required to create an ITER sized plasma torus utilizing Caltech's method.
    Extra credit: Determine if such a pump exists on the planet, and costs.
    fluid velocity: 300 meters/second (671 mph)
    fluid radius: 6 meters (19.7 feet)
    Being retired, I'll do it:
    Flow rate: 34,000 m^3/sec (9 million gallons per second)
    Capacity of the largest pump in the world: 150,000 gallons/sec [ref: Gizmodo, circa 2011]
    Pumps required: 60
    Cost of that pump: $500 million
    Cost for 60 such pumps to do the experiment: $30 billion
    Would running 60 such pumps in parallel work?
    Probably not.​
    Conclusion: skip this experiment.​

    From my interpretation of:

    ...suggest pathways to create energy-storing coherent plasma structures at atmospheric pressure (47)

    (47) Smirnov BM (1993) Physics of ball lightning. Phys Rep 224:151–236..​

    It sounds like they are suggesting more experiments, and have not suggested that this is a currently a viable energy storage system.

    * I had to look up "ITER"
    per wiki; "ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor and Latin for "the way") is an international nuclear fusion research and engineering megaproject, which will be the world's largest magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment. It is an experimental tokamak nuclear fusion reactor that is being built next to the Cadarache facility in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance, in southern France."
  5. Nov 27, 2017 #4


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    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    It is relatively cold, it is tiny, and it needs a continuous water stream, otherwise it breaks down in fractions of a second.

    Here is the original publication without futurism's usual dose of "this will solve all the world's problems tomorrrow" journalism.
    The energy storage is not really an application they expect. This becomes even more clear in the full text:
    It is an interesting new tool, but it wont be used for fusion, and it doesn't look useful for energy storage either.
  6. Nov 27, 2017 #5
    Well even if it's not a viable option for energy storage, I think it's still pretty cool!
  7. Nov 28, 2017 #6
    I just changed my avatar as it is a screen capture of an optical feedback loop in the process of becoming a consistent rotating ring. To make this ring cover the centre of the circle for long enough to effectively introduce a shadow into the feedback loop without destroying the pattern. I have only done it twice before nearly 20 years ago (using my finger) and the amazing thing is that there are 2 sets of tiny 'waves' running in different directions around the inside and outside of the ring.

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