Lab Pictures 6

July 1, 2008; Room 102-A, Research II

                                NCSU, Raleigh NC

As you may imagine, much has happened in the half year since the last gallery. Not only did I improve the grid drastically, in two models (flat stainless circles and then large circles of 10 ga. stainless); it now charges to 6 kV. The antennas now screw through the wall with pipe thread and conductive pipe dope (if it didn't conduct it would blow up); with appropriate varnish on the outside I can reach 15 mTorr with the mechanical pump. The next step is to add a turbomolecular pump and see how far down I can go, then backfill with deuterium to about 10 mTorr and see if any neutrons come out.

     I noticed that the open-coil antennas formed bright plasma inside the antenna primarily, which is not what I want. So the next step is to fill the antennas solid and coat the whole thing with ceramic. There may have to be more metal shielding to keep the energy from causing fireballs at the base of the antenna, which is currently the case with the relatively primitive coils filled with polyclay and coated with high-temperature silicone, which burns at the base anyway. The Mark 2 antennas now under construction are of 10 ga copper (as before) embedded in a solid epoxy cone and coated with silica ceramic.

    Also the inner surface of the sphere is now coated with ITC ceramic, which is rather fragile and not the optimal solution to stopping the current between the grid and the wall--but the ceramic was on hand and does not need firing.

    I have also added data acquisition hardware to monitor the voltage on the two capacitor banks and will continue to expand that. At the moment I still am limited to the video camera for direct observation, but will be using a spectrometer when the new antennas and the turbo pump are in operation.


New coax connector

shows threaded feedthrough replacing rubber plugs

Viewing port, S

Homemade! Saved $600+ by making two. This is for an LED light array

Coax connector

This is the type used around the big flange

Flat grid

One of the two types of grid; probably won't be using this anymore as it is incompatible with Mark 2 antennas, and has too much curvature at edges

Better plumbing than before

Improvement but not good enough, still plastic; see below for better yet

South hemisphere plumbing

shows gas inlet, valve allowing in-line probes etc.

Camera mounting, N hemisphere

new mounting for the camera, more secure (doesn't show Faraday cage)

Side view

South hemisphere plumbing

Ceramic paint

attempt to insulate the wall from the grid using ceramic paint

Applying ceramic paint

Ceramic paint job

Heat gun cure

The ceramic paint required heating to cure


It peeled

As you can see


Notice I did this with the antennas in since they had expensive vacuum varnish on the outside

Peeling paint,

gnashing teeth

Manifold paint

To the auto supply store for high temp paint, over the mostly-scraped off ceramic paint

Manifold paint job

Chris Lease

REU student from NY who is helping me June and July

New improved grid

10 ga. stainless grid in two parts, clip into ceramic holders epoxied onto the aluminum

Humble self

Notice the paint has been sanded off the hemispheres

Drying the ceramic grid holders

S hemisphere grid

ITC clay spray

a mess

S hemisphere clay spray

Chris with polyclay coils

filled the coils with polyclay, not the best material though

Polyclay coils

allowed me to use the old original antenna coils after stripping off the ceramic

Me with metal plumbing

improvement over the old plastic

N hemisphere plumbing

showing the new turbo pump and thermocouple gauge

N hemisphere plumbing

the mechanical pump is below

Chris with new grid

showing slick new ceramic

N hemisphere ready for antennas

Power connection to grid, S

Connection to grid, N

Plaster molds

for new Mark 2 antennas

Cone molds

thank you Gatorade

Making the molds

PVC cone

which also is the mandrel for winding the wire (next month's gallery!)

PVC cone

another shot, kinda like a MIRV missile warhead don't you think?