Moacir L. Ferreira Jr. has published a concept for a novel fusion reactor, and a method of using its output for space propulsion. Fusion power combined with an exotic electromagnetic propulsion system could open up the solar system to humanity.
The high tech realms presented in science fiction have offered generations a glimpse at an exciting future era. Television programs such as Star Trek, Star Wars, and Babylon 5 have inspired many to dream of a day when all the obstacles of interstellar space travel have been overcome. Concepts such as warp drives, jump gates, wormholes, slipstreams, and other methods of fast space propulsion inspire real world scientists to figure out how to turn science fiction into science fact. Moacir L. Ferreira is an inventor who has proposed two technologies that could potentially make scifi-like space travel possible. His first technology is the "Crossfire Fusion Reactor" and his second is an electromagnetic propulsion technology.
Ferreira's "Crossfire Fusion Reactor" is described in detail at his website. In a nutshell, his fusion reactor concept utilizes any of a number of light atomic elements as fuel including hydrogen, deuterium, tritium helium, lithium, beryllium, and boron. If certain isotopes such as Boron and Helium-3 are used as fuel, almost no neutron radiation would be produced by the device. Fuels such as these are called aneutronic fuels. Multiple superconducting magnets would guide ionized particles of fuel into certain regions. The pulsing of the magnets would produce magnetic and electric fields that would add more and more energy to the ionized fuel particles. Eventually, a plasma pinch effect would be produced, and nuclear fusion would be achieved.
Here is a more complete explanation of the effect from Ferreira's website. In addition, you can take a look at the patent application for the fusion reactor.
The CrossFire Fusion Approach
Nuclear Fusion Reactor – Core A group of superconducting magnets are set up to form a magnetic cusp region where an electric voltage is applied, and at distal ends of the magnets an opposite electric voltage is applied. A fuel is ionized by exchanging electrons with a ground electric potential becoming charged particles, which fall down to the magnetic cusp region reaching great kinetic energy of about 600keV (7 billion °C) at low energy consumption. The injection of charged particles is done around the entire region of the magnetic cusps to perform a three-dimensional injection. Inside the magnets, the charged particles move longitudinally describing a circular and helical orbit around the magnetic field lines keeping away from the magnet walls. The magnet walls are coated with a metal alloy like tungsten or depleted uranium for reflecting electromagnetic radiation (bremsstrahlung), mostly in X-ray range, back to plasma. At the region of the magnetic cusps, the magnetic field lines are curved, forcing the charged particles to describe a more elliptical and eccentric orbit, increasing electrostatic pressure at the region of the magnetic cusps making it very hard for the charged particles to escape this region (magnetic mirror). A continuous injection by an ion injection belt of charged particles makes this even more difficult. The magnetic fields act as a magnetic lens focusing (converging) the charged particles, and the electric fields, at distal ends of the magnets, act as an electrostatic lens focusing (converging) the particles as they approach while defocusing (diverging) them as they move back. Nuclear Fusion Reactor – Superconducting Magnet Pulses on electrical currents of the magnets result in oscillations on the magnetic flux, transferring energy radially to plasma (pinch effect), which increases the fusion rate. When a nuclear fusion reaction occurs, the charged products of the reaction escape longitudinally, overcoming the electric field and they can then be deflected by magnetic and electric fields. For the nuclear fusion reactions to produce only charged products, and no neutrons, the fusion fuel must be aneutronic like Boron Hydrides, Helium-3 or Lithium Hydride. Aneutronic fuels release millions of times more energy than the fossil fuels, and the product of fusion reaction generally is the non-radioactive waste Helium-4.
In addition to producing very little neutron radiation, this fusion technology would have other advantages. For example, it would emit charged ions that could be converted into electricity very efficiently. There would be a direct conversion of the charged ions into electricity, and no need to produce steam to power a turbine generator. One reactor could potentially produce 200 megawatts of electrical power. The electricity could then be used to power a city or a space craft. Also, boron is a common element on the Earth, so fuel should not be expensive.
Check out the following video that explains more about the concept.
The inventor claims there are many reasons why the technology is practical, could actually be built, and would function as claimed. A few of these reasons are as follows…
* The fuel would be affordable.
* No huge input energy needed unlike many other hot fusion concepts.
* Three dimensional confinement of fuel to increase the occurrence of fusion reactions.
* The components needed already exist: for example, the superconducting magnets.
* All the concepts involved have already been proven to work in other systems.
* There are multiple features to insure the fusion reaction would be self sustaining.
* It overcomes the problems in other fusion approaches.
The following is a good comparison of this technology to other hot fusion concepts.
Comparison to current approaches
The CrossFire Fusor is similar to Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusor in using electrostatic acceleration to reach great kinetic energy, but differs on confinement. It is similar to Bussard Polywell, also to Limpaecher plasma containment, in injecting charged particles through a magnetic cusp region, however, differs on the creation of electric potentials, trapping, magnetic focalization and electricity conversion. The CrossFire Fusor differs from Tokamaks, Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusor and Bussard Polywell, in having an escape mechanism which can solve problems like ionic saturation and energetic instability of the plasma. Also, achieves both three-dimensional injection and three-dimensional confinement, associated with magnetic lenses and bore coating, can increase the probability of fusion reactions. The CrossFire Fusor has a well defined cycle of energy and presents a set of simple and consistent calculations to support its technical feasibility.
If such a fusion based system was built and worked, it could solve the energy crisis. Hundreds of megawatts of electrical power could be produced from a device that could fit in a small building. The fuel it consumed would be cheap, and the system would be safe. Unlike conventional fission based nuclear power, this type of system could not melt down.
Ferreira has also proposed a concept for an exotic space drive. It is called the, "Phase Displacement Space Drive." Basically, this space drive would utilize multiple sets of antennas that would transmit powerful electromagnetic waves at each other. Since electromagnetic waves have momentum that can produce force on an object, these electromagnetic waves would produce forces between the two antennas. By altering the phasing of the waves, a "standing wave" could be created between the set of two antennas. This would produce an imbalance of force and a net thrust.
The thrust produced by this system could be significant. It is speculated a constant input of 50kW could produce a force of one gravity on one thousand kilograms of mass. The Crossfire Fusion Reactor on board the craft could produce enough electricity to propel the space craft across the solar system very quickly. Take a look at the following videos (1 | 2) about the Phase Displacement Space Drive.
The thrust produced by this system could be considered to be a reactionless force. However, if empty space is really filled with an "aether" of some kind, these waves might be pushing against it. Perhaps by manipulating the aether, such a craft could actually travel faster than the speed of light!
A Rocketless Future
Conventional rockets are little more than dangerous bombs of chemical fuels waiting to explode. They are also inefficient and slow. We will not be able to use them to spread across the solar system and colonize other worlds.
Exotic concepts such as the Crossfire Fusion Reactor and the Phase Displacement Space Drive should be funded and researched. They represent potential technologies that could make the rocket obsolete. In addition, they could produce almost unlimited energy for our civilization.
I'm looking forward to a day when exotic concepts for space propulsion are utilized for the common person, and humanity has expanded into the family of cosmic travelers.
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