©Peter Thomson 1999/2002
The charge sheath vortex develops within a large spinning charge cloud region where the repulsion between the charges is cancelled out, two stationary particles of the same electrical charge will repel each other, BUT two particles of the same electrical charge moving in parallel will develop a force of attraction.
All the properties of the charged sheath described for the tornado apply to a tiny region of charge cloud within a larger charge cloud. The forces between the particles of similar charge moving sufficiently fast in parallel are still attractive. The forces between same charge particles moving in opposite directions are repulsive.
To achieve fusion, atomic nuclei have to be squeezed together far, far closer than they would get under normal circumstances. This distance is known as the coulomb distance, and most fusion research is aimed at achieving this by simply heating the nuclei to the billions of degrees needed for their velocity of collisions to achieve this fusion. One problem is the complex and massive containment needed to keep a very hot plasma confined.
The charged sheath vortex suggests an alternative method of confinement, where the rotating charge cloud will confine itself.
If a non-neutral plasma can be contained, then a charge sheath can form with a small region of that non-neutral plasma.
If atomic nuclei can be squeezed together by the positive charged mass flow, without the need for random collisions in superhot plasmas, then fusion engines could be designed to produce electricity directly by pulsing the fuel into the mass flow that compresses itself until fusion is reached. The extra energy from fusion will cause the mass flow to accelerate, and bind itself even tighter, releasing its energy as electromagnetic fields or energetic electrons until the fuel pulse is exhausted.
This fusion device can therefore be used as a direct source of electrical power using the mass flow fusion tornado as the primary coil of a transformer with no need for heat extraction. As the mass flow of the charged vortex sheath is self containing it doesn't need the complex magnetic bottles to hold it in place. A simple magnetic field will anchor the vortex in place alongside the secondary coils of the transformer.
It is still essential to create a charge sheath within a larger non-neutral plasms so that the forces between charge are balanced by the forces between charge in the surrounding charge cloud.
In order to create this vortex a slug of dense plasma has to be accelerated to a high velocity, and then induced to spin into a vortex. Mechanical guns are too slow, and particle accelerators require large magnetic fields and cannot accelerate more than a few particles at a time, but there are a number of experimental procedures getting close to the requirements for fusion. Without an understanding of the exact conditions they need to create they are floundering, but with this theory behind them it should be possible to design the exact situation in which fusion will take place.
One candidate for the accelerator is a rail gun. Here a slug of plasma forms between two parallel conductors as a large current is discharged through the conductors. The plasma conducts the current between the conductors, and the large magnetic fields produced by this current accelerate the slug down the rails. This high velocity plasma should become pinched by the large current through it, and it can also be spun up into a vortex by firing the high velocity plasma slug over a magnetic field as it leaves the gun.
The plasma vortex gun should produce enough velocity in the spinning plasma to induce fusion in the plasma vortex walls, at a sufficiently high density to produce a useful energy output.
A search of the plasma research literature for any examples of vortices appearing spontaneously in the plasma reveals several which might be candidates for the predicted charged sheath.
The biggest surprise was to find the best descriptions of vortex structures from a device that uses many properties of the rail gun to produce a plasma slug, and where the researchers claim to have detected the unmistakeable signature of fusion in the plasma slug.
This device is small, light, and known as a dense plasma focus device. The rails are two concentric copper tubes, and the discharge from a capacitor bank takes place in a low pressure atmosphere. The plasma slug from the discharge accelerates down the space between the tubes.
In one of the more recent reports using these devices, Eric J Lerner describes a dense plasma focus device which creates a tiny plasmoid within which he believes fusion takes place, and in which he has measured all the signature radiation of fusion. The plasmoid forms with exactly those characteristics that I predict for the charged sheath vortex.
The discharge in his dense plasma focus device forms a ring of small vortices between the outer and inner rails, and these are accelerated down the short length of the gun. As they leave the gun, these vortices wrap round each other to form a dense plasmoid. This confirms my hypothesis that the plasma vortex will not simply fly apart, and his diagrams of how he observes the vortices to wrap is also in agreement with my theory – and the way in which tornados have been filmed wrapping round each other.
My theories explain several other aspects of the results recorded for this experiment as follows. As the plasma vortices reach the end of the central electrode the net force produced by the electrons in the sheath of this tube cause the tube to extend. As the extending tubes are all radiating from the central electrode, this extension is towards the central point, where as the tube ends approach each other, the electromagnetic forces repel other tubes and the tubes start to curve back towards the centre of the electrode. Only two vortex tubes are shown in the diagram. In real experiments many tubes are produced and curl round each other. The tubes also start to wrap round each other, not fusing at this stage because the walls of the electron sheath as they approach each other are spinning in opposite directions and so repel. (1)
As the extension and wrapping of the tubes continues, the wrapping becomes tighter (2) and (3). The electromagnetic forces that this creates encourages electrons within the plasma to drift to one end, and atomic nuclei towards the other. As this charge separation starts to develop positive feedback from the increasing electromagnetic fields intensifies the charge separation . At the same time the plasma circulation suddenly changes from individual circulation within each tube, to a single circulation round the periphery of the mass of tubes – a single super tube sheath with an intense positive sheath at one end and an intense negative sheath at the other (4).
As this super tube sheath continues to extend, charge exclusion is now advanced, with the electrons ejected from the core (5 shown blue) Some energetic electrons will be ejected towards the central electrode, but most will form a tracery of filaments enveloping the core where they will deliver their energy to excite the gas molecules, forming a glowing ball much larger than the active core. The vortex of atomic nuclei (5 shown red) is now well defined. Any atomic nuclei that are not forming part of the high speed sheath will be ejected as a narrow beam of atomic nuclei moving in the opposite direction. Both the electron and proton beams have been observed by Lerner.
This super vortex sheath gets intensely hot, and according to Lerner, radiation indicative of fusion is detected originating from this point.
The electrons spiral along the much stronger magnetic field lines from the atomic nuclei, and produce a complex tracery of energetic electrons exciting the surrounding gas molecules and causing them to glow. This little plasmoid therefore develops a structure identical to that of ball lightning.
Lerner’s work was funded by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station.
My charged sheath theories suggest that the essential element in the core of the fusion engine is to spin a plasma at high enough speed to induce charge separation. The fusion will then take place within the charge sheath of the positive vortex. Once started the fusion will continue until the fuel for that pulse has been used up. It is therefore an essential requirement of such plasma research that the plasma vortex is kept as small as possible so that energy release is controllable.
There are several ways of developing the plasma gun in order to intensify the super vortex and charge separation.
Two low density plasma guns using opposing polarity firing directly at each other could result in the vortex tubes joining up at the point of collision to produce a super sheath and so produce a much larger containment time for the plasma sheath.
Two high density plasma guns , again firing at each other, could produce intense shear vortices in the plasma at the point of impact. These initial high values for particle density and rotation should produce rapid charge separation and intensify the heating from compression of the vortex.
A much more direct approach would be to create a dense plasma between two electrodes and spin it up using external magnetic fields, or microwaves, or a mixture of the two. External magnetic fields are already used to spin the plasma in the electrodes of a plasma torch at up to 3600 rps. See http://www.westinghouse-plasma.com/typplsys.htm. The high gas flow through the electrodes prevents the creation of a charge sheath, but this might happen if the electrodes were operated without the high gas flow.
But the simplest and most direct approach may be very simple indeed; to create a rotating plasma with a discharge between two rotating electrodes.
electrode/ plasma / electrode
When a plasma charge sheath is formed, the rapidly accelerating vortex of atomic nuclei will produce a large and rapidly expanding electromagnetic field.
This can be used to anchor the vortex core in place between opposing magnetic fields and attracting electrostatic fields. The energy produced can be extracted directly through secondary coils of a transformer, or by collecting the energetic electrons as they are ejected from proximity to the core as an electrical current.
The fusion reaction stops as the fuel runs out at the end of the pulse.
Similar devices to the plasma rail gun already operate at below the critical levels for fusion as tools for thin film deposition in industry. These operate as a pulsing plasma gun at frequencies of up to 100hz.
The idea of a fusion reactor that is light enough to fit into a suit case is not new. Other reactors have been built that demonstrate the proof of concept. See the fusor society for examples of reactors using inertial electrostatic confinement. http://fusor.net
Many scientists have suggested a fusion fuel of hydrogen – boron-11 for a pulsed fusion engine using this device, because the energy of fusion can be extracted electrically and does not give rise to the radioactive contaminants that would prevent general use of other fusion fuel mixtures. The results of Professor Tuck’s experiment with methane suggests that the fusion dynamics of atomic nuclei within a charge sheath may not be the same as that calculated for the same nuclei in a hot plasma. It may be much easier in a charge sheath to achieve a fusion/fission reaction on the surface of a heavier atom such as carbon, or even introducing something as heavy as mercury. The heavy atom acting as a catalyst for fusion.
The fusion device that could be developed from the charged sheath would be light in weight, could be very inexpensive to build and operate, and ideal for flying vehicles and portable power sources.
The same intense burst of electromagnetic field expansion can be used as a propulsion system to sweep a mixture of charged particles and air past the vehicle and provide the driving force.