Fuel Encapsulation for Inertial Electrostatic Confinement Nuclear Fusion Reactors

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C. Macleod (2011), JBIS, 64, 139-149

Refcode: 2011.64.139
Keywords: Nuclear fusion, fusors, fuseotron, Inertial Electrostatic Confinement, propulsion, power

Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) is an approach to nuclear fusion which utilises the properties of electrostatically accelerated ion-beams instead of hot plasmas. The best known device which uses the principle is the Farnsworth-Hirsch fusor. It has been argued that such devices have some potential advantages in spaceflight and in-particular as power-supplies for trans-atmospheric propulsion. This paper builds on previous work in the field and focuses on how the fixing of the fuel for such reactors in a solid, liquid or encapsulated form may provide a high enough energy-density to make such devices practical power sources. Several methods of fixing the fuel are discussed; theoretical calculations are presented and applicable literature is reviewed. Finally, there is a discussion of practical issues and feasibility, together with suggestions for further work.

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