Tungsten electrodes on their way with improved anode designFebruary 28, 2014
Tungsten electrodes are on their way with improved anode design
The tungsten electrodes needed for LPP’s next set of experiments are rolling forward. The electrodes are needed to eliminate impurities, and cleaner plasma is expected to raise density and yield in the tiny plasmoids where fusion reactions take place. They are on track to be installed by mid-May. The tungsten blank for the cathode (the larger outer electrode) has been completed by Tungsten Heavy Powder and is being shipped to New Jersey. There another company, New Jersey Precision Technology, will machine the block into the exact shape required, a complex process expected to take about 10 weeks.
In the meantime, LPP’s research team decided that the tungsten anode needed an improved design. Calculations by Chief Scientist Eric Lerner indicated that the highest current anticipated with FF-1 will be 2.8 Mega-Amperes, about twice the highest yet achieved. Lerner’s calculations showed this high current could cause arcing at the joint between the anode and its steel base. So the anode was redesigned into a plate-and-cylinder combination shape so that the anode, like the cathode, will connect to the rest of the circuit outside the vacuum chamber. Not only will this design eliminate any possibility of plasma impurities from arcing, but by spreading the current at the join out into a larger diameter, it will eliminate any arcing at all, even at the highest currents. LPP Consultant John Thompson and LPP Board of Advisors member Rudy Frisch helped with the anode design and the corresponding design of a “ring of steel” that will apply even pressure to the anode connection, ensuring no arcing. With the re-design, the anode, too, is now being manufactured in time for May installation.