Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Mar 26, 2014 9:31 am 
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Difficult to find a liquid material containing uranium though.

Iron pentacarbonyl is handy in that it is a liquid under standard conditions and is thus easy to pump.
It is also flammable allowing you to derive some energy from its combustion.


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PostPosted: Mar 26, 2014 1:30 pm 
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Uranium Hexaflouride of course.


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PostPosted: Mar 26, 2014 3:40 pm 
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Cthorm wrote:
Uranium Hexaflouride of course.


Interesting thought. Having a fuel tank that can hold up to 20 or 30 psi sounds trivial enough to me. A NTR rocket engine could "idle" on the launch pad to circulate the fuel through the tank and the engine to keep it hot enough to stay liquid until launch. Perhaps the solution is not as trivial as it first appears to me. If the flight path for the rocket is over the ocean then contamination may be a non-issue, the uranium salts will just rain down into the seawater where it came from in the first place.

Some day I'll have to sit down and do the math on this. If we can trade Isp to improve T/W, and NTRs have enough Isp to spare, then by choosing a suitable working fluid NTRs would become feasible as a first stage rocket engine. I suspect that someone has already done this math but the materials required are either exceedingly toxic or exceedingly expensive.

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PostPosted: Mar 28, 2014 8:40 pm 
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Heh, except that you're also dumping nuclear waste into the ocean.

If you're willing to do anything like that, why not consider engineering clean pinch-fusion explosives? Then we can get the Orion-style spacecraft. Of course, we also get proliferation of relatively cheap nuclear explosives, but heck, it might be worth it to get into space cheaply, and exploit the solar system and nearer stars.

There's a lot of official hot air saying that chemically-pinched fusion can't work, but there may be ways to power an electrical or magnetic pinch from explosives.


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PostPosted: Mar 28, 2014 11:28 pm 
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Why not use chemically induced micro thermo-nuclear explosions for your Orion style rocket?

http://home.comcast.net/~aeropharoh/Win ... Fusion.pdf

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PostPosted: Mar 29, 2014 1:05 am 
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rgvandewalker wrote:
Heh, except that you're also dumping nuclear waste into the ocean.


Not quite. The UF6 is the working fluid, not the fuel. I'm not proposing an open cycle reactor but a closed cycle reactor that expels (presumably depleted) UF6 out the exhaust.

I will admit this proposal would still likely cause political tension but we're just having fun here.

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PostPosted: Mar 29, 2014 10:31 am 
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You will end up with an exhaust containing significant quantities of fluorine however, which could cause horrible problems for your engine bell.
Ablative designs that will last long enough to be useful will add a significant mass penalty.


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PostPosted: Mar 29, 2014 11:12 am 
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What I'd do for propulsion is to go with the EMdrive. It's much more efficient. liquid hydrogen could be produced terrestrially, and as it boiled away it could be used to fuel an assisting rocket or ramjet.

Once in space, the cooling of the EMdrive is a different issue, as ambient heat comes from the spacecraft and sun. But perhaps an improved Einstein-Szilard cooler with magnetocaloric assist could be developed, and powered directly from the LFTR's heat. If not, conventional cooling can be used. Once the operating temperature has been reached, a pure magnetocaloric cooler could be used, for great efficiency and reliability.


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PostPosted: Apr 16, 2014 8:14 pm 
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Nuclear pulse propulsion has advanced a bit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_pulse_propulsion#MSNW%20Magneto-Inertial%20Fusion%20Driven%20Rocket Near the bottom. There's references, too.


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PostPosted: May 05, 2014 4:20 pm 
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The NASA usage mentioned is interesting in light of this short Video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6r2bukrppk

They claim a "new" nuclear reaction that sounds a lot like LENR. I'm curious what others think of this video. If they have something working a demo sure would shake up the world, but I suspect its paper talk with a bit of lab results at this point. If this is true then much of the negative might go away. The question, is it real?


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PostPosted: May 05, 2014 6:58 pm 
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BobN wrote:
The NASA usage mentioned is interesting in light of this short Video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6r2bukrppk

They claim a "new" nuclear reaction that sounds a lot like LENR. I'm curious what others think of this video. If they have something working a demo sure would shake up the world, but I suspect its paper talk with a bit of lab results at this point. If this is true then much of the negative might go away. The question, is it real?


This is indeed LENR. I remember it being covered at nextbigfuture.com back when the video was released. It's something being researched but not in any significant scale/intensity.


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PostPosted: May 07, 2014 7:30 pm 
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I find it interesting that they narrow it down to surface plasmon polaritons when exciton polaritons also provide potential explanation. I'd like to see this documented a bit more than a YouTube.

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