Fusion is being engineered as a clean energy source. Several large-scale projects around the world are making an effort to improve fusion reactor efficiencies. We are building a polywell fusion reactor which uses magnetic fields to trap electrons and fuse deuterium ions. The polywell design has been significantly less explored in fusion sciences. Therefore, we hope to gather valid data from our reactor, helping advance this frontier. We are not trying to single-handedly make fusion a compact clean energy source, as large-scale projects with billions of dollars in funding and professional scientists will certainly be more effective in doing so. Mainly, we aspire to push the limits of DIY science, being high school students invested in a field few amateur engineers explore.
A personal goal of ours is to learn about plasma physics, electromagnetism, material sciences, vacuum equipment, etc., and this will be achieved throughout the design and building of our project (which we started several months ago). On a larger-scale one of our goals is to raise awareness about the importance of clean energy. We also want to inspire people participating in DIY sciences, and promote DIY and entrepreneurial projects for teenagers. Our website will have open source information on the details of our project, and we will most likely present information about our project at school.
Risks and challenges
Our fusion project started the end of our freshman year in high school when we decided to build a simple reactor that demonstrated the basic principles of ionizing gas under a vacuum. Our project was not linked to any class at school, science fair, or competition- we just had an idea paired with enough passion to decide to build a fusion reactor. We started the project not knowing anything about actually achieving this goal, but our desire to learn and overcome challenges allowed us to make it happen. We learned how to handle high voltages by rectifying a modern Neon-Sign Transformer using a full-wave diode bridge. We built a chamber by machining aluminum plates and sealing these to borosilicate glass. The entire project was challenge to us, especially having no background knowledge on this type of science.
Our current project similarly presents us with numerous challenges, some of which we have already overcome. One main challenge in design we have overcome currently is in our circuit schematic. Overtime we transformed our original circuit which lacked stability due to heating problems, to a less expensive, thermally realistic design – a process which required multiple weeks of scrapping and theorizing new ideas. Obstacles will certainly make our project difficult, but we are willing to spend time tackling these problems.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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