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German "Stellarator" goes online - first plasma produced

Discussion in 'Science' started by chainbolt, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. xoameister

    xoameister (Banned or Deleted)

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    Some Chinese science nerds have also marked a fusion milestone.

    Not surprisingly, the achievement was made far from the elitists and glitzy ivory towers of Beijing. It's in Anhui Province, one of the most impoverished in the Chinese regime. But impoverished Anhui is prepared to invest in something that incredibly advanced 'straya won't.
     
  2. dexx

    dexx Member

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    Indeed its the spin-off tech which will be valuable. I fear that even if fusion power becomes practical, plants will be huge expensive beasts for many years to come. A power plant costing $100B wont produce 'free' power even if the fuel is free.
     
  3. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    And once again the media got it wrong.
    To create over unity fusion here on Earth takes temperatures at least an order of magnitude higher than those in the Sun. The reason the Sun works and we cannot simply make a small Sun here on Earth is we cannot recreate the density of the Sun's plasma for more than microseconds. It's the pressure needed to get that density that's way, way beyond us. So instead we're trying using higher temperatures. The key to understanding this is Quantum Tunnelling, without that the Sun wouldn't work.

    Also worth a mention that the Sun fuses two protons to produce deuterium and that in turn fuses with a proton. Again we're cheating compared to how it happens in the Sun, our fusion reactors bypass this step and start with deuterium.
     
  4. RnR

    RnR Member

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    Missed this... from a few months ago...

    https://www.theengineer.co.uk/wendelstein-stellarator-begins-upgrades-after-fusion-success/
     
  5. OP
    OP
    chainbolt

    chainbolt Member

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  6. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    I did watch a rather long and tedious lecture from Sydney Uni by a professor from there who's working on the ITER project. This problem certainly got a mention. The problem of predicting the behaviour of a burning plasma lies in the domain of fluid dynamics. A burning plasma has many degrees of freedom which makes it a really big mathematical problem and it's why there's so many different magnetic fields being employed.

    Getting a stable burning plasma is only a small problem compared to the biggest problem. Finding a material that will not fall apart fairly quickly from the intense bombardment of neutrons and high energy photons. If I recall correctly the operational life of ITER is measured in hours. That should be enough time to test helium removal, fuel injection and production. Tritium will be produced by neutron bombardment of lithium using the neutrons from the fusion.

    Assuming ITER works as hoped it'll take at least the same amount of money to fund research to find a suitable material for the containment vessel. Even then, if anything can be found it has to be affordable and reasonably environmentally friendly else fusion will not be economically viable. ITER is using a considerable amount of beryllium inside the Tokomak. That's neither cheap or safe.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    chainbolt

    chainbolt Member

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    So, what is your conclusion. if any? Stop the research?
     
  8. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    The research has to continue.
    The people working in this field need to do a much better job of explaining themselves.
     
  9. RnR

    RnR Member

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  10. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    I don't think it's the magnetic field that's pushing the protons together.
     
  11. RnR

    RnR Member

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    Yeah... pretty poorly worded.
     
  12. Smoke87

    Smoke87 Member

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    Not exactly a trait well exhibited by scientists and engineers.
     
  13. aussie-revhead

    aussie-revhead Member

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    Fascinating stuff guys, if DEMO is looking at starting output in 2033 then they must have firm belief in the theory behind it right? Shame its such a wait to see it work, what a world our kids and their kids will be living in.

    :)
     
  14. Perko

    Perko Member

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    They're pretty good at whining about science "communicators" getting the limelight though.
     
  15. RnR

    RnR Member

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    An update. The inner tiles has been upgraded to use graphite and they have pushed up the energy and times for the plasma pulses.

    http://www.ipp.mpg.de/4413312/04_18

    Soon (tm)
     
  16. adamsleath

    adamsleath Member

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    a flat property market? that's excellent.
    love to see the fusion r&d.
     
  17. OP
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    chainbolt

    chainbolt Member

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    and the graphite tiles again will be replaced ... (another update from the same source)

    It looks like they are moving forward (?) in very small steps.
     
  18. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    They are moving forward. They're being cautious for good reason. They don't want to destroy this expensive apparatus. The aim of this machine is similar to JET, to test that the predictions made by the equations are correct, that there's not another term needed to define how the plasma will behave.
     

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