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Ask Slashdot: Advice On a DIY Neutron Beam?

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the preferably-something-tsunami-proof dept.

Power 117

Max Littlemore writes "I have been breeding at home using lots of old smoke detectors with a view toward generating my own and getting off the grid. The only thing stopping me is a reliable neutron beam. Given that all the equipment I'm using is re-purposed kitchen equipment, concerns about safety mean I'm to build a uranium reactor to supply neutrons to the thorium one. So I'm putting the question out there: do any Slashdotters know of a way to make a powerful neutron beam out of things I might find around the house?" It would be helpful to include images and diagrams of your own personal neutron beam .

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117 comments

Sad day (4, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 3 years ago | (#35690606)

It's days like this when I really miss "OMG!!! Ponies!!!"...

Re:Sad day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690640)

Almost... with neutron beams, we go "OMG!!! Pewpewpew!!!"

Re:Sad day (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 3 years ago | (#35690676)

OMG!!! Ponies!!! lasted a little long, but I thought the initial article with the new theme was pretty funny.

This actually ask reads a lot like my new one, but replace DIY, with in my company lab. It's just easier to post a question than do your job.

Re:Sad day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690734)

OMG! If I had a Beowulf cluster of .... Ponies!!!

Re:Sad day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690772)

Just visit http://www.ponychan.net/

Ponies all day long.

Re:Sad day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690970)

I agree.

The madlib style articles are not really interesting, and a distraction from any humor in the text.

I wonder if advertisers care about the drop to near zero traffic.

Re:Sad day (1)

treeves (963993) | about 3 years ago | (#35691338)

Hmmm. Shouldn't the comments change depending on which word selections I make in the story? Doesn't seem to make any difference.

Not sure, but (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690616)

Not sure, but when you get that beam working, could you point it at whoever is in charge of the Slashdot April 1 thing?

High intensity neutrons would sterilize them perhaps, preventing them from reproducing. What we really need is a "subtlety beam".

My Ahazzz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690624)

My Ahazzz 8====== Makes Radium

DiY Neutron beams (2)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 3 years ago | (#35690636)

A DiY neutron beam? Sure. Give me three coconuts, a piece of string, MacGyver, and your bank account numbers.

And OMG Ponies. Please, for the love of God.

PS - Act now and I'll sell you the Brooklyn bridge at a 12% discount.

Re:DiY Neutron beams (2)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 3 years ago | (#35691040)

Give me three coconuts, a piece of string, MacGyver, and your bank account numbers.

That won't work what you really need are two palladium plates, some water and a battery to make your own cold fusion reactor which is an excellent neutron source and should work well for powering your thorium reactor. However please don't tell al Qaeda because you know they'll just start making plutonium from all the depleted uranium NATO occasionally supplies them with.

Re:DiY Neutron beams (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 3 years ago | (#35691232)

>> Give me three coconuts, a piece of string, MacGyver, and your bank account numbers.

> That won't work what you really need are two palladium plates...

Silly. I never said what the coconuts were made of.

Obligatory (1)

DragonHawk (21256) | about 3 years ago | (#35691548)

"Give me three coconuts, a piece of string, MacGyver, and your bank account numbers."

Where'd you get the coconuts? The coconut's tropical! This is a temperate zone.

Set yourself on fire... (2)

f8l_0e (775982) | about 3 years ago | (#35690642)

under the boiler for steam turbine. You'll literally have energy for the rest of your life, and as a side bonus you'll be permanently reducing your carbon footprint.

Re:Set yourself on fire... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690664)

and as a side bonus you'll be permanently reducing your carbon footprint

No, you'd be releasing it all at once.

Re:Set yourself on fire... (1)

slinches (1540051) | about 3 years ago | (#35690908)

I would think that this method would eventually increase your carbon footprints when your ash is tracked all over the place by the maintenance crew.

Re:Set yourself on fire... (1)

adavies42 (746183) | about 3 years ago | (#35690946)

Light a man a fire and he's warm for the night. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.

Use cheap external fab (2)

localroger (258128) | about 3 years ago | (#35690656)

Disguise your rig as a powerful cement pump and ship it to Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. They will be glad to irradiate it for you.

Neutron Beam... Beer! (3, Interesting)

Tackhead (54550) | about 3 years ago | (#35690658)

"I have been breeding [thorium] at home using lots of old smoke detectors with a view toward generating my own [electricity] and getting off the grid. The only thing stopping me is a reliable neutron beam. Given that all the equipment I'm using is re-purposed kitchen equipment, concerns about safety mean I'm [hesitant] to build a uranium reactor to supply neutrons to the thorium one. So I'm putting the question out there: do any Slashdotters know of a [safe] way to make a powerful neutron beam out of things I might find around the house?"

You don't need a uranium reactor to generate neutrons (although if you use the thorium from some lantern mantles, you could probably create one). You also don't need to be messing about with nasty americium to breed plutonium as a neutron source.

Just build a Farnsworth Fusor [wikipedia.org] like that guy on Slashdot did last week. There's your neutron source. Should be pretty safe, compared to the alternatives.

It would be helpful to include images and diagrams of your own personal neutron beam [beer].

Right, that doesn't solve the problem of your neutron beam beer.

Put a bottle of Pu240 Weapons Grade Ale [blogspot.com] in front of your Something in there'll get activated for just long enough to technically call it neutron beam beer.

At 8% ABV and 100 IBUs, it's a hop bomb that'll getcha bombed even without neutron activation!

Re:Neutron Beam... Beer! (2)

Kazymyr (190114) | about 3 years ago | (#35690680)

The Farnsworth fusor is real, despite today's date.

Actual plans at http://www.fusor.net/

Good luck. Keep us posted.

Re:Neutron Beam... Beer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690700)

Pu240 is actually not the active isotope in weapons-grade plutonium, but an impurity that hinders its use. The less Pu240 in the Pu239 (the actual useful isotope), the better the bomb.

Pu240 by itself is useful as a fuel in reactors though.

Re:Neutron Beam... Beer! (1)

Tackhead (54550) | about 3 years ago | (#35690790)

Pu240 is actually not the active isotope in weapons-grade plutonium, but an impurity that hinders its use. The less Pu240 in the Pu239 (the actual useful isotope), the better the bomb.

Yeah, but this guy wants neutron beam beer. The device on the label of the bomb is Little Boy, (from yesterday's Slashdot), and wouldn't work as a plutonium-based device no matter how pure it was. The less effective it is as a bomb, the more neutrons he can fire into his beer without vaporizing it in the process.

(Homebrewing is legal, but if he vaporizes the beer, he'd be halfway towards making whisky, and that would be illegal!)

Re:Neutron Beam... Beer! (1)

mangu (126918) | about 3 years ago | (#35690934)

(Homebrewing is legal, but if he vaporizes the beer, he'd be halfway towards making whisky, and that would be illegal!)

Illegal where, paleface? Possession of beer, not to mention brewing, is illegal in all countries ruled by theocratic Muslim laws. Home distillation is perfectly legal where I live. There are all kinds of laws at different places.

Re:Neutron Beam... Beer! (1)

LordByronStyrofoam (587954) | about 3 years ago | (#35690938)

There's many drinks you'll drink, me lads, on every world that's new.
There's Saurian Brandy, Cranapple Schnapps, and a good old Tullamore Don't.
There's Busch and Beck and Bud and Bock and others dark and pale,
But I think you'll find the finest kind is Three-Oh-Seven Ale.

(chorus)
Three-Oh-Seven Ale, me lads, Three-Oh-Seven Ale,
The finest drink that any bar has ever had for sale,
It'll lay your whole damn world to waste, it'll make you fit and hale,
There's nothing that you'll ever taste like Three-Oh-Seven Ale, me lads,
Three-Oh-Seven Ale.

It started out at M.I.T. one lazy summer day,
When a couple of the frat-boy techies started in to play,
They'd caught up on their schedule with a couple hours to kill,
So they fitted up the cyclotron and made themselves a still.

(chorus)

They added choice ingredients to brew a little brew,
But they didn't know the wires were crossed in Chamber Number Two.
A tiny bit of space got folded, things were looking queer --
They turned the spout and then came out the world's first Hyper-Beer.

(chorus)

It bubbled and it burbled and it glowed a fizzly green,
And what it did to test equipment, frankly, was obscene.
It took awhile to find a vial it wouldn't burst to flame,
Then they measured out its potency, and that's how it was named.

(slower)
There's many drinks you'll drink, me lads, but this one beats them all:
One hundred fifty-three and one-half percent alcohol,
A beer, brewed in a tesseract, that'll shoot you through the roof --
And if you don't believe me, I've got lots and lots of proof.

(final chorus)
Three-Oh-Seven Ale, me lads, Three-Oh-Seven Ale,
The finest drink that any bar has ever had for sale,
It'll lay your whole damn world to waste, it'll make you fit and hale,
It sticks to your mouth like library paste,
With a stronger kick than toxic waste,
There's nothing that you'll ever taste
Like Three-Oh-Seven Ale!


(Words and Music: © 1989 by Tom Smith: http://www.tomsmithonline.com/lyrics/307_ale.htm [tomsmithonline.com])

Re:Neutron Beam... Beer! (2)

DBHolder (1196557) | about 3 years ago | (#35691698)

An IEC (Farnsworth Fusor) would be a good place to start for the neutrons but you will need fuel. The poster seems keen on doing everything himself and breeding fuel should be no exception. I recommend starting with Deuterium and working your way up to breeding tritium. You can buy deuterium easily enough, but everyone knows that path is for chumps. I would say you should get a good centrifuge cascade going and start separating heavy water out from the normal stuff that comes right out of the tap. With a little electrolysis setup you can pull the deuterium right out of the heavy water! Put the Deuterium into your IEC and snap, its a neutron source. Pro tip: wrap a few layers a beryllium around your IEC for neutron multiplication, but don't eat it kids (its toxic). If you want to step up to D-T fusion you can add a breeding blanket of Lithium into the mix. Separated Tritium from the blanket can go right back into the IEC for extra neutrons.

Safety note: if at any time during this exercise you feel like tiny knives are murdering your sperm don't worry, only the weak and unworthy sperm will be purged!

Neutron source (3, Funny)

formfeed (703859) | about 3 years ago | (#35690670)

You could just ask your neighbor. Most high school kids who are even remotely interested in science already have a neutron source [discovermagazine.com] in their basement. Borax, you get in the laundry aisle and as moderator I suggest to go with pencils. Graphite is a well documented moderator and has worked in Chernobyl for many years without a problem. You could use tea-lights for shielding, but imho shielding is for sissies.

Just one warning: As in banking, the important thing is to start big. If you build a small reactor, the police will come knocking down your door, but if you build a really big one, your local congressman will help you to find a way around stupid regulations.

Re:Neutron source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690736)

Bombard aluminium with alpha particles for instant neutrons. Easy.

Re:Neutron source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35691072)

Just one warning: As in banking, the important thing is to start big. If you build a small reactor, the police will come knocking down your door, but if you build a really big one, your local congressman will help you to find a way around stupid regulations.

Better yet, just run for congress first. Get elected and use your influence to add an exploit and an earmark for funding. That way, you don't even have to start big. All the popular legislators are doing it these days.

If you don't know how, you probably should not do (2, Interesting)

BlueParrot (965239) | about 3 years ago | (#35690678)

This is probably a joke or troll, but since there actually have been morons trying to do this sort of thing before:

If you do not have enough knowledge and experience with radioactive materials and radiation safety to know how to generate neutrons, attempting to do so is a Bad Idea (TM). Neutrons are very penetrating and hard to shield against, and when absorbed they activate the material they are absorbed in, creating secondary radiation hazards. Using them to irradiate fissionable isotopes, like thorium or uranium, is an even more insane idea since it will not only multiply the number of neutrons generated, but also produce a dirty mix of fission products, many of which are gaseous and hard to contain.

Seriously, just go do something safer instead, like base-jumping or sword-swallowing.

Well... (1)

sirgoran (221190) | about 3 years ago | (#35690682)

If you hit the thrift stores and scrap off the glow-in-the-dark paint from pre-70's clocks and watches you can start to collect the needed radium for use in your breeder reactor. Let me know when you've collected at least 28 grams. Then we can start construction of the reactor using an old pickle crock and a washboard....

Here's the recipe (3, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 3 years ago | (#35690702)

Take approx. 2kg of sifted weapons grade plutonium (this is perfectly safe, it's sub-critical) and place in a mixing bowl. With a mortar and pestle grind together about 5g of polonium-210 and 10g of finely powdered beryllium. Gradually stir in to the plutonium until the mixture begins to get warm, then add about 500cc of deuterium hydroxide. Divide equally into a 12-portion muffin dish. Decorate with thorium oxide granules and bake in a suitable containment vessel until red hot. Serve on a bed of fuel pebbles with a cesium iodide dressing.

Re:Here's the recipe (2)

Kazymyr (190114) | about 3 years ago | (#35690716)

Cesium iodide - the breakfast of champions.

Re:Here's the recipe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690836)

more like-

Cesium iodide- the breakfast of paranoid survivalists

I'd also like to add that the captcha for me to post this was "atolls".... funny.

Re:Here's the recipe (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#35690914)

I find that's way too much work in the busy morning, I prefer my "instant neutrons". Just take an empty 2lb. instant coffee can, put in 5 lbs. finely divided u-235, fill remainder with heavy water, put on the plastic lid and shake vigorously for ten seconds. Presto, I love a blast of neutrons in the morning. If it gets too hot just put in a couple tablespoon's of Borax.

radioactive boy scout (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690704)

You should look up an old news article called "The Radioactive Boy Scout" about a guy who did exactly what you are attempting to do.

Re:radioactive boy scout (1)

jayme0227 (1558821) | about 3 years ago | (#35690798)

This is exactly what I thought of. For those who don't want to look it up for yourself, I present to you David Hahn. [wikipedia.org] At the age of 19 he created his own Superfund site and inspired a Duran Duran song, a book, a movie, and, perhaps most importantly, a joke on the Big Bang Theory.

Sellotape Sources (3, Funny)

SMoynihan (1647997) | about 3 years ago | (#35690712)

All you need is a whole load of Sellotape (Scotch-tape for you Americans) (and some deuterium).

Everyone (well, Slashdot readers) knows that peeling Sellotape produces x-rays [slashdot.org], so get some industrial sized sheets of Sellotape, probably at least a few layers. While peeling, aim your Sellotape at some material why only needs low energies to induce a photonuclear reaction (deuterium, beryllium perhaps).

Some might say that those might need gamma rays, but those are only high energy X-rays, so shake your Sellotape fast, and you'll increase the frequency nicely.

And voila: Neutrons!

The rest is just details

No problem! DIY neutron beams are easy (2)

smellsofbikes (890263) | about 3 years ago | (#35690722)

Just build a cyclotron. They're quite easy to make, being basically a huge magnet and a curved track in a vacuum. There is a minor technical challenge that they're designed to accelerate protons or electrons, but I'm sure it's easy to adapt it to handle neutrons instead.

Re:No problem! DIY neutron beams are easy (1)

Kazymyr (190114) | about 3 years ago | (#35690742)

Just use a bigger magnet.

Re:No problem! DIY neutron beams are easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690794)

I realize it's joke day, but ... since Neutrons are neutral, you'll never get a big enough magnet to move them on their own. They're going to need to be stuck to something with a charge if you want to start shooting them down your racetrack.

Re:No problem! DIY neutron beams are easy (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about 3 years ago | (#35690916)

Neutrons are neutral, but they have a magnetic moment and thus respond to magnetic field gradients. Unfortunately, it takes ~5T magnetic fields to push around "ultra cold" neutrons with only ~100neV of kinetic energy. For neutrons with MeV-scale kinetic energies typical of nuclear reactions, even focused EM fields driven by a large nuclear explosion may not be quite sufficient.

Re:No problem! DIY neutron beams are easy (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | about 3 years ago | (#35691026)

Hey! look up! there are a bunch of neutrons shooting over your head making a strange noise!

Re:No problem! DIY neutron beams are easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690984)

Or a replace the magnetic field with a gravitational one. Acceleration is still tricky but a really strong gravitational well will get you the right orbit. Also be careful with the densities and don't fall in.

Pinball Wizard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35691716)

Adaptation is easy: Use Pinball Flippers arranged about the circle instead. Will work better than attempting to deflect a neutral particle with a magnet.

Re:No problem! DIY neutron beams are easy (3, Informative)

mmontour (2208) | about 3 years ago | (#35692050)

The joke notwithstanding, cyclotrons [triumf.ca] can produce a neutron beam by accelerating protons into an aluminum target.

Enough of these (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690726)

Didn't you think that it's April 2nd in some parts of the world already? Here it will be in 50 minutes...

Re:Enough of these (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35691258)

Suck it up fuzzy little foreigner.

Actually Answering the Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690738)

If you just want neutrons, a Hirsh-Farnsworth Fusor is easy to build using ordinary materials. But the neutrons won't be a beam. Instead they spray in all directions.

Another approach is to accelerate protons and smack them into a neutron-rich target, such as lead foil, or the fuel itself. If the protons are fast enough, it will cause a small number of forced fissions producing neutrons. It's not a neutron beam either, but at least the neutrons are in the target instead of everywhere.

Instead of firing protons at a lead target, you can just as well fire lead ions at a hydrogen target. Plastic is mostly hydrogen, so it should work fine for this. Since most of the mass in the collision is from the moving lead ion, the neutrons will inherit most of its velocity, so this will give you an actual neutron beam.

Spallation source (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about 3 years ago | (#35690740)

You might consider a neutron spallation source. Just dig your proton linac out of the attic, and fire it up pointed at a high-Z target material. I like tungsten for the target, but you could also go with plutonium if you've got some handy. Bingo, spallation neutrons galore! It's not a beam source, but if you put the spallation target near the thorium, you should be able to get the neutrons to where you need them. Just remember, safety first --- be sure to wear safety glasses and have a couple kilotons of iron-loaded cement shielding between you and the target.

Re:Spallation source (1)

Kazymyr (190114) | about 3 years ago | (#35690774)

How many Space Shuttles can your attic hold?

BTW here's an idea. If you send your rig in close orbit around the sun, it's bound to catch a few of those fusion neutrons.

Re:Spallation source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690874)

So basically this: http://www.thorea.org/

Re:Spallation source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35691020)

As a pleasant side effect, you can aim it at mercury and some of the naturally occuring isotopes will transmute into gold. It probably won't be enough to finance the project; but in these hard economic times, every little bit helps.

joke aside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690780)

yeah this is a fake story, I know, ha. ha. ha.

However:
I would like to give a try to using a Fusor with attached collimator as a neutron source.
Instead of driving it with the usual 20kV you could try 50kV

Will there be any real news today? (0)

kyrio (1091003) | about 3 years ago | (#35690802)

I'd like to see some information about technology.

Re:Will there be any real news today? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 years ago | (#35690840)

I'd like to see some information about technology.

What, like Oliver Wendell Jones is running for president on the Meadowcrat ticket?

It's about time we got a cat cloner in office...

Re:Will there be any real news today? (2)

halivar (535827) | about 3 years ago | (#35690860)

If you didn't think the replies to the actual (albeit fake) question were interesting, this may not be the site for you.

The easy way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690806)

Since you have a ready supply of Americium from your smoke detectors, start with that, mix in some beryllium and voila! Use some paraffin to thermalize them neutrons for a good rate of capture. Enjoy!

Fukushima! (2)

DrJimbo (594231) | about 3 years ago | (#35690808)

I understand they have an excess of neutrons and such over at the Fukushima nuclear facilities. You can probably get all the neutrons you want at bargain (turbine building) basement prices. In fact, since it sounds like you are entrepreneurial, you could probably get them to pay you to haul the stuff away. It's a mixed bag of goodies but since the fuel rods have melted down, you might be able to collect enough fissionable material out of the tons of highly radioactive water available to get your own chain reaction going, cutting out the middle man, allowing you to pass on savings to your customers. Everybody wins!

Re:Fukushima! (1)

42forty-two42 (532340) | about 3 years ago | (#35691490)

Alas, while the Fukushima facility has plenty of gamma, alpha, and beta radiation to go around, not to mention a glut of thermal energy, they're a bit scarce on the neutrons at the moment.

Completely safe (1)

seven of five (578993) | about 3 years ago | (#35690812)

Do not worry that a neutron beam is hazardous. Neutrons, being uncharged, pose no danger of electrical shock. Also, they simply pass through most materials.

Fusor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690820)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusor

Here's an easier method.. (2)

LordByronStyrofoam (587954) | about 3 years ago | (#35690898)

.. if you're handy with tools and your money: This solution will require you to put your thorium vessel in a vacuum chamber: Cut the end off some old but still functional 4-400A power vacuum tubes (as would be used in a surplus tube amp from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or an old AN/SQS-23 sonar system), and put a charge stripping plate (of heavy enough copper) biased to pull the charge off the electrons, at the business end. Glass-weld the tube and plate to a flange on the vacuum vessel. Fire up the cathode, put sufficient voltage on the plate, and you're streaming neutrons.

Re:Here's an easier method.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35691028)

You're also streaming X-rays, so you'll need to separate those out and dump them someplace (like the neighbor's cat -- never liked that cat). You can thin out the target region, while water cooling the surround. Or use a small tungsten plug in the target region.

Most designs like this operate with a grounded anode (plate), and carry the cathode and filament at a high negative voltage 2 to 3 kV at an amp or so.

You can find plenty of power triodes on your favourite auction site -- look for Eimac and Svetlana. There are also companies that rebuild the larger commercial power tubes that might sell you just the filament/cathode assembly if you're handy with glass and ceramic work.

Energy levels? Densities? (1)

sillivalley (411349) | about 3 years ago | (#35690940)

We really need to know more about what you need, is it slow thermals (0.03MeV) or fast (2.5MeV - 14MeV), and what kind of rates. You also don't mention beam width or necessity for collimation.

A wheezer Penning could do 10e8 fast neutrons/s in a relatively simple and compact package. There are a bunch of designs that can produce on the order of 10e11 neutrons/s. If you're in the Silicon Valley, you can even rent time on them.

Have you tried eBay?

Oh, and watch out for side-lobes and activation issues -- incident or diffracted beams can play havoc with premature triggering of your krytrons.

found some books on ebay (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 3 years ago | (#35690948)

Neutron Beam Design, Development, and Performance for N
item #280652726952
Buy-It-Now: $67.52
Ends Apr 30, 201112:57:50 PDT http://cgi.ebay.com/Neutron-Beam-Design-Development-and-Performance-N-/280652726952?pt=US_Nonfiction_Book&hash=item415834c2a8 [ebay.com]

TERRY JOHNSON KING The Neutron Beam Murder 1965 HB DJ
item #140137094529
Buy-It-Now: $5.00
http://cgi.ebay.com/TERRY-JOHNSON-KING-Neutron-Beam-Murder-1965-HB-DJ-/140137094529?pt=Antiquarian_Collectible&hash=item20a0d25d81 [ebay.com]

Thanks to tibit I found this webpage, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has a website at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ [cdc.gov] which has a number of papers on health statements of radiation, some include characteristics of nuclear radiation (rest mass, charge, typical energy range, path length, etc.)

A salad casing for the Thorium should work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35690978)

If you are after a kitchen based solution see if you can get your hands on some Japanese produce. If it's hard to come by try milk products. Either should produce plenty of neutrons. If you rig up a salad shooter you can create a continuous flow of salad into the reaction chamber. If you go the milk route try ringing the container with crazy straws then pump the milk through those. They should give you a good spread on the neutrons over the Thorium.

Fusor (2)

Harkin (1951724) | about 3 years ago | (#35691050)

Fusors are very good sources of neutrons. But the concept of a neutron beam is pretty lulzy. Neutrons have no charge and are unaffected by magnetic fields so good luck shaping that thing. May I recommend,

Kitten Kitten Kitten Kitten
Kitten TTTTTTTT Kitten
Kitten T Fusor T Kitten
Kitten T Fusor T Kitten
Kitten TTTTTTTT Kitten
Kitten Kitten Kitten Kitten

Kittens provide dual shielding for both radiation and detection, who would ever look under a pile of kittens for a nuclear reactor? Further the kittens will be drawn to the warmth, just provided a constant supply of Thorium, deuterium, and fish. Remember to remove dead kittens otherwise the smell might attract hobos.

Re:Fusor (1)

linear a (584575) | about 3 years ago | (#35691196)

I figured kittens from Japan could serve a dual role of source and provider (of neutrons) here, but when I googled "Japanese kittens" the prices I saw were around $2000/hour.

Morroco Mole here (just Mole if you're in Morroco) (2)

Tjp($)pjT (266360) | about 3 years ago | (#35691076)

I suggest you consider lamp mantles from camping lanterns and gas lamp posts. Much higher yield of Thorium. Then encase the extracted Thorium in depleted uranium in an asymmetric manner. Pack all this in a graphite cylinder with hundred of layers of bimetal sheet thermocouples in a massive series parallel schema. The interstitial material should be silicon dioxide and clay, but make sure it is boron free. Bop down to your local ceramics custom paint shop and borrow their kiln to "fire" the setup into one solid mass to make your own homemade traveling wave radio-thermal-generator. After testing the output of the first one, proceed to manufacture as many as required for your electricity needs. They are after manufacture virtually pollution free. (May we suggest a 1/2 inch stainless steel vessel welded closed around the individual cells, oh, and assure that you use aluminum or silver wiring and avoid copper in the construction.) You may wish to purchase your own kiln after determining the number of units you'll need and the cost of firing them outside of your own facility. Also consider a micro-controller for each cell to monitor its health and power output, as well as a small conditioning circuit to match the outputs into a seamless AC source to minimize interface issue with standard house generation, and provide minimal common failure points. As the controllers will need to be interfaced as a network, you may as well distribute the decisions across all the micro-controllers, thus ending up with a beowulf-cluster of "smartRTG"(tm)s

Required Ghostbusters reference . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35691128)

Just don't cross the streams.

Advice: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35691132)

Whatever you do, don't cross the streams!

Japanese milk (1)

linear a (584575) | about 3 years ago | (#35691160)

Can't you infuse it with milk from Japan?

Re:Japanese milk (1)

linear a (584575) | about 3 years ago | (#35691172)

Oops, posted too soon without reading the previous posts about milk, etc. Now, kittens AND milk could be the way to go.

Re:Japanese milk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35691278)

Plus Schrodinger's skull, 3 ear plugs, the still warm heart and gonads of a 'skull and bones' member, an adult female virgin from Manhattan, a sharp knife and a towel.

But I've already typed too much.

Won't somebody PLEASE think of the Ponies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35691162)

OMG ponies!

Enough is enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35691386)

I just wonder how many genuine stories get hidden under the mass of crap that gets 'reported' today.

If the RIAA had bribed judges a bit more that $75 trillion story could have been delayed and forgotten/ignored today.

Here is mine, and yes, it really makes neutrons (1)

DCFusor (1763438) | about 3 years ago | (#35691888)

But if this isn't an April Fools goof, you're an idiot. For one thing, if you have an interesting enough neutron beam, why bother with mere fission. I make mine fusing hydrogen isotopes.

I don't know if I'm "that guy on slashdot last week" that built a fusor last week, but I am a guy on slashdot who does build fusors and other fusion devices for the last few years, and I even run a discussion board about it to help and encourage others to do so. It's not a hobby for idiots (various parts are dangerous) or the impatient, or people with no funds, but it's a lot of fun for those who do it.

FWIW, my best output (continuous) is on the order of 5 microwatts fusion energy, quite a lot of which goes into energetic neutrons. If I were to use tritium instead of just deuterium, I'd expect about 100 times that. Doesn't sound like much does it? Well, it's enough to make silver radioactive enough to count about 2000 cpm on a geiger with a five minute exposure. Or enough to kill you if you expose yourself to the radiation output (which also has a lot of gamma rays) for too long.

I think, but am not sure, that I hold the record for non-funded (eg I paid for all this myself) fusion work, and beat out quite a few government and university efforts hands down. I fund the effort via trading stocks, as does my partner in this particular crime.

My forum is in my sig. Here's a thread on a recent run I did: http://www.coultersmithing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40&p=1836#p1836 [coultersmithing.com]

This one has a picture of the side I don't sit on while it's running. It's where most of the radiation comes out. http://www.coultersmithing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=309 [coultersmithing.com]

And of course, everyone wants to see the eye candy, so here it is: http://www.coultersmithing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=246 [coultersmithing.com]

Be aware, we've been attacked by bots lately, and I only allow new members to join if they use obviously real human first and last names....by the time I make the captcha hard enough for the robots to fail, so do the humans, sigh. The site should otherwise withstand a slashdotting, and has in the past.
Bring it on!

Re:Here is mine, and yes, it really makes neutrons (1)

DCFusor (1763438) | about 3 years ago | (#35691910)

Hate to respond to myself, but... a few details.

One -- you can't breed thorium into a fissionable isotope with alpha rays from smoke detectors. It takes neutrons. Slow ones give the best results. It is pretty hard to make a "beam" of neutrons, but easy to make an isotropic source. If you're going to do that, natural uranium is cheaper anyway, and not impossible to get ore (legally) from rock hounds. But refining it is illegal in most cases. And oh yes, fairly dangerous, and since you didn't know the above point, way past your speed. Getting this stuff inside you is the death penalty, and not a very pleasant one at that -- there's no more effective way to irradiate yourself than consuming a heavy metal radioactive, and they tend to collect in "all the best places". Micrograms matter here.

Two -- I already live off the grid on solar PV (and backups). There has never been a power company wire on my land, ever. That's a heck of a lot more realistic. I've been doing it since 1982, it works.

Three -- it's not terribly legal to have a hot radiation source of any kind without a lot of paperwork with the government (to say the least). Check that out first, before you hurt yourself with either radiation or legal troubles. Even an X ray machine is verboten without a license.

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