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Building a fusion reactor (part 4): Inertial confinement chamber

Updated: Mar 31

Constructing the Inertial Confinement Chamber (IEC) proved to be much more difficult than expected. The IEC essentially works as a cage. As the voltages steps up, the potential difference between the walls of the fusor and the IEC in the center increases, ultimately ionizing the particles inside, and sending them hurling at each other in the inside. The chamber’s shape acts as a way to trap the particles on the inside so that even if an ionized atom doesn’t collide with another, it will stay trapped in the center, increasing the chance for another collision.

We use stainless steel wiring due to its resistance to high temperatures and it’s more than sufficient conductivity. First, we cut 3 lengths of wire and formed them into rings of roughly 1.5” (3.81 cm) diameters. Each ring is slightly larger than the last in order for them to fit snuggly into a cage. We must also sand the ends of the wire in order to prep the sides for welding. Inconsistencies in the end pieces makes the junction harder to connect.

From here, we tried to use a torch to braze the stainless steel rings together but rings had trouble making joints, especially when it was a 3 way intersection.

Additionally, the thinness of the wire meant that it was too delicate for the use of a TIG (tungsten inert gas) torch.

Ultimately, it took a blowtorch of much higher heat (~400° C) and the use of a silver solder that linked the 3 rings and screw together:

Above, you can see we also created a spiral shaped IEC in addition to the star-shaped one. This one proved to be much easier, merely bending a long bit of wire using pliers, and welding it onto a screw.



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