Originally posted by sonhouse
Anyone know much about this Z pinch machine? How would they scale it up if they go past breakeven? It sounds like they blow out some kind of membrane for each fusion shot. With inertial laser fusion, you keep dropping little nuggets of fuel but how would that happen with the Z machine?
I don't believe the Z pinch machine is ever going to be remotely viable for power generation.
But it's a useful tool for studying nuclear explosions.
It basically consists of a ring of vertical wires equidistant around a target fusion pellet.
They discharge the equivalent of the entire US power grid through the wires which
induce magnetic fields which make them implode at tremendous speed, impacting and
compressing the target which causes fusion and a small fireball, and blast of radiation.
which looks like this....
This wrecks the several ton steel core of the machine, which is taken out and replaced.
They currently fire about once per day (time it takes to rebuild the machine).
To generate useful power would require firing several times per minute and somehow capturing
the heat given off while replacing the core of the machine after every firing...
To say that this isn't practice is an understatement... But talking about it as a possible power source
might well be a good way to help secure funding for it's nuclear weapons research value.
Laser confinement or Tokamak designs have promise... Z-pinch... not so much.