Translator:Henyee TranslationsEditor:Henyee Translations
Institute for Advanced Study, deans office.
When Lu Zhou saw Yang Xu walk through the door, he stopped writing and looked at him.
Is the analysis result ready?
Yang Xu took out a USB from his pocket and placed it on the desk. The data is inside.
Lu Zhou said, What about the original copy?
Yang Xu: Its in the backup database Is there a problem?
Lu Zhou: Delete it.
Yang Xu paused for a second. He didnt ask why, he only nodded.
After Lu Zhous office door was closed, he plugged in his USB into the laptop and opened the folder. He began to carefully examine each picture.
After he came out of the underground laboratory yesterday morning, he took a few samples from the circular double-layer structure between the fuel tank and the heat exchanger. He gave it to Yang Xu for him to do an infrared spectrum characteristic peak analysis and to take some transmission electron microscope images.
Looking at the pictures alone, it seemed like his speculation was correct.
Since the fragmented nano-ceramic composite material had been embrittled, it was very difficult to calculate the original structural characteristics. However, looking at the internal carbon residue, one could conclude that it was an anisotropic heat-resistant composite material that had high-temperature resistant properties.
Through the images taken by the transmission electron microscope for the inner layer material samples, he could clearly see that there were hydrogen residues inside several samples.
As far as Lu Zhou was concerned, there were two possible scenarios that could cause something like this.
One scenario was that the hydrogen atoms came from the material neutron decay.
The other scenario was that a high-energy proton beam broke through the inner wall of the material and remained inside the material.
The hydrogen particles and the swelling inside the material were basically distributed in a concentrated area. By comparing the penetration force of neutron and the proton beam, Lu Zhou could basically infer that a large probability of the swelling of this structure was mainly caused by the proton beam.
In this case, the debris of the Hall-effect thruster lying in his underground laboratory was 90% likely to be using nuclear fusion energy.
The power came from the fusion reaction between protons and helium-3!
It is fusion batteries!
Lu Zhous speculation was confirmed. He slowly looked at the images on the screen and was filled with excitement.
Not only that, but he could use the limited clues to roughly deduce the technical route of this gadget.
For example, looking at the closed structure and the damage to the inner wall of the reactor, the small fusion reactor was probably disposable.
Which meant that the fuel was directly integrated into the nuclear core and that the entire core was directly discarded after one use.
This might sound a bit wasteful, but in fact, this was the most feasible approach.
If one didnt care about the pounding high-energy proton beams, the small amount of neutron-induced radiation damage to the materials, and the long-term economic benefits, a lot of complex systems like the liquid lithium neutron recovery system could be omitted.
Not only would this reduce the difficulty of the project, but it would also save a lot of space.
After all, every square inch on the spacecraft was valuable space.
As for shielding materials, heating components, heat exchanger systems, and the nuclear core monitoring system, these expensive components could be integrated into the engine itself, serving as the battery section of the nuclear core.
Thinking about it this way, the engineering difficulty of this one-time fusion power supply shouldnt be too high or ridiculous
Of course, this concept wasnt ridiculous if one compared it to a second-generation controllable fusion technology. It was only ridiculous when compared to the current technology available.
If someone designed a second-generation controllable fusion reactor with the one-time-use disposable concept in mind, the engineering difficulty wouldnt be very high. It might even be easier than the STAR-2 demonstration reactor. However, the cost of generating the electricity would be astronomically high.
It would be like using aerospace fuel to power a civilians house
The entire design concept is to integrate the fuel inside the nuclear core and control the power of the engine by controlling the volume of the intermediate reaction chamber and the fuel consumption rate through the two-layer structure So the nuclear core shouldnt undergo constant ignition. Instead, it should undergo fast ignition.
But the fusion battery on the Hall-effect thruster debris is probably not done by magnetic confinement, it should be done by way of another technical route.
Even though he found a structure similar to a superconducting magnet on the Hall-effect thruster debris, the amount was obviously not enough to confine hundreds of millions of degrees of high-temperature plasma. Moreover, in space, the superconducting magnet would be in contact with the ionization chamber, and its real function was probably to provide an alternating magnetic field for the Hall propulsion unit
So, is this inertial confinement fusion?
Lu Zhou used a pen to draw on the draft paper. His eyes began to lit up.
Fast ignition, inertial confinement fusion
The technical route is clear to me now!
He restrained the excitement in his heart and scrunched the paper into a ball. He then stuffed the paper ball into his pocket. He took out his phone and quickly dialed a number.
It rang three times. When it was connected, he heard Secretary Fengs voice.
Lu Zhou said, Its me.
Feng Shuqing smiled and said, Professor Lu, whats up now?
Lu Zhou: How is the restructuring of the STAR-2 demonstration reactor team?
After Feng Shuqing heard this question, he replied, The staff reallocation, inventory check, and property rights allocation has basically been completed. The relevant documents have been submitted to theSASAC1. Ill wait for them to inspect the situation. If there are no big problems, itll take a week at most for East Asia Energy to split from the STAR-2 project team.
Feng Shuqing smiled and said, Are you ready to get in the car? If you arent, we can wait for a few days.
Get in the car?
Lu Zhou paused for a second. He didnt understand what Feng Shuqing was talking about.
However, this was obviously not the time to ponder about this, so he ignored it and continued to speak.
Make sure to look over the operations at East Asia Energy, just follow the higher-ups instructions. The reason I called you today is to talk about something else. I have a new research project in mind. I need to transfer some people from the STAR-2 project.
Feng Shuqing didnt ask questions. He merely said, Okay, give me their names.
Lu Zhou thought for a bit and said, It might be a long list. Itll be difficult to communicate through the phone. Ill make a name list and send it to your email.
Feng Shuqing paused for a second.
How many people do you need?
Lu Zhou: Not a lot, around ten.
You think thats not a lot?
Feng Shuqing smiled and cautiously asked, Can I ask what project is it?
Lu Zhou thought for a bit before he replied, Its regarding the miniaturization of controllable fusion.
Feng Shuqing: ???