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10/21/2015

Whatistheory/conceptbehindthe"MiniatureArcReactor"builtbyTonyStark?Quora

Whatistheory/conceptbehindthe"MiniatureArc
Reactor"builtbyTonyStark? FAQ

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Lastasked:23Aug

QUESTIONTOPICS

Howdiditwork?Orrather,howwoulditworkasperyou?

Whatwouldbethemostpossible
physicsbehindtheArcReactorofIron
Man?

11Answers

Whatisanarcreactor?

RyanCarlyle,BSChE,Subseahydraulicsengineer
337.9kViewsUpvotedbyMarcBodnick,seen2000+moviesDavidMullich,
GameProductionInstructoratTheLosAngelesFilmSchoolZachDavidson,
ProfessionalActor,Stage&Screen
AnswerfeaturedinGizmodoand1more.

TonyStark(Marvel
character)
IronMan(Marvel
character)

TheStarkArcReactorismostlikelyaMultiIsotopeRadioDecay
Cell.

Movies

Sincethisisafictitiousdevice,andithasno"official"scientificexplanationin
theIronMancanonthatI'mawareof,I'mgoingtomakesomethingup.I'm
mixingrealscienceandfakesciencehere.Physicsnerdsandcomicbooknerds,
dealwithit.

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RELATEDQUESTIONS

Let'slookatwhatweknowaboutthearcreactorfrommovies1and2:

Edits

Doesasafeenergystoragemedium
similartoTonyStark's(IronMan's)arc
reactorcurrentlyexist.(Similarinsize
ande...
Couldanarcreactorbemade?
Inthe1stIronmanmovie(2008),how
doesTonystarkbuildtheArcreactor
usingmissilepartswhilebeingheld
captiveb...
Isitpossibletobuildtheminiaturearc
reactorthatTonyStarkdid?
IsitpossibletobuildanArcReactor(the
oneshowninIronMan)orasimilar
technology?
WhydoesTonyStarkhaveanarc
reactorinhisstomach?Whendiditget
there?
Whatisthehistoryofthearcreactor?
Whathappenedfromthetimethat
HowardStarkandAntonVanko
developedittothe...
Howdoesthenextgenerationarcreactor
inIronMan(2008movie)work?

Mk1ArcReactor.jpg
Thefullsizedarcreactorlooksalotlikeatoroidal"Tokomak"
plasmacontainmentsystemforstandard"hotfusion":

TonyStark(L)andObadiahStane(R)infrontofStarkIndustries'arc
reactor
Realworldequivalent:ITER fusionreactor

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Whatistheory/conceptbehindthe"MiniatureArcReactor"builtbyTonyStark?Quora

FusionEnergyDivision
Thistypeoffusionreactorexiststodayatresearchpilotscale.Thereactor
pictured,ITER,isunderconstructionandisplannedtobethefirstfusion
reactorlargeenoughtoproduceanetgainofenergy.Basicallyitmashestwo
isotopesofhydrogen,deuteriumandtritium,togetheratsuchhighenergies
thattheycombineintooneatom.Whentheyfuse,thereactionproduces
heliumandafreeneutron.Critically,helium+neutronhaslessmassthan
deuterium+tritium,andthemissingmassisconvertedtoenergy.Thatenergy
canbecapturedasheattorunatraditionalsteamdriventurbine(likeany
otherpowerplant).
Sowhatdoesthearcreactor'storus(donut)shapetellus?Itmeansthereare
chargedparticlesmovinginacircle,containedbyamagneticfield.High
energyparticlesusuallyhavehighenergybecausethey'removingveryfast,and
magneticfieldscancurvethemotionofchargedparticles.Curvingthe
particles'motionintoacirclekeepstheminoneplacelongenoughtogetthem
tocollide.
Youmaynoticethatcurrentfusionreactordesignshavealotofmagnetcoils
ontheoutsideofthetorus,whereastheStarkIndustriesarcreactorhasa
viewingwindow.Plasmacontainmentisthesinglebiggestchallengeforhot
fusion,butthearcreactormakesitlookeffortless.Fromthiswecanconclude
thatakeytechnologyinthefullscalearcreactorisawaytocontain
thereactioninaselfsustainingring.Thislineofreasoningisdefinitely
backedupbythetoroidalfieldlinesdrawnintheStarkIndustriesarcreactor
blueprints:

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10/21/2015

Whatistheory/conceptbehindthe"MiniatureArcReactor"builtbyTonyStark?Quora

IronMan2ArcReactor.jpg
Thereisalsoaremarkablelackofcoolingloops,turbines,oranythingthata
traditionalthermalreactorwouldrequire.Whichmeansthearcreactor
produceselectricitydirectly,ratherthanbyfirstgeneratingheat.
ThisobservationjiveswiththefactthatthemegawattscalereactorinTony's
chestdoesnotroasthimalive.Soitcannotbeahotfusionreactor,ora
traditionalthermalfissionreactor.Backtothedrawingboard!
Whatelsedoweknowabouttheminiaturearcreactor?
Containsapalladiumcore
Thepalladiumisdamagedbyneutrons,sothespecificisotopeisimportant
Haselectromagneticcoilsinatorus
Emitsbluewhitelight
Canbebuiltinacavewithtoolsofmoderatecomplexity
Requiresnoexoticmaterialsoutsidewhatyoucouldscavengefrom
dismantledconventionalweaponssystems
Runslowonpoweratinconvenienttimes,meaningitmusthavesomesort
offuelorconsumedcharge
Palladiumhasbeenproposedasasubstratefor"cold"fusionthatdoesnot
requirehotplasmasandcontainmenttoroids,butthisconceptisprettywidely
discreditedintherealworld.Palladiumdoes,however,havesomeinteresting
captureanddecayproperties.Wikipedia:Isotopesofpalladium
PalladiumisotopePd103producesRh103(rhodium)viaelectroncapture.
Thismeansaninnerelectronisabsorbedbythenucleus,mergingwitha
protontoproduceaneutronandanenergeticphotonagammaray.
Anotherisotope,Pd107,producesAg107(silver)viabetadecay,releasing
anelectronwhenaneutronturnsintoaproton.(Thisiskindoftheopposite
reactionastheabove.)Now,inrealworldphysics,theelectronsbalancethe
resultingatomicnucleisilverandrhodiumhavedifferentnumbersof
protonsfrompalladium,andtheproduced/consumedelectronsjustbalance
outtheprotoncountsothereisnonetflowofelectricity.
IproposethatHowardStarkfoundaway(usingcomicbook
physics)toutilizethebetadecayofPd107ionsasanelectron
sourcefortheelectroncaptureofPd103,therebyproducingan
electriccircuitbetweentwodifferentradioactiveisotopes.Pd103is
veryradioactive(17dayhalflife)comparedtoPd107(6.5millionyearhalf
life)sotherewouldneedtobedramaticallymoreoftheheavierisotopeto
compensateforthedisparityindecayrates.
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Whatistheory/conceptbehindthe"MiniatureArcReactor"builtbyTonyStark?Quora

ThepalladiumcoreofthedevicewouldmostlikelybePd107,whichemits
highenergyelectronsasitdecaysintosilver.Thisisaprettystableisotope
thatwewouldexpecttobepresentinthenormal(nonseparated)palladium
Searchforquestions,people,andtopics
thatTonymightsalvagefromaconventionalweapon.

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Sinceweknowthedeviceuseschargedparticlestravellingwithinaringof
electromagnets,IsurmisethatatinyamountofPd103isionizedbyanelectric
arc(thusthereactor'sname,andstartuppowerrequirement),whichthen
allowsPd103+tobecirculatedathighvelocitywithintheouterringofthe
device.Theionizationactstodelaytheelectroncapturestepuntiltheatom
encountersafreeelectron,andthehighkineticenergyduetovelocityincreases
thechancesofelectroncaptureoccurringonceanelectronisencountered.In
effect,theradioactivedecayofPd103canbestarted,stopped,andthrottledby
thedevicesimplybycontrollingtheionizationandcirculationofthePd103.
Thedevice'sgeometryandelectromagneticfieldsroutethehighenergy
electronsfromthePd107coretowardstheouterring.Theretheelectronsare
capturedbyhighenergyPd103ions.Thiselectroncaptureprocessemits
gammarays,whicharedeflectedinwardtocatalyzethebetadecayofthePd
107core.Wehavesomegoodevidenceforthisgammarayemission,because
thesuit'schestpieceunibeamweaponisclearlyanemissionofalargenumber
ofhighenergyphotonsdirectlyfromthearcreactor.Normally,thegamma
raysaredirectedinwardtocatalyzethedevice'soperation,buttheycanbe
directedoutwardinaconcentratedenergybeamweapon:

SandmanvsIronMan
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Whatistheory/conceptbehindthe"MiniatureArcReactor"builtbyTonyStark?Quora

Sotosummarize:electronsprojectoutwardfromtheinnercore,andgamma
raysprojectinwardfromtheouterring.Becausethiselectron/photon
counterflowcreatesadeficitofelectrons(relativetoprotons)inthecore,a
massiveelectrostaticpotentialisdevelopedandthepalladiumcoreattracts
lowerenergyelectronsfromthesuit'swiring.Theejectionofelectrons
fromthecoretowardstherimofthedeviceproducesanelectrical
cellcapableofgeneratingenormousvoltageandcurrent.
Here'sthefullproposedreactorstartupprocess:
Usingexternalpower,Pd103isionizedbyanelectricarc,andaccelerated
tohighvelocityintheouterring.Theremayalsobesomeexternally
poweredgammarayproductiontojumpstarttheinnercore.
Pd107intheinnercorestartstoemithighenergyelectronsasitdecaysto
Ag107.Theelectronsescapethecoreandaredirectedbymagneticfields
intotheouterring.Lackofelectronscreatesanetpositivechargeinthe
core,whichslowsfurtheremission(preventingrunawaydecay)untilthe
electronscanbeexternallyreplenished.
Intheouterring,thehighenergyfreeelectronscollidewithhighenergy
Pd103+ions.Thiscausesinstantaneouselectroncaptureandgammaray
emission.Thegammaraysaredeflectedinwardtowardsthecore,thus
catalyzingfurtherelectronemissionandproducingaselfsustaining
reaction.Notethatthereactionisselfsustaining,butveryslowwhilethe
reactorisidle.
Theelectronflowfromtheinnercoretotheoutercorecreatesanelectric
potentialdifference.Whenacircuitiscreatedthroughthesuit'selectrical
loads,theouterringhasanexcessofelectronsandtheinnercorehasa
shortageofelectrons.Thiscreatescurrent.
Theelectricalcurrentthroughanexternalloadrelievestheelectrostatic
chargeaccumulationsthatinitiallyslowedthereactions.Sothelesspower
thesuitdraws,theslowerthereactorproducesradioactivedecay,andthe
morepowerthesuitdraws,thefasterthereactionsarecatalyzed.That
way,thepoweroutputautomaticallythrottlesaccordingtodemand.
ThepalladiumslowlyconvertstoRh103andAg107,andthereactorruns
outofpowerwhenthepalladiumisfullyconsumed.
MiniatureArcReactorConcept:

TopviewofmyconceptvstheStarkIndustriesblueprint,withcutawayside
viewbelow.
Ican'tspeakforthenextgen"newelement"arcreactor,butpresumablyit
replacesthepalladiumisotopeswithahypotheticalelementthatalso
undergoesgammaraymediatedbetadecay,butinalesstoxicandhigher
outputfashion.
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Whatistheory/conceptbehindthe"MiniatureArcReactor"builtbyTonyStark?Quora

Severalotherlinesofevidencealsosupportthistypeofnucleardecay/electron
fluxreactionbeingthemechanismforthearcreactor.First,thereactor's
glow:

IronManArcReactor
Itcouldbecausedbytheionizationarc,butIthinkCherenkovradiation isa
muchbetterexplanation.Thisisaspecialtypeoflightemissionthatoccurs
whenanenergeticparticle(suchaselectron)entersamedium(likewateror
air)ataspeedfasterthanthespeedoflightinthatmedium.Thehighenergy
electronfluxwithinthearcreactorwouldbeanaturalfittogeneratethis
effect.ThisisapictureofanactualnuclearreactorproducingCherenkov
radiation:

Wikipedia
Noticethesimilarities?Unlikeelectricalarcs,thelightfromCherenkov
radiationisquiet,coolblue,andfricken'awesome.Thisisanobrainerthe
arcreactor'sglowisdefinitelybeingproducedbyhighenergyelectronflux.
Anotheraspectoftheoriginalmodelpalladiumarcreactorwaspoisoning
dueto"palladiumtoxicity".It'sverypossiblethatpalladiumissimplybeing
ejectedfromthedeviceintoTony'sbloodbyallthehighenergycollisionsgoing
on,butthisdoesn'texplainthefreakycircuitlookinglinesonhischest,andit
doesn'texplainwhydoctorscan'thelphim.

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Whatistheory/conceptbehindthe"MiniatureArcReactor"builtbyTonyStark?Quora

Palladium.jpg
Ihaveatheorythatfitsthesymptomsbetter.Remember,theproposed
palladiumdecayreactionsproducerhodiumandsilver.Excessinternal
silverisknowntostainskinblue:

DiscoveryHealth"Whycancolloidalsilverturnyourskinblue?"
Rhodiumcompoundsalsostainskin,andarehighlytoxic.(Chemical
properties,HealthandEnvironmentaleffects )Infact,becausemostpeople
haveessentiallyzeroexposuretorhodium,thetoxicityofrhodiumisvery
poorlyunderstood.ThisperfectlyexplainswhyTonydidn'tseekhelpfromthe
medicalestablishmentforhisaccumulatedheavymetaltoxicitybecausehe
knewthedoctorswouldn'tknowhowtodealwithrhodiumpoisoning.Tony
Starkdidn'thavesimplepalladiumpoisoning,hehad"palladium
decayproduct"poisoning!
Soyousee,everythingfitstogetherperfectly.Theevidenceallpoints
towardsthearcreactorrelyingonaPd103/Pd107radioisotopic
decaycelltoproduceelectricalcurrent.Iwillstartworkingonmyown
arcreactorprototypeandwillpostupdateswhenIproduceaworkingreplica.
Updated9Jun2013ViewUpvotes

MoreAnswersBelow.RelatedQuestions
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HMWamboldtRequestBio
25.8kViews

IalwaysthoughtthattheArcinArcReactoractuallyreferstothetrajectory
takenbyionizednucleiastwobeamsofnuclei(protons)areaccelerated
https://www.quora.com/WhatistheoryconceptbehindtheMiniatureArcReactorbuiltbyTonyStark

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Whatistheory/conceptbehindthe"MiniatureArcReactor"builtbyTonyStark?Quora

aroundtheperipheryofthereactorinoppositedirectionstocollide,fuse,and
theresultantenergycapturedintheformofelectricityandlight.
Theinnovationswouldbeintheconversionofthereactionproductsinto
photonbeamsusedtoacceleratetheprotonsaroundthearcandthehigh
efficiencyconversionofphotonstoelectricity.
Thereactioncreatesmonochromaticlightwhichisformedintotwobeamswith
almost180phaseoffsets.(Yeah,Idon'tknowhowTonymanagesthateither.)
Thetwolightbeamscreateaninterferencepatternwhichallowsenergytobe
coupledintotheprotonbeamswithalmost100%efficiency.Asmallamountis
tappedofftoionizethefuel.
Sinceprotonsarerecycleduntilfused,onlyasmallamountofhydrogenneeds
tobeionized.
Theresidualglowisfromthesmallamountofinefficiencywhichmanifestsas
lightleakage.
See:Particleacceleratorthatcanfitonatabletopopensnewchapterfor
scienceresearch andTurningheattoelectricity .
Ofcourse,beingTonyStark,he'sfiguredoutorderofmagnitudeimprovements
tothesebasicprocesses.
H
Updated20JulViewUpvotes

SamuelGisitaRequestBio
8.1kViews

Ithinkitwasinspiredaroundthenuclearpacemakerwhichuses
promethium147asasourceofradioactiveenergy.Unlikestarkhoweverthis
doesn'tproduceexplosionsorcausesomeonetolevitate.Howeverscientistsare
workingonanothertryofnuclearreactorknownasLFTRandtheyhopethey
canmakeitsmallenoughtopowercarsandmobiledevices.Thisreactorscan
producealotofenergyfromverylittleamountofThorium,acommon
radioactivemetalfoundeverywhere.Onedaywemaymakeonesmallenough
tocarryaroundyetstrongenoughtoproduceanelectromagneticfieldthat
causeustolevitate.Noexplosionsthocausewellyouknowwhatnuclear
explosionsdotoanythingatcloserange
Updated27MayViewUpvotes

WillBlackRequestBio
20.2kViewsUpvotedbyMarcBodnick,seen2000+movies

Interestingnote:Beforewe'nerdsdealwithit',payalittlehomage.Muchof
whatwehavetodayisinfactduetoTonyStark,afictionalcharacter.Sound
odd?WhenIronManfirstblastedonthescenewehadbulkytubesand
transistorradios.IronManintroducedminiaturetransistors(fakescience),
therebecameasecretracetobuildironmanstylearmor(alaIronMan2,
and/ortheArmorWars),andthustheyhadtoinfactbuildmicrotransistors.
Theyfailedinbuildingthesuits,butJapanwoninthemicrotransistorrace
andmodernelectronicssprungfromthatColdWarerastyleofthought"we
gottobuildthisorsomeoneelsewillandtherewillbeagap"armsrace.
Written27Mar2014ViewUpvotes

BruceGirtonRequestBio
14kViews

Iagreethatthe"arcreactor"comicbookgadgetlooksvaguelylikeatiny
tokamakfusionreactor,exceptforthetransparentwalls,thewhiteglow,and
theconvenientlycompactsize.Unfortunately,realtokamaksliketheITERare
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Whatistheory/conceptbehindthe"MiniatureArcReactor"builtbyTonyStark?Quora

asbigasabarnandmademostlyofmetal.PhysicsdoesnothaveIronManon
themenu.
Thereisresearchongoingonadifferentkindofthermonuclearreactor,where
thereactiontakesplaceinaspacetoosmalltoseewiththeunaidedeye,and
the"core"ofapracticaldevicemightbesmallenoughandlightenoughtohold
inyourhands.Coolscience,butdefinitelynotsomethinganyonewouldwant
strappedtheirchestwhileitwasoperating.CheckoutLawrencevillePlasma
Physics .formoredetails.
Written24Feb2014ViewUpvotes

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