Refinement of the Polywell Fusion Reactor

My previous post “Inverse Polywell Genesis” laid out my view of how the WB6 Polywell design works. It is a large hollow shell of electrons embedded in magnetic fields. The shell exists on the outside of the structure rather than on the inside. The electron shell would be much more controllable if it actually existed on the inside. On the outside there are protrusions holding the structure in place and the ion and electron guns also intrude. Protrusions into the outside magnetic fields drain the fields of electrons reducing the effectiveness of the electron shell.

The first step is to take control of the corners of the polywell cube by replacing the magnetic pinches at the corners with electromagnets orientated in an opposite direction from the face electromagnets. This makes six face electromagnets with magnetic fields going one way that the eight corner electromagnets with magnetic fields going the other way.

Toroid electromagnets don’t provide great control. Solenoid electromagnets are better and can create stronger magnetic fields. Solenoid electromagnets also can provide separation of the north pole from the south pole.

The following pictures are of electromagnets in a single plane to simplify visualization.

This picture shows four toroid electromagnets where the size has been reduced to increase the pinch effect. The magnetic fields are dispersed compared to the next picture.


This picture shows the four solenoid electromagnets. The magnetic fields are better organized.


By adding more solenoid electromagnets the center region starts to open up. This is important because by reducing the magnetic fields in the center, the ions and electrons will be in different physical locations with minimal interaction.


With 20 solenoid electromagnets the center is much cleaner but there are still external fields.


The solenoids placed around the outside ends channel the magnetic fields so the magnetic fields will recycle the electrons back to the center.

This diagram can be extended from a single plane to spherical form. Think of a checkerboard wrapped on a sphere. This is a much improved Polywell. The internal magnetic fields actually hold electrons in magnetic mirrors according to well known and tested equations instead of invoking strange wiffleball field closure theories. This design can also run long term. WB6 was only capable of operation for milliseconds. Electrons can be injected directly through the center of the outside ends of the solenoids at much low energies than the WB6. One of the major energy sinks for a WB6 based design was the ultra high power electron guns. The colder the electrons the better for this design so there is now a possibility of achieving better than break-even energy production.   The electrons which are now forming a hollow sphere inside of the structure are separated from the ions which are traversing back and forth in the center without interference.

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2 Responses to Refinement of the Polywell Fusion Reactor

  1. dave caulkins says:

    Interesting idea. But a functioning reactor needs to be built on earth before any space applications can be considered. Is the National Ignition Facility at Livermore doing anything like this ?

    Dave C

  2. I am working on a more advanced design which will be evaluated at Sandia.

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