Operating the MHD is simple. The wick of the seed unit is placed so that it touches the flame of the miniature torch. The flame of the torch is made as large as possible and directed in between the ceramic magnets hitting the electrodes.

Set your VOM to its most sensitive scale for volts. The prototype MHD produced about .1 volts.

Improving the MHD Generator

The model MHD generator is working with a mediocre temperature gas. A hotter and larger flame from an oxy-propane or any number of other torches will improve conductivity of the gas and thus performance.

The ceramic magnets producedabout 4000 gaus, pretty weak by MHD standards. Replacing the ceramic magnets with stronger electromagnets will increase the power output.

Finally, the electrodes should be replaced with a tungsten or nichromium wire. The standard wire used in the prototype wears out pretty fast. The high temperature wires will last substantially longer. You may be able to use the tungsten wire filament from burned out incandescent lamps.

By making these changes, the MHD power produced will become more pronounced. In the prototype, themionic (gaseous thermocouple) effects contribute more electrical power than the MHD effect.

Liquid Metal MHD

We are using a gaseous conductor flowing past a magnetic field to induce voltage. A conductive liquid metal could also be used to achieve the same effect. A liquid metal such as mercury has been used in an MHD configuration to produce power.

MHD Propulsion

Since the movie The Hunt for Red October, created from Tom Clancy's best selling novel, MHD propulsion systems have captured the publics attention. THe MHD drive in the movie was depicted as being invisible to sonar systems.

The Navy has and is investigating MHD propulsion systems. However, they are far from being invisible at this point in time. First, the tremendous magnetic field needed to produced thrust would berelatively easy to pick up. In addition, the electric current running through the sea water would electrolize it, producing a noticeable trail of gas bubbles. Although MHD propulsion has been stated to be ecologically safe, I have my doubts. The large magnetic field and high current density running through the water would appear to have a negative impact on sea life. As with the MHD generators, superconductive magnets must be employed to make the drives practical.

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