Show Us Your Tech: 'Softie Builds Nuke Reactor in Garage

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Carl Greninger works in Microsoft IT Operations as a PM. Carl is also the closest I've met to a real life "Doc Brown". He even has his own version of a Mr. Fusion, except his really works. Carl spent about a year along with a group of 13-17 year old students building his own nuclear reactor. Precisely, what they've built is called a Farnsworth Fusor. Carl and his team are listed as being in "The Neutron Club", which means they have built an operating neutron producing fusion system, with two of the 13 year old members on his team being listed as "Youngest Fusioneer".

Carl talks to us about his Fusor, what drove him to build it, and what he hopes to accomplish with it.

 

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    The Discussion

    • User profile image
      martinmine

      Wow! This is amazing! : D However, I do belive that the next nuclear power source is from thorium, since it is far safer than the traditional plant. In addition to this, it can also break down nuclear waste. The problem is that people get panic when they hear the word "radio active" or "radiation".

      But good work! : D

    • User profile image
      magicalclick

      Aw man, I feel old.

    • User profile image
      Frank D

      I feel stupid

    • User profile image
      Buffering

      Buffering.. Yawn

    • User profile image
      Kaylee O

      I just want to say what an honor it has been to be a part of this team. I have learned SOOO much about Nuclear Fusion and about Isotopes and what they are. I was one of the first members on the team. All I can say is WOW. Looking back to how i was before this year. failing grades. this team has deffinatly changed me! <3 - Kaylee.

    • User profile image
      sagum

      @Kaylee O:

      I would have given my right arm to do something like this in my school years.

    • User profile image
      DevTez

      Fantasic insight, I'd love to see some more stuff like that.

    • User profile image
      Ms S

      Congrats to Kaylee and her entire team. What a unique opportunity for learning and discovering. Well done!

    • User profile image
      JonathanH13

      Fantastic effort guys - the neutron club is super-exclusive. Keep up the good work.

      Here is a cylindrical attempt, also a work in progress:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUfJn2JGlk8

    • User profile image
      Afsal

      WOW.

      Your passion is great. I wish you important breakthroughs. It is this passion that keeps humankind survivie.

      Nuclear energy is good. The only problem is storage and disposal.

    • User profile image
      Bosan

      That girl is called Crystal Shoe? Let me guess, hey mom is really into Barbie.

    • User profile image
      Paul Smith

      Hats off to him and the young group that built this. Congratulations!

      The late Dr. Robert W. Bussard was also working on a variant of the Farnsworth fusion called Polywell. Check out http://www.emc2fusion.org and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polywell or watch the Google-Talk video here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1996321846673788606#

      Unlike the Farnsworth Fusor, Dr. Bussard's design might actually reach "break-even" and be used to produce power. Also Dr. Bussard's design would fuse Hydrogen and Boron with no neutron radiation. I.e. no induced radioactivity in the reactor chamber. No radioactive waste at all.

    • User profile image
      Mr Crash

      Carl Greninger is on the right track, i hope more people will adopt this.

      To Carl Greninger:
      Why didn't you crank it up to max ?
      Is it badly built so it can't handle it ?

    • User profile image
      frakier

      very cool, the only things I ever built in school was 2 shelves in woodworking in grade 7 and some paper machete in high school.

    • User profile image
      Kaylee O

      to @Bosan,
      Her name is Krysal Schuh.

    • User profile image
      Krystal

      My mother was not into Barbie :p and Kaylee you spe;t my name wrong. Krystal Schuh

    • User profile image
      Zer0mass

      Trying to do stuff like this is what got me kicked out of high school science class; not because of my teacher, she liked the idea, but because administration thought I was some sort of terrorist.

    • User profile image
      Bass

      @Zer0mass:

      I nearly got expelled from high school for promoting a social networking kind of website (yes, before Facebook existed) in my high school, so I feel your pain. Smiley

    • User profile image
      Clint

      Awesome job guys, this is so cool!

    • User profile image
      Snympi

      Excellent job guys. This message needs to get out to schools as well as science teachers. Theory is fine but practical science is <nerd> awesome </nerd>

    • User profile image
      beyzam

      very good Chat

    • User profile image
      Jayce Glenn

      @Mr Crash

      No, The max is 50,000 Volts. We have a Ballast Resistor that only allows that much. We've gone higher without the resistor. But, we ended up toasting 2 of our many Diodes. Yes, it uses up quite a lot of juice. We have to run the machine from 2 seperate circuits in the house so we dont pop any breakers. We are currently redesigning it to use the same amount of power as we have been, but having it concentrated to where it needs to be. Half of our current has been jumping towards the metal at the bottom of our vacuum. We'll see what happens after we get that fixed! :)

      ~Jayce

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