China creates 'artificial sun' to burn at 100,000,000 degrees

16 November, 2018, 04:51 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • China creates 'artificial sun' to burn at 100,000,000 degrees

The actual sun, meanwhile, only burns to about 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (14.9 million degrees Celsius), according to Shanghaiist.

A team of Chinese researchers has conducted an experiment that is nicknamed the "Chinese artificial sun" using the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) fusion device. Nuclear fusion is a staggering technical innovation in which hydrogen from sea water and readily available lithium is heated to more than 150 million°C.

Every nuclear reactor now operating on Earth is a fission reactor - using energy released when heavy atoms such as uranium decay into smaller atoms, a process similar to the one used in the first nuclear weapons.

In 1989, USA scientists Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons claimed to have developed a way of generating nuclear fusion at room temperature, a process they referred to as "cold fusion". This reaction produces plasma, which is a state of matter. To put that into perspective, the center of the sun is around 15 million degrees Celsius.

The goal of this reactor is to replicate the process that the sun uses to produce energy. If this happens and the plasma touches the reactor wall, it can easily damage it.

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Scientists at the Hefei Institute of Physical Science, which is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have been working on an experiment to achieve nuclear fusion since 2006. With the help of Tokamak devices like EAST, this might be possible.

In recent years, scientists working on the project have announced a number of breakthroughs.

Tokamak reactors hope to generate fusion energy from a plasma trapped in a magnetic field - but the key to igniting the fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium atoms is temperature.

Nevertheless, the race to build a fusion reactor is hotting up, with numerous companies now devoting resources towards developing a successful method. These challenges include building a reactor that can confine and suspend the plasma, and then scaling this expensive equipment up to the point where it would become commercially viable.

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