Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Scientists achieve highest temp. on Earth - over 100x Sun's core!

  1. Mar 9, 2006 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2006 #2
    Its pretty damn impressive... and they are not shure how it was one, its one of those science "OOps we did something new!" moments :D


    Ryan Jones
  4. Mar 9, 2006 #3
    That is awsome i dont know why it is but it is mabey this will become one of those things that is just awesome and mabey if they find the cause of it. mabey they can find a way to reverse it to and reach absolute zero how cool would that be
  5. Mar 9, 2006 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I'm working on a project that involves 800 amps. I'm feeling pretty insignificant in the scheme of things now. That is incredible stuff. I wonder what size fuses they're using...That was my poor attempt at humor BTW

    If anyone is interested in the picture with the article, it can be found here in large format:

    http://www.sandia.gov/news-center/news-releases/2006/images/z-machine.jpg [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  6. Mar 10, 2006 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I'm not sure exactly what to make of it either, but Sandia's web page on it is considerably more informative than MSNBC's.

    http://www.sandia.gov/news-center/news-releases/2006/physics-astron/hottest-z-output.html [Broken]

    I'd like to see some figures for total electrical input energy and total radiated x-ray energy - as near as I can tell, they don't believe that fusion is going on, they appear to believe that the electrical energy is more efficiently converted to kinetic energy than they had expected.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  7. Mar 11, 2006 #6
    Nice find, Neutrino.
    "... when the high temperature was achieved, the Z machine was releasing more energy than was originally put in, ..."

    Apparently, Sandia has discovered perpetual motion, he,he:biggrin: :wink:

    The z pinch effect is well known, but Sandia has put alot of work into it.
    A good description is given here:
    http://www.physorg.com/printnews.php?newsid=5167 [Broken]

    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  8. Mar 11, 2006 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I love this:

    I love consultants.
  9. Mar 11, 2006 #8


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Haines appears to me to be the victim of bad reporting.

    I unfortunately don't have access to the complete text of the PRL article, but the abstract at

    http://scitation.aip.org/getabs/servlet/GetabsServlet?prog=normal&id=PRLTAO000096000007075003000001&idtype=cvips&gifs=yes [Broken]

    by Haines, et al, seems relatively sane. The media seems to be off on some wild tangent about "unknown energy sources" - the closer one gets to the original source, the less speculative the articles are. The Sandia labs URL I posted earlier is also fairly reasonable.

    Haines appears to be called a consultant because he's not working for the DOE, which funds Sandia labs - thus he's civiliain, rather than a government employee. The only info I have on his qualifications is that he was "a former director of London’s Imperial College Plasma Physics Dept", which sounds reasonable.

    I don't really have as much information as I would like because I'd have to pay to get access to the PRL article, but it appears to me that nobody is making any claims that more energy is coming out than is being put in, or even that fusion is going on - the phenomenon occuring is that the electrical energy being put in is much more efficiently being converted to x-rays than some simplistic models would suggest. This is very interesting and has a lot of practical usages, but is not as "ga-ga" as some of the reporting might indicate.

    Figures on the total energy input, in joules, and the total x-ray output, in joules, would do a lot to illuminate (pun intended) the issue, as I remarked earlier - unfortunately I don't have this data.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  10. Mar 11, 2006 #9
    I don't think Fred (or anyone) doubts Haines is reputable; especially if they read the link I posted which clearly stated otherwise; rather, it was merely a chuckle at the implications of the verbage used in media reporting.

    There may be new physics here, but more likely, simply undiscovered application, or new mechanism, of increased output energy.

    This is especially likely when one considers that the magnetohydrodynamic equations upon which plasma physics is based (and of which I am no expert:wink:) contain some simplistic physical assumptions, the limitations of which are probably exceeded in such an energetic environment, and the consequences of which are dubious.
    Furthermore, one would expect the exhibition of nonlinear results which can commonly characterize such high intensity magnetic field interactions.

    I could think of a host of physical reasons and mechanisms for the exaggerated energy output of steel vs.that of tungsten which don't imply new physics or even nuclear events.

    However,.....it is interesting to speculate.:biggrin:

  11. Mar 11, 2006 #10
    How did do that without killing anyone.
  12. Mar 11, 2006 #11
    Hi Fred... They may have 20 million amps, but it only lasts a few nanoseconds!:wink:
    No need to feel 'insignificant'.... there's a lot you can do with 800 amps!:bugeye:
    I am thinking of one experiment now (which may help solve the Sandia Z-pinch mystery provided you are able to deduce from it the physical mechanism responsible for its behavior).

    It involves other forces that may arise besides the transverse Z pinch.
    The Z pinch is a result of the transverse force from the magnetic field surrounding the wire (which is induced by the current density.)
    However, I don't believe these Z pinch experiments account for the possibility of a longitudinal force, i.e., along the axis through the wire.

    800 amps is plenty enough to reveal both the Z pinch and another anomalous force (in the longitudinal direction) that seems to have never been satisfactorily explained. In fact, some guys from NASA tried to get me to solve the problem once (in a somewhat different experimental form) and to my knowledge it still needs resolution. The problem surfaces from time to time in various forms and to my knowledge it has yet to be resolved completely.

    In one form it is called the copper submarine.
    Place a solid copper cylindrical rod, say the diameter of a pencil and a few inches in length, into a long trough of liquid mercury, (say, 12 -18 inches long and several inches deep).

    First, fabricate the copper (cylinder) rod so that one end is pointed (somewhat like a sharpened pencil), an the other end is blunt (like the eraser end of a pencil).
    Make sure the trough is electrically insulated except at the ends where contacts are placed so as to connect a currect source into the mercury. Float the copper in the mercury longitudinally at the center and apply 400 amps of DC current.

    I am told (I haven't done it myself) that the cylinder submerges to the middle of the trough. This is expected....due to the (transverse) pinch effect. Howeeeeever, something else happens: The sub ALSO experiences a longitudinal force which pushes it in the direction of the blunt end of the cylinder.

    Now please deduce from the experiment from whence this longitudinal force arises. However, before you snap to judgement, first reverse the current; you will notice the rod continues to go in the SAME DIRECTION. :uhh: In fact, you can even use AC current, and the rod always moves in the direction of the blunt end.

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2006
  13. Mar 12, 2006 #12
    So what if it only last for a few nanoseconds i mean think of the first flight it was a very insignifigant amount of time that would do almost nothing sept prove flight was possible. Now that they have doen it they can work on improving it and making it last longer and longer until it can last for an almost infinite amount of time.
  14. Mar 12, 2006 #13


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    It seems that the attempts to explain this by nanoturbulence effects are whistling past the graveyard. Whatever the microphysics, if they DID get more energy out than they put in, then they have an energy source in there, no lie! Whether it's a usable energy source or whether there's some mistake and they are putting in more enrgy than they thought, that will take more research.
  15. Mar 12, 2006 #14
    WOW! That sounds like fun to do!
  16. Mar 12, 2006 #15


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Although the news of the record high temperature achievement was only recently released, it appears that the original event occured well over one year ago.

    From the link:
    http://www.sandia.gov/news-center/news-releases/2006/physics-astron/hottest-z-output.html [Broken]

    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  17. Mar 13, 2006 #16


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Well said. I was just being a smart alec. I am sure that no one gets to his position by being a dolt. His quote definitely did not do him justice.
  18. Mar 13, 2006 #17
    wow amaizing.
    it will problably affect physics alot in many subjects.
  19. Mar 13, 2006 #18


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I've got a suggestion. The pointy end of the rod gets hotter than the blunt end - and the mercury also gets hotter near the point, due to the larger currents flowing through it.

    From what I recall about thermometers, mercury expands when it gets hotter, so this should/could create a driving force as the mercury expands behind the bar, but not in front of it.

    I'm assuming that copper is a significantly better conductor in my mental model, but I haven't double checked this assumption.
  20. Mar 14, 2006 #19


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Squared end: step change in current density (discounting edge, corner effects), and no tangential current component to interact with magnetic field; tapered end, tangential component to current interacting with the magnetic field; reverse polarity, field and current directions both change.
  21. Mar 14, 2006 #20
    Hello pervect; that's a good suggestion; although you probably meant to say the current density is larger at the pointy end; and it would seem reasonable that a differential temperature (between the ends) would develope.
    Temperature differences seem to have a way of sneaking in there sometimes in these situations.
    However, I wasn't thinking in terms of thermodynamics but rather coming up with a electrodynamic solution; like possibly accounting for longitudinal forces from the Maxwell stresses.

    Certainly possible, but the magnitude of the effect? Even though mercury's coefficient of (volume) expansion is 3 or 4 times that of Cu, its thermal conductivity is only about 1/45th. Seems it would act more as a thermal insulator to the Cu. Nevertheless, a temp. measurement at each end may help ; no telling what happens at the interface. Also the expansion of Mg would not be exclusively linear since it is not restricted to 1 dimension as in a thermometer.

    I was thinking there should be a possible effect from the different magnetic flux densities at each end due to the different current densities (differing divergence in electric field lines). :uhh: That appears to be also what Bystander is saying (if I am mis-understanding him correctly). :smile:

    Last edited: Mar 15, 2006
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook