New Record in Nuclear Fusion energy
The UK based JET laboratory recently produced 59 mega joules of energy from a fusion reaction. The reaction was conducted for five seconds. With this, the company has smashed its own world record. With this, the company has become capable of creating a mini star and hold it there for five seconds.
How is the record related to sun?
In the core of the sun, the recently achieved fusion reaction happens at 10 million Celsius. This is possible because of high gravitational pressures. However, the gravitational pressure on the earth is much lesser than that of the sun. Because of this, higher temperature is required on the earth, which is above 100 million degree Celsius.
How was the fusion reaction held?
No material on the earth can withstand 100 million degree Celsius. Therefore, in order to conduct the fusion reaction, the scientists created a solution. The solution had super-heated gas or plasma inside it. The solution was held in a doughnut shaped magnetic field.
Concerns in the model
The new JET model can run only for 5 seconds. After this, the plasma loses stability. The duration is very short. However, in terms of nuclear timescale it is very long. The fusion reaction cannot run for longer time because the copper electromagnets get too hot. This issue can be resolved by scaling up the plasma.
With the new model, artificial sun can be created on the earth. In 2021, the Chinese scientists had set a world record of superheating plasma to temperatures hotter than the sun. The stability of the heating was held for more than 17 minutes. The fusion reactor was named EAST, Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokmak. This reactor maintained temperature 70 million degrees Celsius.
During fusion reaction, two hydrogen atoms fuse to form helium atoms. This happens at extreme pressure. And the reaction creates enormous amounts of energy.
Category: Science & Technology Current Affairs