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The Antimatter Factory
(by Django Manglunki)

Over the past 20 years scientists at CERN have been using antiparticles in many different ways for their daily work.
Antiparticles can be generated by colliding subatomic particles. Before being delivered to the various physics experiments, they must be isolated, collected and stored in order to tune their energy to the appropriate level.

Until now, each of these steps has been carried out by a dedicated machine with the main purpose of providing high energy antiparticles.

But now the first “self-contained antiproton factory”, the Antiproton Decelerator (or AD), is operational at CERN . It will produce the low energy antiprotons needed for a range of studies, including the synthesis of antihydrogen atoms – the creation of antimatter.

AD Progress – 19 September, 2002
Thousands of cold anti-atoms produced at CERN

[Found on this page – left sidebar – ]

What is the AD?
What does it consist of?

What does the AD consist of?

The AD ring is an approximate circle with a circumference of 188 m. It consists of a vacuum pipe surrounded by a long sequence of vacuum pumps, magnets, radio-frequency cavities, high voltage instruments and electronic circuits. Each of these pieces has its specific function:

– Antiprotons circulate inside the vacuum pipe in order to avoid contact with normal matter (like air molecules), and annihilate. The vacuum must be optimal, therefore several vacuum pumps, which extract air, are placed around the pipe.

Magnets as well are placed all around. There are two types of magnets: the dipoles (which have a North and a South pole, like the well-known horseshoe magnet) serve to change the direction of movement and make sure the particles stay within their circular track. They are also called “bending magnets“. Quadrupoles (which have four poles) are used as ‘lenses’. These “focussing magnets” make sure that the size of the beam is smaller than the size of the vacuum pipe.

– Magnetic fields can change the direction and size of the beam, but not its energy. To do this you need an electric field: this is provided by radio-frequency cavities that produce high voltages in synchronicity with the rotation of particles around the ring.

– Several other instruments are needed to perform more specific tasks: two cooling systems “squeeze” the beam in size and energy; one injection and one ejection system let the beam in and out of the machine.

[With pictures on left sidebar]

How does it work?
The AD experiments

Watch how ATHENA makes anti-atoms . . .



Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Cheaper Battery for Hybrid Cars

New lead-acid batteries could achieve high performance.

By Tyler Hamilton

Still going: Tests of a Honda Insight equipped with a novel type of lead-acid battery showed that the hybrid vehicle can run more than 100,000 miles using the new technology.

Still going: Tests of a Honda Insight equipped with a novel type of lead-acid battery showed that the hybrid vehicle can run more than 100,000 miles using the new technology.

Still going: Tests of a Honda Insight equipped with a novel type of lead-acid battery showed that the hybrid vehicle can run more than 100,000 miles using the new technology.
Credit: Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium

The future market for hybrid-electric vehicles, at least those that are affordable, isn’t necessarily paved with lithium. Researchers in Australia have created what could be called a lead-acid battery on steroids, capable of performing as well as the nickel-metal hydride systems found in most hybrid cars but at a fraction of the cost.

The so-called UltraBattery combines 150-year-old lead-acid technology with supercapacitors, electronic devices that can quickly absorb and release large bursts of energy over millions of cycles without significant degradation. As a result, the new battery lasts at least four times longer than conventional lead-acid batteries, and its creators say that it can be manufactured at one-quarter the cost of existing hybrid-electric battery packs.

In the United Kingdom last week, a Honda Insight hybrid powered by the UltraBattery system surpassed 100,000 miles on a test track. “The batteries were still in perfect condition at the end of the test,” says David Lamb, who heads up low-emission transport research at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency. “What we’ve got is a lead-acid battery that is nice and cheap but can perform as well as, or better than, the nickel-metal hydride technology, which we know is very expensive.”

Lead-acid batteries, invented by French physicist Gaston Plante in 1859, don’t get much respect these days, despite being a crucial fixture under the hood of most vehicles. They contain lead, so environmentalists don’t like them. They’re heavy for the energy they store–a bad trait for mobile applications. And they degrade easily if not cycled properly. Indeed, there have been no major advances in the technology over the decades.

Meanwhile, a newer generation of batteries–most notably lithium-ion ones–are capturing the attention of investors and automakers. “Many have tried to improve the lead-acid battery, but the improvements were usually not that great or worth the added cost,” says Malcolm Shemmans, founder and president of BET Services, a provider of battery-testing services to the auto industry.

To compensate for some of the shortcomings of lead-acid technology, many in the past have tried to complement the batteries with supercapacitors. In the late 1990s, for example, Lamb helped design two hybrid cars that used a 60-volt lead-acid pack and a separate 150-volt supercapacitor pack. The lead-acid system allowed the vehicles to drive in all-electric mode in the city, while the supercapacitors gave the cars the jolt that was needed for acceleration and the ability to quickly absorb energy from braking.

The cars worked well, but all the power electronics that were needed to control the two power systems were heavy and prohibitively expensive. Instead of treating the lead-acid batteries and supercapacitors as separate systems, Lamb’s team decided to eliminate the need for all external electronics and instead build the supercapacitors directly into the battery. Essentially, one of the plates (the negative electrode) in the lead-acid battery was made half of lead and half of carbon, turning the battery into a supercapacitor-lead-acid hybrid.
[Etc. ]

Meanwhile, Axion Power International, in New Castle, PA, has also developed a new type of lead-acid battery. Edward Buiel, chief technical officer with Axion, says that lead-acid batteries can play a significant role in the future of transportation and energy supply. Unfortunately, he adds, the automakers don’t see the potential. “If you’re not lithium-ion or nickel-metal hydride, they’re not interested. It’s frustrating.”

Buiel says that the typical cost of a nickel-metal hydride power pack is $2,000, and close to $5,000 retail. “A comparable lead-acid could be in the range of $1,000 in low volume, and significantly less in high volume,” he says. “It’s a battery where the consumer could see enough fuel savings for a payback in a year or two.”

[ . . . ]



[From – comments on this article – ]

Firefly’s Oasis battery available mid-year?
nekote on 01/24/2008 at 4:31 AM

An Illinois company, FireFly, is coming to market with their new lead acid battery line, Oasis, a Group 31 battery for the trucking market, in the middle of 2008.

The lead plates are made with carbon-graphite foam to increase surface area.  Reduces weight, greatly increases charge / discharge rates, less affected by temperature, more resistant to vibration.

More bang for the weight or volume.
And should be more durable.

Re: Firefly’s Oasis battery available mid-year?
killian on 01/24/2008 at 9:38 AM

I was going to suggest someone should combine the Firefly technology with the supercap to get the best of both.  By the way, FF is at http://www.fireflyenergy.com/


My Note – just thought this was too nifty –

How Radial Engines Work

by Marshall Brain

Inside a Radial Engine

The radial engine idea is very simple — it takes the pistons and arranges them in a circle around the crankshaft, as shown here:

(go to this link – it has a moving diagram of a radial engine including the spark and combustion / compression cycle) – just too fun to watch



Also nifty –


[My Note – back before there was high technology around every corner – they built things to work. Very interesting and this google books allows reading it.]

A Manual of Experimentation    In Physics, Chemistry and Natural History with the Porte Lumiere and Magic Lantern – 1877 – google books

Tells how to make a magic lantern contraption – and a porte lumiere using sunlight – has a diagram and written explanation.

[Excerpt – ]

The Art of Projecting

A magnified image of a picture, or of any phenomenon, when thrown upon a screen by means of sunlight and lenses, or with a magic lantern, is called a projection.

When sunlight is to be used for this purpose, it is necessary to have some fixture to give the proper direction to the beam. The heliostat and the porte lumiere are the devisce in common use. The latter was the earliest form, and was invented by Gravesand, a Dutch professor of natural philosophy, in the early part of the last century. It was afterwards reinvented by Captain Drummond, an Englishman, who called it the heliostat. The latter term is now only applied to an automatic arrangement by which a mirror is moved by clock-work in such a way that a beam of sunlight reflected from it may be kept in one direction all day, if it be needed so long. Silberman and Foucault have each devised very satisfactory instruments, but they are too costly to be owned by any but the wealthy; the catalogue price of the cheapest of these being five hundred francs. C. Gerhardt, of Bonn, however, makes a small one, carrying a good mirror three inches in diameter, for twenty dollars.

The Porte Lumiere – How Made

The porte lumiere is made of various patterns, and its movements are directed by turning milled-head screws. Ritchie makes an excellent one with three and a half inch aperture, for about twenty-five dollars, and it is recommended that such an one be purchased at the outset, if it can be afforded, but as many who would be glad to work with one cannot purchase it, directions will be given for making one, that will enable and person who is familiar with the use of caprenters’ tools, to make one at a trifling cost that will answer every purpose.

The room in which the porte lumiere is to be used must, of course, be one into which the sun can shine. A room having windows only upon the North side, evidently cannot be used at all for such a purpose; one having windows only upon the East or upon the West side could be used only in forenoon or afternoon; while one with windows looking to the South can be used nearly all day. Choose then that window where the sun is available the longest, and opposite to which can be stretched the screen to receive the projections upon. Next, take a well-seasoned piece of pine board a foot or more in width, and an inch thick when dressed; cut it to the length of the width of the window sash, so that it may fit into the window frame, and the sash be brought down upon it; this will keep it tightly in place. With the compasses, scratch two concentric circles in the middle of the board, one with a radius of four inches, the other with a radius of four inches and a half. Saw out the inner circle completely, and cut the other but one half through the board, and then cut away, making a square rabbet as show at b b. Next, take a round piece of inch board of the same diameter as the outer circle (namely, nine inches), cut a rabbet upon one side of it so that it will nicely fit into the hole of the larger board, as indicated at c c.

Make the worked edges, and touching surfaces, quite smooth; but the outer edge should be made a trifle smaller than the hole, in order to allow the disk to turn freely round in it; then the hole may be cut in the disk to receive the lens, four or five inches in diameter, whichever it may chance to be.

Procure a nice piece of thin looking-glass, twelve or fifteen inches long and five inches wide. Fasten it to a back of wood made a little larger than itself, with broad-headed tacks, or bits of wire driven in and the top bent at right angles. This back will need to be an inch thick at the bottom, but may taper like a shingle to the top, where it need not be half and inch thick;  m is the mirror and  h is the back in the figure adjoining.




High Temperature Material Processes (An International Quarterly of High-Technology Plasma Processes)

An International Journal




ISSN for PRINT: 1093-3611

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2006, Volume10

Issue 4

154 pages

DOI: 10.1615/HighTempMatProc.v10.i4

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  • Milan Hrabovsky
    Thermal Plasma Department, Institute of Plasma Physics, Za Slovankou 3, 18200, Praha 8, Czech Republic

    M. Konrad
    Institute of Plasma Physics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Za Slovankou – P. O. Box 17 182 21 Prague 8 – Czech Republic

    Vladimir Kopecky
    Thermal Plasma Department, Institute of Plasma Physics AS CR, Za Slovankou 3, 18200, Praha 8, Czech Republic

    M. Hlina
    Institute of Plasma Physics, ASCR,, Za Slovankou 3, Prague 8, Czech Republic

    T. Kavka
    Thermal Plasma Department, Institute of Plasma Physics AS CR, Za Slovankou 3, 18200, Praha 8, Czech Republic

    O. Chumak
    Thermal Plasma Department, Institute of Plasma Physics AS CR, Za Slovankou 3, 18200, Praha 8, Czech Republic

    G. van Oost
    Department of Applied Physics, Ghent University, Rozier 44, B-9000 Gent, Belgium; and EnviTech S.A., 9830 Sint-Martens-Latern, Belgium

    E. Beeckman
    Department of Applied Physics, Ghent University, Rozier 44, B-9000 Gent, Belgium; and EnviTech S.A., 9830 Sint-Martens-Latern, Belgium

    Benjamin Defoort
    Department of Applied Physics, Ghent University, Rozier 44, B-9000 Gent, Belgium; and EnviTech S.A., 9830 Sint-Martens-Latern, Belgium
    Plasma pyrolysis and gasification for production of syngas is an alternative to convential methods of biomass treatment. Basic analysis of energy balances of plasma gasification of wood is presented in the paper. The experimental reactor equipped with the hybrid gas-water stabilized torch with arc power up to 160 kW has been used in experiments with wood gasification and pyrolysis. The hybrid torch, producing steam plasma with small amount of argon, is characterized by extremely low plasma flow rate and high plasma enthalpy, which results in high process efficiency and optimal composition of produced syngas. The experimental results proved that homogeneous heating of the volume of plasma reactor and proper mixing of plasma with treated material was ensured despite of low plasma mass flow rate and constricted form of plasma jet. The conditions within the reactor ensured complete destruction of tested substance. Depending on operation conditions, the main components of produced syngas were hydrogen (28−46% vol.), CO (44−68%), CO2 (2−8%) and Ar(0.2−8%). No presence of complex hydrocarbons or tar was detected.

    DOI: 10.1615/HighTempMatProc.v10.i4.70

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    Article price – $35.00

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    (Go to this link above, if you are interested in purchasing this full article or to subscribe to their journal – or check to see if your local university has a copy)


    [ More nifty stuff – ]


    Geometric stringy gravity

    C. Aragone1

    CERN, CH-1211, Geneva 23, Switzerland

    Received 30 June 1986.

    Available online 10 October 2002.


    Following the indications that Einstein’s gravity is corrected due to superstring effects, we propose a model for even-dimensional gravity that has a very strong geometrical appeal. Its leading correction to Einstein’s gravity is the Gauss-Bonnett invariant and for D>6 it also contains all the additional Euler invariants. The model emphasizes the role of two-dimensional subspaces as the elementary building blocks of the higher-dimensional space-time. It is the natural consistent spin-2 generalization of the Born-Infeld (spin-1) action.

    Physics Letters B
    Volume 186, Issue 2, 5 March 1987, Pages 151-156




    Strange Matter Exhibit – Materials Science and Nanotechnology