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Pages: 1
Author Topic: Electricity directly from radiation


Dampfish
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 1
Electricity directly from radiation
on: September 20, 2013, 17:35

Let me just preface this by saying that I am in no way scientifically schooled. I am a writer first and foremost, albeit with a keen interest in science. Basically what I'm saying is; I'm just an interested amateur spitballing here, but hear me out.

Looking around here on the forum, the main technical concerns for a manned mission so far seems to be how to cope with radiation and how to satisfy power requirements.
I'd like to reiterate that I am just an amateur but here's my idea. How about using one of the problems as the solution to the other? I seem to recall reading about attempts to capture radiation emitted from fission reactors using layered tiles of carbon nanotubes packed with gold surrounded by lithium hydride to create electricity directly from radiation. Granted, this was tested to harvest power from radiation around fission reactors, but is it not possible to do it ”the other way around”? To adapt this method into something like ”solar panels for Jupiter” that capture and convert the radiation emitted from Jupiter into electricity needed to power the mission, even if it's perhaps just a small percentage? Does Jupiter even emit that kind of radiation?
An extension of this idea would perhaps be to integrate it with the radiation shielding. Is there any merit to this idea at all?

Again, I'm not educated in these matters, so please do tell me if this idea is completely ridiculous.

Source:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13545-nanomaterial-turns-radiation-directly-into-electricity.html



vonB
Administrator
Posts: 26
Re: Electricity directly from radiation
on: September 20, 2013, 19:23

Very interesting idea. Im not really much into this field but I do know that it depends on what type of radiation we are talking about - e.g. heavy or light.

From what I can tell by googling around the are pretty much being performed interesting research in this area all around the world. Who knows more?



Marcin
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 6
Re: Electricity directly from radiation
on: September 24, 2013, 00:12

I'm also not "scientifically schooled", yet;) I was thinking about similar idea. The protection from radiation problem would last (this would stop only small % of danger), but thats good energy source. Theres always need for additional shielding with polymers or few meters of ice cap.
"layered tiles of carbon nanotubes packed with gold surrounded by lithium hydride" sounds expensive, but depending on how strong the radiation is it should be more effective, maybe we could find cheaper way. Some automated mission with small circuits of this technology should check it.



Vicem
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 17
Re: Electricity directly from radiation
on: September 24, 2013, 05:59

Not only interesting, but also very topical; Plutonium-238 batteries (like the ones on the Curiosity rover) are becoming an issue due to the United State's severe shortage, so finding a feasible alternative is very important.

Source: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/09/plutonium-238-problem/



vonB
Administrator
Posts: 26
Re: Electricity directly from radiation
on: September 24, 2013, 09:12

Not sure we should out rule this technology due to a "temporary" shortage at this stage. This technology is well known and this mission might take place 50+ years from now..



Vicem
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 17
Re: Electricity directly from radiation
on: September 25, 2013, 04:49

Another good point... I didn't mean to imply ruling out the Pu-238 option, it just seems that converting radiation to energy would allow an outpost to operate indefinitely, while radioactive batteries do eventually run out.



most
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 10
Re: Electricity directly from radiation
on: October 4, 2013, 11:02

As I know, nuclear emmition consist of 3 different emmitions: alpha, beta and gamma. Alpha and beta emmitions - stream of particles, electrons and protons. On the Earth one of it stoppes by usual paper, second - by window glass. Consider higth density of Jupiter's athmosphere, most likely only gamma-rays reaches Europa. Without nuclear fuel, which can emmit radiation (alpha and beta!!!)by influnce gamma-rays, this emmition unusable for. Tell, if I mistake.



most
Europa Dreamer
Posts: 10
Re: Electricity directly from radiation
on: October 4, 2013, 11:07

Hm, how about idea to use this gamma-emmition for boiling water?????? Tell, who now, it may be simple solution.

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