China's "artificial sun" has reached a temperature of 180 million ºF with a thermal power of 10 megawatts, according to…
China’s “artificial sun” has reached a temperature of 180 million ºF with a thermal power of 10 megawatts, according to researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Plasma Physics, where the experiment was conducted. It’s six times warmer than the middle of the sun. The unit, Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), is built to utilize the energy of nuclear fusion, the same process as staring stars.
Most living things depend on nuclear fusion. If the sun did not work, we would. But fusion can also offer a clean energy solution into the future.
In order for a fusion reaction to occur, two nuclear cores join extremely high pressures and temperatures of 270 million ºF. When released, they release lots of energy that can be captured and potentially used to drive cities. Unlike burning fossil fuels, there are no carbon dioxide emissions. And in contrast to nuclear fission it is relatively safe.
“EAST news is very exciting,” explains William Dorland, a physicist studying nuclear fusion reactors at the University of Maryland, Digital Trends. The result is not uncommon ̵
1; the world record temperatures are up to five times warmer – but Dorland, who was not involved in research, said the results were soothing, especially due to the design of the device. It is built for “magnetic prison”.
“The challenge for magnetic containment is to produce high temperatures in the fuel while retaining high density and excellent heat insulation,” said Dorland. “Achieving these three achievement goals at the same time is seriously difficult.”
Nuclear fusion is difficult to start and even harder to maintain. It is difficult to build a reactor that can contain the enormous pressure and temperature required by the reaction. But fusion laboratories and launches around the world have begun turning the tide, reports the BBC and sees a fusion-driven future on the horizon.
“This is the” SpaceX moment “for merger,” Christofer Mowry, CEO of a Canadian company called General Fusion, told BBC. “It is the moment when maturity of fusion science is combined with the 21st century growth that allows technology as additive production and high temperature superconductors. Fusion is no longer 30 years away.”
There are still many milestones Forward. Creating a reactor that can limit the fluid and scale the device to a commercially portable size is among the two biggest obstacles.