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Nuclear Powered Vehicles

Tiel
Posts: 1,500
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7/20/2011 2:40:09 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Topic: This forum is for all thoughts and ideas on nuclear powered vehicles.
"Only the inner force of curiosity and wonder about the unknown, or an outer force upon your free will, can brake the shackles of your current perception."
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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7/20/2011 4:01:36 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
It is fun theoretically, but practically, I don't see the possibility.

1) Nuclear powered vehicles would require to be steam driving. And, in order to have any kind of effective motor (for a car), the steam would need to be hitting 250 C to 270 C (480 F - 520 F), far hotter than current engires can take. Any car mechanic knows that those temps will warp the snot out of your engine (aluminum blocks will not be useful and steel will have to be specially made for it).

2) Steam has very low torque, so accelerating will be an issue. Though if the steam engine just powers an alternator to drive and electric motor, that can be resolved.

3) Cooling, one of the biggest issues. Taking steam at 250 C and cooling it so it can be put back into the reactor at the high rate that it is used (calculations in another thread) is very tricky. Currently, nuclear subs can do this because they are surrounded by water, and water is extremely better at cooling than air (by magnitudes).
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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7/29/2011 12:57:01 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Well, "vehicles" include ships and submarines, so of course ...

The heat from the decay of radioisotopes can be used to drive a thermocouple that generates electricity directly. Deep space probes, where sunlight is too dim, use these devices, which provide about 500 watts continuously for many decades. The Russians used them to power lighthouses, and there were plutonium-powered pacemakers. http://en.wikipedia.org...

An electric car battery holds about 24 kwh (Nissan Leaf) so two of the 500 watt sources could charge the battery in 24 hours. It would charge continuously, whether parked or being driven. Somehow, I suspect practical consideration will prevent this from catching on. Still the "nuclear powered" logo on the car would be sure to attract sales.

One of the Back to the Future movies had the time-traveling DeLorean powered by a small gadget labeled Mr. Fusion.