- Fusion researchers are working to raise the plasma power in their reactors so they can generate more power using smaller tokamak equipment.
- When plasma diffuses into this highly active state, it can burst against the walls of the tokamak, damaging its internal components.
- A new study conducted in Korea shows that magnetic controls can successfully manage these blasts, resulting in smoother flow and reduced maintenance.
Plasma inside tokamaks – the doughnut-shaped organs that can contain nuclear fusion reactions – can be difficult to manage.
Outbursts of super-hot plasma, similar to solar flares that erupt from the surface of the Sun, come from the system operating at a high energy level. These mutations can cause the internal components of the tokamak to overheat. (Plasma is formed by heating gas until it ionizes. All nebulae, aurora, and lightning contain glowing plasma.)
Seeking to stabilize fusion reactions, an international team of physics researchers has developed a sophisticated set of magnetic controls to reduce plasma bursts that can damage the tokamak. that they publish their work Earlier this year in the magazine Plasma physics.
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Inside the tokamak, deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen, circulates at a very high temperature and a low density. There may also be tritium, a second isotope of the same substance. Isotopes of an element have a different number of neutrons in their nuclei than each other, but the same number of protons.
The plasma nucleus of the tokamak can be 100 million degrees Celsius, Ejmeen Colemanan associate professor in Princeton University’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and a co-author of the paper, says popular mechanics. The wall temperature ranges between 400 and 1260 degrees Celsius.
Deuterium travels around the circular ring. The hoop is housed in a sturdy external enclosure construction. Electromagnetic forces direct deuterium along its path. If instabilities of the plasma occur, such as in edge-finding modes, ions can damage the interior of the torus.
Coleman explains that the edge-setting patterns “are bursts of energy” that appear at the end of the plasma and hit the wall. “These explosions lead to massive increases in heat load on the wall of the machine.”
In early fusion research, localized edge patterns did not occur because the plasma was in a lower energy state. In recent years, fusion researchers have found it beneficial to run the tokamak in a higher power mode, known as “H mode,” because it produces better performance in a small size. However, in H mode, deuterium becomes more difficult to control.
“We want this high mode, but we don’t want the instability that leads to this burst of energy that increases heat and possibly melts the wall,” Coleman said.
Calm down localized edge modes
Fusion researchers have experimented with a variety of methods to smooth out the edge localized modes. These include adding other gases, Coleman says. The paper also explains that scientists have attempted to inject hypersonic particle beams, using small periodic displacements of vertical equilibrium, and more.
Coleman and colleagues, for their part, used a control device that disturbed the plasma. “We were looking at using 3D files,” he says. “We have these… structures. They are like windows around the reactor on the torus. They make electric and magnetic fields that are asymmetric with respect to the cross-section of the plasma. What you do with this 3D turbulence is you can change the edge stability. You can make the localized edge modes disappear. That Fabulous.”
These disturbances make plasma confinement difficult, unfortunately. This is where the dynamic controls come into play. The controller adjusts the magnetic fields so that only 10 to 20 percent of pressure is lost.
“We’re basically trying to determine the sweet spot and then adjust the plasma.”
“We have a plasma simulation that we use,” Coleman explains. “We built an intelligent control system that looks at the plasma and adjusts the 3D turbulence and then sees what the plasma is doing. It looks at everything and adjusts the control. We basically try to identify the sweet spot and then adjust the plasma. Ultimately, what you will achieve is the highest possible pressure of the plasma but without the lack of Edge stability. We’ve gotten much better results. We’ve gotten rid of the instability, but we’re still in big confinement.”
The paper says the reagent has some false positive and false negative results during experiments, so it should be replaced with one that does not depend on the tuning for the calibration.
“I think, basically, I have faith that people are going to discover some of these technical challenges,” Greg Beaverfounder and CEO of SHINE Technologies, says popular mechanics After reading the newspaper. “They’re tough. They’d be very expensive machines, at least with today’s technology. You’d need to compete with other energy sources. If you had to build a really complex machine with a lot of exotic materials, cutting the cost would take some time. You’d have to create good economies of scale.” Really. Really good supply chains.”
Beaver said he is optimistic about the future ability of the merger to power our electric grid. “I think, in the long run, it’s the way humans produce energy. We’re at a tipping point now. It’s exciting to be here now and help usher in what we call the age of fusion.”
Kat Friedrich is a former mechanical engineer who started majoring in mathematics, engineering and applied physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has an undergraduate degree in environmental sciences and journalism, and has edited seven news publications, of which she has co-founded two. She spends her spare time learning about dance and functional fitness, reading science fiction stories, and exploring musical events.
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