Fuel encapsulation for inertial electrostatic confinement nuclear fusion reactors.
Capanni, Niccolo Francesco
Gow, Kenneth S.
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MACLEOD, C., CAPANNI, N. F. and GOW, K. S., 2011. Fuel encapsulation for inertial electrostatic confinement nuclear fusion reactors. Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 64 (5), pp. 139-149.
Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) is an approach to nuclear fusion which utilises the properties of electrostatically accelerated ion-beams instead of hot plasmas. The best known device which uses the principle is the Farnsworth-Hirsch fusor. It has been argued that such devices have some potential advantages in spaceflight and in-particular as power-supplies for trans-atmospheric propulsion. This paper builds on previous work in the field and focuses on how the fixing of the fuel for such reactors in a solid, liquid or encapsulated form may provide a high enough energy-density to make such devices practical power sources. Several methods of fixing the fuel are discussed; theoretical calculations are presented and applicable literature is reviewed. Finally, there is a discussion of practical issues and feasibility, together with suggestions for further work.