How does the Helium from focus fusion turn into Electricity?

Posted by Admin on May 15, 2006 at 05:46 AM
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The end-product of Hydrogen-Boron fusion is Helium nuclei flying off at high speeds - how does that turn into electricity? Why do you need a transformer?


Consider electricity.  Our normal experience with electricity is electrons flowing down a wire.  But any flow of charged particles is electricity.  In a battery, positively charged ions flow through the liquid or gel inside the battery to create an excess charge on the metal battery terminals which is then matched by electrons flowing through a wire outside the battery.  So flowing positive ions are also electricity. 

When the DPF shoots out a beam of helium nuclei (also called ions) the beam doesn’t generate electricity.  It IS electricity.  The only problem is that it’s not in a form that we want.  We can’t let the particle beam out of the vacuum chamber, or it will collide with molecules in the air and its energy will be wasted as heat.  So we have to transfer the electric energy to some electrons in a wire.

A transformer is a piece of equipment that takes energy out of one flow of electricity and adds it to another flow.  It does this with magnetic fields.  Using a transformer we can get the electric energy out of the particle beam and put it on a wire.

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