Antimatter as Fuel for USAF Aircraft.

Michel Van

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in 1980s the USAF start Research Program for new energy and fuel for aircraft.
during that time the Industry came up with strange things

like Hughes Aircraft Company Corporate Research Laboratories and Dr. Robert L. Forward

they proposed ANTIMATTER as Aircraft fuel (no they not watches to much STAR TREK )

this is the first serious proposal to produce store and used Antimatter in large quantify

Production:
a accelerator produce antimatter in form Antiproton, into a collector and cooler
from there in to a decelerator and low energy Antipoton accumulator
low energy Antiproton with 200 MeV, those are use in Laser-aided antihydrogen formation.

Storage:
the Antihydrogen is cooled until it forms ice crystals with density of 0.0763 g/cc
a electrostatic suspension could hold milligram-sized ball antihydrogen ice
at accelerations up to 13 g and hold for a year.

Use as propulsion
a microcrystal each a microgram = 20 kg chemical fuel.

In rocket engine it work like that:
antimatter annihilation released energy (gamma rays and pions)
this energy its taken by heat exchanger out a cylinder of tungsten
(28 cm long 28 cmø weight 330 kg ) work like NERVA (but without Plutonium)
the maximum temperature would limited by melting point of tungsten 3000 °K
that mean the maximum specific impulse of 900 sec = 9 km/sec

a Jet engine work similar but use Air as fuel

Source:
Forward R. L. "Alternate Propulsion Energy Sources"
AFRPL-TR-83-067 Dec 1983
(Distribution limited to U.S. government agencies and DOD contractors.)

Forward R. L. "Antiproton Annihilation Propulsion"
Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 1, 1985 pp 370-374

or go to google and tip "Forward + PDF"
 

sferrin

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Airforce Magazine had an article in that time period about it. They also talked about "metastable helium", metallic hydrogen and so forth. No time machines, transporters or flux capacitors though.
 

Matej

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Interesting idea, but not yet matured for practical use. Let´s say that now we are able to produce some small quantities of antimatter (for laboratory purposes, not enough for propulsion of anything macroscopic). But the biggest problem of antimatter is it´s storage for longer periods of time because of the very high anihilation tendency with the matter around. There were tests with the small pozitron balls, but went almost nowhere.
 

Matej

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sferrin said:
Airforce Magazine had an article in that time period about it. They also talked about "metastable helium", metallic hydrogen and so forth. No time machines, transporters or flux capacitors though.

Metallic hydrogen is also a very interesting matter in the meaning of propulsion, but nothing you want to produce:

In March of 1996, however, a group of scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory reported that they had serendipitously produced, for about a microsecond and at temperatures of thousands of kelvin and pressures of over a million atmospheres (>100 GPa), the first identifiably metallic hydrogen. The Lawrence Livermore team did not expect to produce metallic hydrogen, as they were not using solid hydrogen, thought to be necessary, and were working at temperatures above those specified by metallization theory. Furthermore, previous studies in which solid hydrogen was compressed inside diamond anvils to pressures of up to 2.5 million atmospheres (~253 GPa), did not confirm detectable metallization.

S. T. Weir, A. C. Mitchell, and W. J. Nellis, Metallization of Fluid Molecular Hydrogen at 140 GPa (1.4 Mbar) Physical Review Letters 76, 1860 - 1863 (1996).
 

sferrin

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Matej said:
Interesting idea, but not yet matured for practical use. Let´s say that now we are able to produce some small quantities of antimatter (for laboratory purposes, not enough for propulsion of anything macroscopic). But the biggest problem of antimatter is it´s storage for longer periods of time because of the very high anihilation tendency with the matter around. There were tests with the small pozitron balls, but went almost nowhere.

Antimatter has the same basic problem as hydrogen- it's not just floating around on earth waiting to be scooped up. Hydrogen takes electricity from a powerplant to seperate it from oxygen (obviously that's not the ONLY way of obtaining H2) and antimatter needs a powerplant to produce the stuff.
 

Orionblamblam

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sferrin said:
Antimatter has the same basic problem as hydrogen- it's not just floating around on earth waiting to be scooped up.

It also behaves improperly when its container is breached. A hydrogen leak is one thing, but an antiproton leak is just plain bad. Also: if your plane is goping down (because, say, you took a SAM up the tailpipe, what with being a bomber and all), you can jettison fuel. Antimatter... not so much.
 

Michel Van

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not only in Metallization of Fluid Molecular Hydrogen, atomar hydrogen, "metastable helium"

but also stuff like "Free Energy" !

again Dr. Robert L. Forward
how had idea to use vacuum fluctuation with help of Casimir force.

source:
Dr. Robert L. Forward
Indistinguishable from Magic
baen book (1995) ISBN 0-671-87686-4

Dr. Robert L. Forward
"Extracting Electrical Energy from the vakuum by cohesion of charged Foliated Conductor"
Physical Review B. Vol. 30, pp 1700-1702 (1984)
 

lantinian

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Interesting Topic.
While its obvious that safety is the biggest factor if you are making a planet-bound propulsion, efficiency is #1 in long distance space travel. So even if they learn how to produce and contain the stuff, its full potential can only be realised on Starships.
 

sferrin

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Orionblamblam said:
sferrin said:
Antimatter has the same basic problem as hydrogen- it's not just floating around on earth waiting to be scooped up.

It also behaves improperly when its container is breached. A hydrogen leak is one thing, but an antiproton leak is just plain bad. Also: if your plane is goping down (because, say, you took a SAM up the tailpipe, what with being a bomber and all), you can jettison fuel. Antimatter... not so much.

As small as the amount would be though you could possibly make the "fuel tank" a self-contained thing and just jettison the whole thing. (Assuming you want to get rid of it for safety not weight loss)
 

sferrin

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lantinian said:
Interesting Topic.
While its obvious that safety is the biggest factor if you are making a planet-bound propulsion, efficiency is #1 in long distance space travel. So even if they learn how to produce and contain the stuff, its full potential can only be realised on Starships.

Even then it's dubious as the reaction products are gamma rays and neutrinos IIRC and how do contain/direct those? ???
 

Michel Van

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As small as the amount would be though you could possibly make the "fuel tank" a self-contained thing and just jettison the whole thing. (Assuming you want to get rid of it for safety not weight loss)

for a big bomber is like dropping a small nuke

Even then it's dubious as the reaction products are gamma rays and neutrinos IIRC and how do contain/direct those?

tungsten absorb the gamma ray (that the heat source !)
but Forward had also a Idea for better engine (with out tungsten)

the Idea:
after matter-antimatter annihilation for 70 nsec energy move in form of pions for 21 meter (at speed of light)
but they can directed by strong magnetic field like in a MHD engine !
after 70 nsec the pions decay to muons move in that form for 1850 meter in 6.2 usec
and decay in electrons and positrons

with other words Forward hase Photon rocket that "work" ;D
i think that USAF was not intrest in Engine in size of 1.871 km or 1,16 miles :eek:
 

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Yes, you can use the gamma rays. And you can forgot the neutrinos - there is not any chance to direct them or to use them. They also do not affect human body or construction material, so don't worry.
 

robunos

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Even then it's dubious as the reaction products are gamma rays and neutrinos IIRC and how do contain/direct those?

use the antimatter in an Orion pulse unit, antimatter interacts with the channel filler/propellant, anihilates some, vaporises the rest, puisher plate, thrust, etc.,etc.,

cheers,
Robin.
 

sferrin

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Michel Van said:
As small as the amount would be though you could possibly make the "fuel tank" a self-contained thing and just jettison the whole thing. (Assuming you want to get rid of it for safety not weight loss)

for a big bomber is like dropping a small nuke

Why would you want a nuke's worth of antimatter in an aircraft that might crash? It's even worse than a nuclear powered aircraft because at least the reactor won't EXPLODE if the plane crashes. Figure out how long your mission is likely to last and put in enough for ONE and call it good. Refuel when you get back to base.
 

sferrin

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Matej said:
Yes, you can use the gamma rays. And you can forgot the neutrinos - there is not any chance to direct them or to use them. They also do not affect human body or construction material, so don't worry.

That's why I mentioned them- they're useless when it comes to trying to harness them.
 

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a electrostatic suspension could hold milligram-sized ball antihydrogen ice
at accelerations up to 13 g and hold for a year.
and what does that cost, in dollars and in energy?
the biggest problem of antimatter is its storage for longer periods of time because of the very high anihilation tendency with the matter around.
for "very high tendency" read "certainty"
Every substance there is contains (is made in part from) protons. If an antiproton contacts a proton they annihilate eachother at once producing radiation.
Pions in the skions.
 

Michel Van

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and what does that cost, in dollars and in energy?

very expensive
Forward think on order of several tens up to hundreds milion dollar per Milligram :eek:
for energy the Antimatter factory consume same as the particle accelerators of CERN. (i think)

A B-52 hast 152649 kg on Jet fuel (JP-8 $1.74 = $265609,26)
a milligram of Antihydrogen replace 20 kg
makes 7632,45 milligram or 7,6 gr (AM $10 mio/ milligram = $76324500000 :eek: )
means a B-52 Antimatter drive can transport 152 t more (in Theory)
not bad from 27200 kg => 179849 kg but 76 billion cost the Antimatter Program alone !
 

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https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/07/solutions-for-near-term-antimatter-propulsion-using-breeding-cycle-for-positron-emitting-isotope.html

The world only produces a nanogram of antimatter every year but we cannot store any of it for any length of time.

Positron Dynamics has solutions to all of the huge problems to use the immense power of antimatter.

Positrons are 2000 times easier to produce than antiprotons.

Positrons are produced constantly from various isotopes.
 

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Perhaps dark matter/energy would be easier as it is easier to locate. Probably.
 

TomcatViP

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I fail to understand something guys, why would you store a ressource that can be found everywhere (think cost of tankage, transport and preleving it)? If you were on a planet with liquid methane lakes, would you store it before sailing over? C'mon this is the typical failed logic that only architects have the secret: any mechanical engineer would build you simply... a straw!
 

Arjen

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You get a much better energy content per weight for antimatter than for liquid methane. It's not just your payload you have to accelerate, you also need to accelerate your energy store/fuel. That's what makes antimatter appealing to power spacecraft - the energy store is lighter, which means the entire spacecraft is lighter, which means you need less energy/weight to accelerate it to its desired speed.
 

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The methane lake was cited only as an example (you are surrounded by "easily" available energy). Another parallel would be O2: what makes a turbojet a lightweight/easy to use propulsion meaning: most of its energy source in mass comes out of something that you just draw out of your surrounding environment (air). The complex inlet, compressor and vanes can then be seen only as... A straw.

If we ever goes with anti-matter as a mean of propulsion, we will certainly not store it but draw it for immediate usage by the mean of a flux of it.
 

TomS

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That's very unlikely indeed. There isn't a "flux" of free antimatter floating around in the environment. Sure, very tiny amounts happen spontaneously but not in ways that are usable as energy. It's a bit like saying you could power a spacecraft using cosmic background radiation.
 

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TomS said:
That's very unlikely indeed. There isn't a "flux" of free antimatter floating around in the environment. Sure, very tiny amounts happen spontaneously but not in ways that are usable as energy. It's a bit like saying you could power a spacecraft using cosmic background radiation.

Wellllllll........

https://www.centauri-dreams.org/2016/08/03/antimatter-production-harvesting-in-space/
 

TomS

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Orionblamblam said:
TomS said:
That's very unlikely indeed. There isn't a "flux" of free antimatter floating around in the environment. Sure, very tiny amounts happen spontaneously but not in ways that are usable as energy. It's a bit like saying you could power a spacecraft using cosmic background radiation.

Wellllllll........

https://www.centauri-dreams.org/2016/08/03/antimatter-production-harvesting-in-space/

Strikingly unhelpful for an aircraft (per the topic of this thread).
 

Orionblamblam

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TomS said:
Orionblamblam said:
[
https://www.centauri-dreams.org/2016/08/03/antimatter-production-harvesting-in-space/

Strikingly unhelpful for an aircraft (per the topic of this thread).

Not *necessarily.* For starters, the whole idea of an antimatter powered aircraft is of course wacky. *BUT* if you proceed from the assumption that such aircraft are built and put into service, no matter what you do, the antimatter is going to be the major cost of each flight. As shown above, you're talking *many* billions of dollars per flight. So if a Jupiter-orbiting antimatter collection facility can drop the price of antimatter an order of magnitude or two compared to terrestrial production, it *quickly* becomes far cheaper to make your airplane fuel hell and gone out at Jupiter Station than in downtown CERN. If you are making antimatter for *airplanes,* the cost of transporting antimatter from Jupiter to Earth becomes relatively trivial relatively quickly since the stuff is *far* better for space propulsion than air.
 

TomcatViP

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Really interesting indeed. The parallel with the turbojet is striking (here antimatter is used in lieu of Air).
 

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