The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418 Message #1657152
Posted By: Amos
28-Jan-06 - 01:55 PM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
This could be important. (From PhysOrg.com's newsletter, which I subscribe to solely for the purpose of finding things to add to MOAB....)
"A team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Purdue University, and the Russian Academy of Sciences has used sound waves to induce nuclear fusion without the need for an external neutron source, according to a paper in the Jan. 27 issue of Physical Review Letters.
The results address one of the most prominent questions raised after publication of the team's earlier results in 2004, suggesting that "sonofusion" may be a viable approach to producing neutrons for a variety of applications.
By bombarding a special mixture of acetone and benzene with oscillating sound waves, the researchers caused bubbles in the mixture to expand and then violently collapse. This technique, which has been dubbed "sonofusion," produces a shock wave that has the potential to fuse nuclei together, according to the team.
The telltale sign that fusion has occurred is the production of neutrons. Earlier experiments were criticized because the researchers used an external neutron source to produce the bubbles, and some have suggested that the neutrons detected as evidence of fusion might have been left over from this external source.
"To address the concern about the use of an external neutron source, we found a different way to run the experiment," says Richard T. Lahey Jr., the Edward E. Hood Professor of Engineering at Rensselaer and coauthor of the paper. "The main difference here is that we are not using an external neutron source to kick the whole thing off."
In the new setup, the researchers dissolved natural uranium in the solution, which produces bubbles through radioactive decay. "This completely obviates the need to use an external neutron source, resolving any lingering confusion associated with the possible influence of external neutrons," says Robert Block, professor emeritus of nuclear engineering at Rensselaer and also an author of the paper.
The experiment was specifically designed to address a fundamental research question, not to make a device that would be capable of producing energy, Block says. At this stage the new device uses much more energy than it releases, but it could prove to be an inexpensive and portable source of neutrons for sensing and imaging applications. "
Why, you may well ask, could this be important?
If you can create fusion by peppering certain fluids with ultrasound, which causes the mysterious cavitation and explosions at a molecular level and also generates the strange nergy coherent pattern known as sonoluminescence, you may be on the brink of the next major energy solution.
It is my considered opinion that in all of technology land there is no task more important than developing an affordable, renewable or at least minimally depleting, home generator that will be smaller than a washing machine and provide all the power a home needs for domestic and transportation needs.
If it has to be nuclear, then let it be fusion.