My name is Sarvesh Sadana. I built a working fusion reactor in my garage. I also conduct research at Berkeley and run a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit. AMA!
Nov 12th 2017 by DrSadana • 10 Questions • 86 Points
Hiya Reddit! I'm a longtime lurker, but some friends convinced me to do an AMA.
My name is Sarvesh Sadana. I'm currently a senior (17) in high school.
For the past year and a half, I've been building an Inertial Electrostatic Confinement fusion reactor (fusor) in my garage. It utilizes an extremely powerful electric gradient in a high vacuum to accelerate positively charged ions toward a negative central grid. The charged ions have such high velocity (30 million Kelvin) that they collide with one another and fuse. Half of those fusions produces a neutron, which is then measured using a He-3 proportional counter and a digital oscilloscope. It took hundreds of hours, but as of September 16, 2017 I achieved fusion.
The project I'm currently working on is a liquid helium generator. It consists of a high-psi air compressor, high-pressure stainless steel tubing, a reservoir, a regulator, tanks of nitrogen, neon, helium, and more. It utilizes the Joule Thomson effect to cool the gases down to near absolute zero (helium liquefies at 4 Kelvin, and has a JT inversion temperature of 45 Kelvin). The generated liquid helium will be used to cool a superconducting electromagnet, which will reach extremely high levels of magnetic flux.
I've also been conducting research at UC Berkeley for the last 6 months. I create composite 3D printing filament with superior mechanical and thermal properties. I'm currently working with Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers, and their potential applications in 3D printing. It's super exciting stuff!
Lastly, I'm also the co-founder and CEO of a nonprofit called Shoecyclist. We hold shoe donation drives where we donate new and used shoes to the homeless. We also have several local chapters across California.
Feel free to ask me any questions about anything! I have opinions on everything from Star Trek to scientific publishers.
https://imgur.com/BQILCbl (My fusor)
https://imgur.com/EgtqYVo (Pic of fusion plasma)
https://imgur.com/4dVSeUe (Liquid helium generator - in progress)
Neutron club application: http://www.fusor.net/board/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=11729
If you want any more proof, please feel free to ask.
Your fusion reactor -- how large is it, and how much power (both can be roughly) does it put out?
The SS chamber where the reactions actually happen isn't very large -- only about 6 inches in diameter. If you're including the vacuum system, the pumps, the power supply, etc., then it's much larger (mostly because I want to operate it from a distance for safety). If I had a space limitation, I could probably fit everything within 15 sq feet.
As for power- it produces almost nothing. The reason we have billion dollar fusion facilities such as ITER is because achieving more power than we put in is very, very hard. I put in about 1.5 kilowatts into the fusor (instruments, vacuum pumps, power supply), and get out probably less than a microwatt. Most of the power goes to accelerating the ions, heating up the chamber, and maintaining the vacuum.
Are you the one they're talking about online when it says "power companies hate her!"?
I'm a guy, so I sure hope not!