Basics of IEC Fusion

The Basics

The inertial electrostatic confinement fusion reactor is a device that uses electrostatic fields to  accelerate and confine a deuterium plasma to a central point, occasionally some of the deuterium ions in the plasma will collide, and fuse together into helium-3 and a high energy neutron, or hydrogen-3 and a proton.

It must first be asserted that IEC fusion reactors are not cold fusion reactors, nor do they  produce a net energy gain, rather they are typically very inefficient, very hot fusion reactors.

The most well known type of IEC reactor, known as a farnsworth fusor, was first developed by Philo T. Farnsworth, and later by Robert Hirsch and Eugene  Meeks. IEC Fusion is now currently being studied by a number of laboratories and universities, specifically University of Wisconsin, Madison.

How they Work:

A vacuum chamber is brought to an extremely low pressure, typically around 5-10 millitorr, and filled with deuterium gas. Inside the vacuum chamber, a spherical grid of wires in the center of the chamber is charged to a very low negative potential, typically ranging from -20kV to more than -100kV. This grid ionizes the deuterium gas due to field emission. The positively charged ions of deuterium are then accelerated towards the negatively charged grid at a great speed, where some of them collide together and fuse into either He-3, emitting a neutron, or H-3, emitting a proton. The neutrons can be detected, and are often used as key proof of fusion.

9 thoughts on “Basics of IEC Fusion

  1. I don’t know if you still get on this site or not, but I am all about electricity! I love the science of it and how it works. It never ceases to amaze me! Just thought I would drop by and say hi!

  2. William, congratulations on your early achievements in science. I am a fission reactor operator (US Navy) and electrical engineer. If you have questions or would like to discuss anything, feel free to email me. Continue the great work.

  3. I have a question about the pressure inside the reactor. You say that you void it of air to an extreme vacuum, and then fill it with deuterium gas. What pressure will/should the deuterium gas be at after you have filled it? 1 atmosphere?

    Thank you! :)

  4. I am considering making a small IEC reactor. However, i have ran into a problem as far as the vacuum system. Besides the NST I have, I have to buy everything else with under $100, and a vacuum pump is far too expensive for that budget. I plan to make my reactor a 2″ PVC cylinder, as a proof that IEC reactors can be extremely compact. Is it possible, with such a small vacuum chamber, that I can draw air with a syringe to make a vacuum?

    • I hate to say it, but not really. Even with a 2″ cylinder, you’ll still need a mechanical vacuum pump, and a secondary vacuum pump to attain fusion pressures. You’ll also need a non-plastic vacuum chamber (the PVC will outgas like crazy under a plasma, and at fusion voltages, will leak potentially lethal amounts of x-rays), and a power supply more powerful than an NST (due to magnetic shunts built into an NST, the output voltage plummets the second there is any significant current draw. It might work for a glow discharge plasma demonstration, but not for fusion. Best of luck, and I’m sure if you get things for free, and really search hard, you could put together a demo reactor with a metal chamber for < $100. I don't know if fusion would be possible.

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