New reactor design - transparent and spark triggered

  • Alan Smith


    Have you considered the development and sale of a liquid metal electrode based SunCell duplicate? A water vapor/lithium based alloy would be best but other alternatives are sodium/potassium, Galinstan, and gallium.

  • Hi Dan. Yes, we sell this stuff through www.Lookingforheat.com. You will find the hot cell there that these fit into (look for Model T reactor) and also a wide range of hardware and chemicals that are (in some cases) difficult or impossible to obtain in small amounts.


    You won't find this twin-tube steel system there yet, but it will be soon. Not a cheap item as you might imagine since it is a hand-built one-off- I think it will probably cost out at around $250. There is no qualification requirement to buy from us, beyond being a responsible adult and accepting full responsibility for what you do with your purchases. We can accept no responsibility for a mushroom cloud over Houston!


    Did I read correctly that the tubes would cost $250????? I am not bashing you on this, because I do not think you are too far off base on most of your other item prices I have seen, but shocked at that price, hand built or not. How long does it take you to cut drill and weld those to justify that cost?

  • In doing research for a metal additive manufacturing tool, I was very surprised to discover a robust use of household level magnetrons to build laboratory plasma torches for atomic spectrometry, here are some references:


    Uhm, Han S., Yong C. Hong, and Dong H. Shin. "A microwave plasma torch and its applications." Plasma Sources Science and Technology 15.2 (2006): S26.


    Green, Karyn M., et al. "Electronic excitation temperature profiles in an air microwave plasma torch." Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on 29.2 (2001): 399-406.


    Stonies, Robert, et al. "A new small microwave plasma torch." Plasma Sources Science and Technology 13.4 (2004): 604.


    Bilgic, A. M., et al. "Design and modelling of a modified 2.45 GHz coaxial plasma torch for atomic spectrometry." Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy 53.5 (1998): 773-777.

  • Did I read correctly that the tubes would cost $250????? I am not bashing you on this, because I do not think you are too far off base on most of your other item prices I have seen, but shocked at that price, hand built or not. How long does it take you to cut drill and weld those to justify that cost?


    Hi Stephen. This question makes me think you haven't done a lot of small-batch manufacturing. Here's how it works,


    Materials for the two tubes (all 316 Stainless steel)cost $60. The manufacturing operations for each tube are briefly as follows:-


    1. Cut reactor tube to length. Turn to size and insert stainless plug one end, electric-weld shut using pure stainless welding rod and return tube to lathe to tidy it up on both ends.
    2. Cut 30mm piece of haxagonal bar stock, drill through and tap M8x1.25. Turn a socket for the reactor tube on one end and face-grind the other end to improve sealing in operation. Cross drill 4.5mm holes for gas tubes. Re-thread to clean inside.
    3. Cut 2 pcs. 4.5mm OD stainless steel gas tube and finish ends square and smooth.
    4. Degrease and acid-wash all componenets
    5. Silver-braze reactor tube and gas tubes into hex head piece. This is two operations with a further acid-wash and rinse between. Silver-braze is good to 700C plus but as the thermal conductivity of 316 steel is low even when the sealed end of the reactor is at 1300C inside the Model T the exposed ends seen in the photograph only reach 300-400C.
    6. Lathe-turn the inner face of the M8 flange-bolt to improve sealing, cut to length and turn the cut end to neaten and smooth.
    7. Acid-wash and clean to remove all traces of oxides and carbonisation.
    8. Pressure-test.


    That's it. About a days labour and involves around $8,000+ in plant and machinery . All profits (haha!) go back into the company to fund further research and so on. We draw no money for ourselves at all.

  • Hi Axil.


    Sounds like a fascinating project, but right now I am 'up to my ears' in Ni/H. The latest improvements to the Model T are attracting a lot of attention in certain (academic) quarters and I am being asked for more equipment for them to experiment with. They are all a bit shy, so I can't tell you who they are - but I am insisting the results are published..


  • I actually have done much hand machining and tooling and I am well versed in most major CAD apps (solidworks/mastercam is my weapon of choice), as well as a skilled welder, which is why I was so shocked at the price. I personally would consider myself moving at a snails pace if it took me a full day to create two of those tubes....3-4 hours at very most. I do appreciate you explaining the process though.

  • Alan S.,
    you are responding to ?


    I was responding to this, ( and attempting to support your detailed and reasoned response to Stephen)


    I actually have done much hand machining and tooling and I am well versed in most major CAD apps (solidworks/mastercam is my weapon of choice), as well as a skilled welder, which is why I was so shocked at the price. I personally would consider myself moving at a snails pace if it took me a full day to create two of those tubes....3-4 hours at very most. I do appreciate you explaining the process though.