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Online courses or textbooks on fusion power?

  1. Jun 18, 2013 #1
    I've seen a few posts about fusion on this thread so I thought I'd give this a shot:

    I'm an mechanical engineering grad student working in alternative energy and have become interested in learning more about fusion (I'm currently conducting research on fuel cell systems). What are some good online courses, videos, or textbooks that I can dive into in order to begin learning more about fusion?

    I know I've made my decision to become interested in this kind of late in my career, so does anyone have any suggestions on what I could do now to get my foot in the door of a company or national lab for when I finish grad school in 1 to 4 years?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 18, 2013 #2
    I recommend checking out Prof. Jim Callen's homepage: http://homepages.cae.wisc.edu/~callen/

    He posted a number of course lecture notes and video tapes of a course he taught. Most of the notes are from course taught in the eighties and early nineties, but most of the topics are still relevant. His notes focus on plasma physics, which is a huge part of fusion research. He is also a theorist and the math in some of the higher level courses is very rigorous.

    There are also a number of mechanical engineering problems in fusion research. Fusion experiments are subject to large stresses from strong magnetic fields. The often also rely on efficient vacuum systems and cryogenics. And ultimately when you start talking about a power plant, we need to design "steam cycles" that can handle the extreme heat loads. If you're more interested in these aspects of fusion research, I'd recommend trying to find a copy of Dolan's book "Fusion Research." I think he's given permission to distribute the book online, so you can probably find a pdf by doing a google search.
  4. Jun 19, 2013 #3
  5. Jun 19, 2013 #4


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    I don't know what level you are at, but the Iter web site has some good introductory materials on fusion energy.
  6. Jun 20, 2013 #5
    The lecture materials I suggested really are the foundations for modern theories. Mush of the material covered is still very relevant.

    Another good reference for physics issues are the "ITER Physics Basis", and the "Progress in the ITER Physics Basis". They were both Published in Nuclear Fusion, The first in 1999 and the Second in 2007. These two series of papers summarize the scientific basis for magnetically confined fusion relevant to tokamaks. I believe that the Journal provides both of these series of papers for free.
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