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Q: Standing acoustic waves generated by spherically orbiting particles in a plasma ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: Standing acoustic waves generated by spherically orbiting particles in a plasma
Category: Science > Physics
Asked by: hellblazer-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 06 Jan 2003 13:49 PST
Expires: 05 Feb 2003 13:49 PST
Question ID: 138413
I was wondering if anyone out there can help me with some amateur
research I'm doing.  I have been searching for any research into
acoustic standing waves in spherical particle flow plasmas.  I can't
find much on this, rather finding things on acoustic standing waves in
a spherical membrane (i.e. spherical harmonics) - not what I'm looking
for.  The system I'm examining is an magnetic-electrostatically
contained plasma.  Spherical standing waves are generated by the
coupling of the radial and tangential ion waves in the plasma.  The
effect was described in Robert Bussard's patent #5,160,695 on
"apparatus for creating and controlling nuclear fusion reactions". 
It's an interesting effect, and I'm doing experiments regarding the
role of symmetry in the generated spherical standing waves.

The closest I've been able to find is an excellent paper on non-linear
standing and rotating waves on the sphere by Christoph Gugg

Request for Question Clarification by krobert-ga on 07 Jan 2003 16:51 PST
I've been trying to understand your question, but I'm a little puzzled
by what you mean by "spherical particle flow plasmas". Could you
explain the setup in a little more detail?


Clarification of Question by hellblazer-ga on 07 Jan 2003 21:58 PST
An answer would certainly be "there is no such effect" and Bussard
misinterpreted his data.

Assuming the positive (there is such an effect), spherical ion focus
confines a plasma into a spherical structure.  The ions are
constrained to move on the surface of a sphere - thus, spherical
particle flow.  Not planar, not cylindrical.

Inevitably, the orbiting particles will collide with each other, the
statistics dictated by their mean free path at any given radius. 
Bussard modeled his patent ideass around shell structures that were
generated by standing waves created by the coupling of the radial ion
wave function with the spherically constrained tangential wave
function.  These structures are generated by the geodesically
constrained orbiting particles colliding with each other - MFP
interactions on a radial shell - rather than large scale fluid

At least that's the way I understand his patent.

So, the closest analytical model I can find is the Gugg paper on
non-linear standing waves on the surface of a sphere.  All other
standing wave models are based on larger scale fluidic effects, such
as convection currents, or the "rain of particles" ringing a massive
plasma structure (such as a star).  Bussard is dealing with
spherically constrained plasmas on the order of a centimeter in
radius, not a million kilometers.

The effect that Bussard describes seems completely different than
standing waves that result from spherical harmonics.  For one thing,
the standing waves have structures that should be constrained to be
geodesic arcs.  Spherical harmonic structures are not so constrained.

So, I guess the question is:  

Is there such an effect.  If not, what is the consensus
evidence-theory.  If so, what is the analytical model to use to base
predictions on.   An alternative answer is simply that there may be
such an effect, but no one has any experimental proof one way or
another nor is there any well developed analytical model.  Another
possible answer is that all Bussard was seeing was spherical hamonics,
and his model is explained simply with spherical harmonics.

The math in the Gugg paper is non-trivial.

Request for Question Clarification by hedgie-ga on 08 Jan 2003 23:03 PST
hello again   hellblazer-ga 

 Re your comment :
  "It was certainly worth $ me to see if anyone could provide
any illumination from their scouring the web"

  You did not spend your $100 yet. Comments are free. No answer was
given yet.

  Even after the answer is given, you have a right to request refund,
if the
  response did not answer the question.

 That is the issue here:

If you want to spend your $100 to see what I can find by scouring the
I will give it my best and expert effort. There is quite bit there on
even though, most journals  publish abstracts-only for free, as you
know (?).
That effort may include description of tools (citacion index)
available for a fee or in a research library. It would help if you
indicate  what search methods you know and used so far.

The list of questions at the end of your clarificaton is a different
 I remain skeptical that web contains the answer. There is an overlap
of highly technical journals and of the web, but one  not a subset of
the other.

Gugg papers's math is certainly non-trivial. Again, it would help if
you reveal more about your level of expertise: Is the math there
too much, just right, ..?  

  1) Do you want as an answer  a summary (in the ga format)
  of what is acessible on the www without subscriptions and fees,
  on the issues raised in your clarificatons?
  2) Should description of additional search methods be included?
  3) Should theory on and above level of Gugg's paper be included?


Clarification of Question by hellblazer-ga on 09 Jan 2003 07:58 PST

> 1) Do you want as an answer  a summary (in the ga format) 
>    of what is acessible on the www without subscriptions and fees, 
>    on the issues raised in your clarificatons? 
> 2) Should description of additional search methods be included? 
> 3) Should theory on and above level of Gugg's paper be included? 

All three would be appreciated.  I'm more than willing to pay article
fees and subscriptions to more advanced search services, if I knew
where to look.
Many thanks.

Clarification of Question by hellblazer-ga on 09 Jan 2003 08:01 PST
With respect to the Gugg paper, the math is just too much and I need a
much more engineering approach to it.  I've asked my friends with PhDs
in Mathematics to look at this, and it is way out of their fields, so
they've been no help on the matter.  Don't hold much hope out for such
a treatment of Gugg's paper, but you never know until you ask.

Request for Question Clarification by arimathea-ga on 09 Jan 2003 13:13 PST

I have a found a voluminous body of information on several subjects
related to your query, as well as some fragments of discussion on the
patent and its potential ramifications and problems.  I have not found
a direct answer to your query, e.g., is he right or can the effect be
disproven or proven.

I noted your query on sci.physics(?) and your weblog with some
interest.   I'm not sure how much you've looked over out of what I've
developed, but it looks as if you're pretty up on the subject.  I
couldn't find any information on Bussard being a crackpot, or of his
research not being valid.  It seems to be very well regard but that
area of physics is quite experimental.

Tom Ligon, a writer for _Analog_ and noted SF author, worked with
Bussard for two years from 1998 to 2001.  He may be a good source for
information.  I'd like to present my body of research [which is
significant] as an answer to your query, but I think you probably
possess most of it.

The Navy's given Bussard over USD$4MM since 1995 to pursue his claims.
 If there were skeptics on his research, I couldn't find any.

Several universities have extensive particle physics and plasma
physics research programs; perhaps you may want to call the folks over
at Princeton Plasma Physics Lab or a similar organization?

Clarification of Question by hellblazer-ga on 09 Jan 2003 16:28 PST
Actually, this might be good enough.  Many thanks.  Part of this
experiment is to test the current limits of research on the web with
myself as the monkey.  And this experiment with google answers has
been an interesting process in itself.  So let me know what you
have...  You've found my weblog and other postings, so you know what
I've got.  If there's overlap, that's just the way it is.  Well worth
the money spent, in my book.  I'll take your other suggestions and
pursue them.

Many thanks.
Subject: Re: Standing acoustic waves generated by spherically orbiting particles in a plasma
Answered By: hedgie-ga on 10 Jan 2003 03:02 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
My answer will address  the following three topics:

>   1) Do you want as an answer  a summary (in the ga format)
>    of what is accessible on the www without subscriptions and fees,
>    on the issues raised in your clarifications?
> 2) Should description of additional search methods be included?
> 3) Should theory on and above level of Gugg's paper be included?

based on following:
HellBlazer> All three would be appreciated.


1a)  History of the 'amateur research into plasma' :

 Search Term: The Farnsworth/Hirsch Fusor

 The history, reminds one of Nicolaj Tesla's story and his following.
 It is summarized here, apropriately enough by 'Tesla Coil Builders'
 of Richmond:

 More details:

 1b)  Safety:  It is possible to make/buy a desktop neutron source.
      That does not mean that one should try that. Here are two

   ..With a good Geiger counter
and a bit of math, the neutron flux can be estimated.
Most of you who ultimately might want to make
neutrons will not make a fusor so efficient that it will be
dangerous for short term exposures. Nonetheless, you
should not forget that this is a nuclear device. Take
precautions appropriate for what you are doing..

  ...This not a how-to-build-it site!
 We do not give "full information"
 on what we do or the safety steps commonly
  applied in the particular field of study!
   We are showing you what we have done here
   in Richmond in a documentary format only.
   If you try and duplicate what you see here without
    full information or if you do not have all of
    the skills necessary to work safely in the areas
     shown, you or other onlookers can easily be killed
     injured or Richmond. You must, therefore, accept
     ultimate responsibility for your acts should you
     attempt any experiments shown

Beyond the danger of exposure,(health hazard) there is danger
of environmental contamination and violating local and federal
regulation and standarts.

There are several amateur sites providing wealth of information:
and this for vaccum research:

Large site
has interesting section on fusion and fusors:

 1c) Theory:
  There are some articles, difficult to asses, which promise:
New vision about a controllable fusion reaction
D+D->He with efficient energy yield
S. Sarg
ISBN 0-9730515-2-3

There is some serious research, funded by FINDS

Reporting on:
Gridded inertial-electrostatic devices rely on the radial acceleration
of charged particles between concentric,
 nearly transparent electrodes


    Conclusion of 1) is: Effect does exist,
                  Can be reproduced with modest means
                  Desktop experiment may be dangerous
                    (particularly if successful)
           and effect has commercial application (space propulsion
           and neutron activation for material analysis and

 Best approach, considering complexity of theory and numerical
 (plaguing all plasma modeling) is combination of experiments with  ad
 hoc calculations, as done in Winsconsin University study (see above).

2) additional search methods ?
   search terms: scientific citation (and references)

 The premiere tool of keeping up with new research is citacion index,
  which allows ask following type of question:

  Which, of all published papers, is referencing paper I know is

  In this case, the relevant paper is Gugg's article, possibly some of
the patents.

  This is a paid service offered by ISI:
in particular
 Some research libraries subscribe to it and will provide it to
patrons and guests for free.

This one, 'CITE seer' from japan, is free,  but slanted to Computer
science, mostly:

Also free: e-Print archive
 ... Physics. . High Energy Physics - Experiment (hep-ex new, recent,
abs, find); ...
Description: The Los Alamos National Lab maintains a collections of
dealing with nonlinear phenomena and others.( It moved to Cornell
but URL is same:

and general sites on plasma, e.g.

3) theory
       I would suggest combining search in the above sources with math
resources listed in
       ODP for differential equations

             It would require considerable reading and searching, but
individual judgement
	     is required here to select resources on the apropriate level.
	     Search here was limited to ODP catgeories, plasma and
idfferential equations.
	     In summary of all three topics:
 It is an interesting, No - a fascinating problem,
	                  requiring caution. 
 What about limiting the research to the theory to avoid
eventual altercation with the local Fire Marshal?
  The consesus of experts is betting your tax dollars on 
			  a different, though related aproach:,1413,82%257E1865%257E1075919,00.html

Picture of their setup is available:

   It would be pretty arogant to dare to compete with that!
    -- but then -- any break-through in science requires arogance,
 good luck or, preferably, both

    good luck

                 (we like customers to rate and evaluate our research
		  since it helps us to improve our work)

Request for Answer Clarification by hellblazer-ga on 12 Jan 2003 18:12 PST
The 2-D waves on the surface of a sphere are really at the heart of
the issue with Bussard's patent.  It's different from just the
spherically focused fusor effect.  Essentially, the radial waves of
the ions are resonantly coupled with the tangential waves that
traverse the core spherical surface.  When these waves collide, they
form standing waves on the surface of the core which spread out
radially forming shell structures shown in figure 5a of Bussard's
second patent (#5,160,695).  The radial and tangential waves are shown
in figures 4a and 4b of the same patent.  So the Gugg paper actually
describes these kind of standing waves.

These shell structures increase the density of ions in the center of
the structure, which increases the fusion reaction rate for the same
power input.  I think I've got a decent analytical model for it now so
we'll see how it goes.

Again, thanks.

Clarification of Answer by hedgie-ga on 13 Jan 2003 04:46 PST
I see. 
 It is quite a complex issue.

 Thanks for the explanation.
hellblazer-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $50.00
Many thanks.  You've managed to pull out quite a bit that I hadn't
been able to find in my scouring of the net.  A lot of overlap, but
very nice new stuff.

Don't worry, I'm not planning on competing.  I hold no illusions of
ever producing anything novel.  Mostly, I'm just fascinated by IEC and
in particular, the ICC effect described by Bussard and just want to
play around with it.

Again, many thanks!

Subject: Re: Standing acoustic waves generated by spherically orbiting particles in a plasma
From: hedgie-ga on 07 Jan 2003 21:01 PST
Plasma Containment is a vast and complex research subfield
 of nuclear physics.

 It is unlikely that limited form of interaction, provided by
 google answers format, can bring useful results, particularly
 when ga researcher has no prior exposure to the subjectmatter,
 (as indicated by
 'what you mean by "spherical particle flow plasmas"') request. 

 Just for context, here is a popular article with picture
 of a typical setup, (not  using  spherical geometry in this case).

This type of question could be better answered 
by a colaboration with a university
which has a research library available.
Subject: Re: Standing acoustic waves generated by spherically orbiting particles in a plasma
From: hellblazer-ga on 07 Jan 2003 22:01 PST
That is certainaly an acceptable answer.  It was certainly worth $100
to me to see if anyone could provide any illumination from their
scouring the web.
Subject: Re: Standing acoustic waves generated by spherically orbiting particles in a plasma
From: arimathea-ga on 10 Jan 2003 04:09 PST

Looks like hedgie got to it before I did.  My body of information is a
little more extensive and doesn't just focus on the fusor, although
that was one of the components of my research.  Too bad.  This was a
heck of a goose chase.  However, if you're interested in this
research, perhaps we can work something out under a separate question.
 The way I interpreted this before you posted your clarification was
that you wanted some additional biographical information on Bussard,
some information as to his credibility, and some more information on
the effect and related body of research.

Also, the field of plasma sonoluminescence may provide further

Google Answers Researcher
Subject: Re: Standing acoustic waves generated by spherically orbiting particles in a plasma
From: hedgie-ga on 12 Jan 2003 15:36 PST
Thanks for the rating, HellBlazer,

  I wanted to put in more on the Gugg article, which was apparently a
 part of the original question. However, I could not connect that
 to the physical situation: It seems to me that Gugg is describing 2D
 on the surfaces of a spehere. In the fusor one has  aproximately
 symetry, but the motion of the ions is mostly radial, not constained
to a 2D surface. It seems, on first reading,  that 'usual' 3D MHD is
more applicable.

           Much more can be said, I agree. By the time I noticed your
I already was deeply involved in the search, including reading of the
weblog on the site. I think that my going ahead with the answer was
proper, considering the clarification expressing the interst in 3
subtopics I listed.

 If there would be a followup question, I will certainly hold back so
that you have your chance to post your results. It is a large and
fascinating topic. I was particularly amazed to see that the effect
caused by high-frequency modulation on the grid voltage seems to go
back to Tesla himself....
Good luck with your next search and thanks for a tolerant, collegial


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