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Scientists See Solution to Critical Barrier to Fusion

by Drakkith
Tags: barrier, critical, fusion, scientists, solution
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Drakkith
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Apr25-12, 11:29 PM
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Interesting. According to the following link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0423143128.htm
An in-depth analysis by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) zeroed in on tiny, bubble-like islands that appear in the hot, charged gases -- or plasmas -- during experiments. These minute islands collect impurities that cool the plasma. And it is these islands, the scientists report in the April 20 issue of Physical Review Letters, that are at the root of a long-standing problem known as the "density limit" that can prevent fusion reactors from operating at maximum efficiency.
Gates and Delgado-Aparicio now hope to test their theory with experiments on a tokamak called Alcator C-Mod at MIT, and on the DIII-D tokamak at General Atomics in San Diego. Among other things, they intend to see if injecting power directly into the islands will lead to higher density. If so, that could help future tokamaks reach the extreme density and 100-million-degree temperatures that fusion requires.
What do you all make of this?
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zapperzero
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May7-12, 06:24 AM
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Quote Quote by Drakkith View Post
Interesting. According to the following link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0423143128.htm
What do you all make of this?
Angels dancing on pinheads. As I see it, the science needed for fusion has been done a long time ago. It's all engineering from here on out.
Drakkith
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May7-12, 03:33 PM
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Quote Quote by zapperzero View Post
Angels dancing on pinheads. As I see it, the science needed for fusion has been done a long time ago. It's all engineering from here on out.
I guess it depends on where you draw the line between engineering and physics.

zapperzero
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May8-12, 06:54 AM
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Scientists See Solution to Critical Barrier to Fusion

Quote Quote by Drakkith View Post
I guess it depends on where you draw the line between engineering and physics.
Eh. I was being facetious, but only somewhat. Searching a space of possible solutions in for an optimum is what I tend to think of as engineering. Of course, if along the way one stumbles across new phenomena, that is science again, but only of a minor sort, usually :).

This thing you posted about is pure engineering - these relatively cold islands had been known to exist for quite a while. These guys are proposing to heat them up with microwaves, which in turn is a refinement of existing technique.


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