Lab Pictures 12

early June to September 1, 2009;

       NCSU, Raleigh and TUNL, Duke, Durham NC

Still struggling to get lower pressures, I put Apiezon Q putty on the antenna feedthroughs, despite its problems when it gets hot. This actually worked pretty well although it's a mess to work with. Also put some epoxy putty on the grid circles on the 10 that connect only via one point to the other circles by a spot weld, quite susceptible to fatigue fracture. Better to weld a small plate but this OK for now.

I mounted x-ray glass over the microwave grid that usually shields the window port; however this grid shorted to the chamber wall and I had to remove it and place it outside.

I mounted a hydrogen tank on the south hemisphere and ran the reactor, first in air, then in hydrogen. For some reason, after a few runs with hydrogen, the magnetrons started misbehaving, with power concentrating in only one of them (always an occasional problem but terminal in this case). Tried everything but couldn't diagnose the problem; could only run the reactor from the other room and simply couldn't be two places at once.

Bob Golub and Chris Gould helped set up the neutron detector to see if there was any evidence of neutrons when using deuterium. However the reactor continued to malfunction and the tests were largely meaningless. I doubt there would have been any neutron signal even if it worked well.

I packed up and came back to NCSU where I could get much more done, once there appeared to be no need for neutron shielding. After continued frustration with the magnetrons, I stripped them all off and re-rigged the reactor to run only as a ball lightning-style experiment, with the antennas functioning as rectennas to absorb anomalous RF energy.



Epoxy putty on grid

Where the grid rings only had one weld holding them, it was wobbly; high-temp epoxy putty helps stabilize them

Epoxy putty on grid

Although it would be much better to weld on stainless plates

Apiezon Q putty

magic stuff to plug my leaks

Filling air gaps

Big help in conjunction with o-rings to seal the antenna feedthroughs (the major leak problem)

Mounting antennas with putty

Lance Leviner, temporary assistant

Helped out a few days, NCSU undergrad

Test silicone-ceramic engine paint

With a strip of BN paint to see if it adheres (it didn't!)

but the engine paint works pretty well

X-ray glass mounted inside

The microwave grid had always been inside but this time it shorted out, later placed outside

New port valve SH

on old SH window port

Plumbing, turbo on NH

Side view back of NH

Whole reactor back in target room

have to have in the target room to run the thing

Turbo pump

Plumbing NH

Showing camera mount, two pressure gauges, valves

Hydrogen tank on SH

Hydrogen tank, regulator

Humble self puzzling over malfunction

After about 5 runs with hydrogen the reactor stopped functioning and I couldn't figure out what the hell was wrong...never worked properly with magnetrons again

Reactor from the far side

Chris Gould and Bob Golub

calibrating the neutron detector

Bob Golub with detector

Side view SH

SH other side with hydrogen tank

Deuterium tank

TUNL provided a lecture bottle with deuterium

Deuterium regulator

Neutron detector and camera

I joined Bob's scintillator with one of my video cameras, blocked off the light, worked very well

Neutron detector and camera

Reactor from left

Reactor from right

Wall separates me in the control room from the reactor

Detector in place

Used a brick of paraffin to moderate neutrons. Ran tests even though the reactor was malfunctioning. No neutrons found, although stray RF set off radiation detectors

No Neutrons...gone back home

NCSU again, back to Research Bldg. II

Moving chaos

New engine paint coating on antennas

Despaired of BN on the plastic, stripped and recoated with 5 coats engine paint, left uncured, just air-dried

Inductor in grid lead

Blocks RF from coming out of the reactor

Black antennas mounted in NH

New plumbing NH

New plumbing, NH, turbo etc

Black antennas in SH

New mechanical pump

Had borrowed a roughing pump at TUNL, found this spare at RBII

Shield around HV relay

Serious interference problems, shut down computer and so forth, never could get to the source (related to major malfunction?)


Futile attempt

Abandoning magnetrons!

Converting the horns used to take microwaves from magnetrons to coax to holders for capacitors

Diodes for rectennas

Now just in ball lighting mode, using antennas as rectennas to detect RF generated in plasma formed by grids alone

Capacitor mounts

made from old microwave horns

Better model diodes

Mounted on 1/8 inch PVC sheet (not optimum material but will work for now); using Schottky diodes, 8A 100 V

Diodes on capacitor

2400 microfarad, 450 V capacitors, one per antenna

Diodes on capacitor

Coax center to ring

Coax to diodes

Coax to diodes

Taping coax

Coax shielding

Caps connected, upper SH

Caps connected, upper SH

Caps connected, lower NH

caps connected, lower NH

Far simpler setup now without microwaves coming in; no HV relays, no interference, safer and easy to run