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Non-Steam Based Magnetic Generator?

  1. Sep 24, 2012 #1
    Hi I'm dbmorpher,
    This is my first post here and I know about physics as much as I would like too but I hope to learn.
    I could not find which topic to post this in, but this seemed most relavent
    Today I was talking to a priest I know who used to be a neuclear physicist, I asked him if there was a way of power that didn't need water to function. He mentioned MHD(Magneto Hydro Dynamics) as a way of energy without the use of that odd and scarse compond. I looked it up on wikipedia but could not find a shematic, or even a page on the electrical generating side of it.
    As I was looking through these forums I saw a forum for electrical armor, if there could be an energy source without steam it could go anywhere. Then I thought about magnetics and how particles react, if I have an bar of solid H-0 isotope with no valence electrons (a protonium ingot) all electrons in the area would come to it then couldn't you collect the electron with a positive electromagnet?
    Like I said before I am new to physics, I have gotten all my information from the internet and the few scientifically advanced people around me.
    Thank You.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 24, 2012 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Welcome to PF;
    I'm a bit concerned that this statement contains an internal contradiction: usually people who know as much as they'd like to about something are not interested in learning more.
    ... so you decided to talk to a physicist who is actually still a physicist? Good call.
    Water is hardly scarce ... but there are many ways to generate power without water. You can get electricity directly from sunlight or heat using semiconductors for example, you can also drive electric generators with any moving fluid ... so replace water with whatever you want: wind, oils, gasses ... no need to invoke anything exotic.

    For MHD you didn't look very hard. Notice that the "hydro" part of the name says that it needs water to work? That would seem to exclude it from your requirement of "a way of power that didn't need water to function" ... so why are you even entertaining the notion?

    If you want something that uses water but not steam - then just look at the many examples of waterwheel through history.
  4. Sep 25, 2012 #3
    Sorry that was a typo I meant to say I don't know as much about physics as much as I would like too.
    In a desert or a vehicle self contained generator obtaining water would be hard. I was confused when he said hydro dynamics because it involved liquid. What you said about heat powered semi conductors, could a cesium bar or any other element generate enough energy to power lets say a house?

    I just couldnt find the generator part
  5. Sep 25, 2012 #4

    Simon Bridge

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    The liquid does not have to be water, admittedly. But that was a big part of my previous post: use a water method, and use something other than water.
    errr.... in principle but not really. You need a special configuration called a thermoelectric generator

    The MHD generator link is in the main MHD article (under "engineering") ;)

    In a desert, getting pretty much anything would be difficult... depending on the desert. You'd want to go for photovoltaic cells and wind turbines with batteries. Of course it would be hard to get replacement bits for them too... but if the parameter is just to use no water at all while in operation they fit the bill.

    Spacecraft have trouble getting water too - they use some form of nuclear power.

    If you want to be able to refuel in a desert from local materials then you want something like a big hopper and a paddle-wheel: you fill the hopper with sand, the sand drains over the wheel... though you have to get the energy to lift the sand from someplace it still fits the refueling criteria where the batteries or nuclear option does not.

    What you choose depends on the design restrictions.
  6. Sep 26, 2012 #5


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    A graphite-moderated high temperature gas reactor, cooled by carbon dioxide or helium, operating on the Brayton cycle, does not require water. There are several gas cooled reactors are in operation in Britain, although I'm not sure if they are Brayton or Rankine cycle. Such a design was also prototyped to be used for nuclear powered aircraft and nuclear thermal rockets.
  7. Sep 26, 2012 #6
    Wow thanks very informative
  8. Sep 26, 2012 #7


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    Indirect steam (Rankine) cycle. The 'steam generator' or boiler is in the (pre-stressed concrete) pressure vessel.

    See schematic in this article - http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf32.html
    or - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_gas-cooled_reactor


    http://web.up.ac.za/sitefiles/file/44/2063/Nuclear_Graphite_Course/B%20-%20Graphite%20Core%20Design%20AGR%20and%20Others.pdf [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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