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New record for fusion

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posted on Oct, 28 2016 @ 02:14 PM

Using these ideas, the scientists [at PPL] developed a "stability map" that allows a plasma to be monitored in real-time -- with 1/1000 of a second resolution -- to determine whether it is stable and how close it is to being unstable. If you know how fast the plasma is rotating and the collisionality [frequency of particle collision], you can use the stability map to see if the plasma is stable, as shown in the accompanying, for an experiment at the National Spherical Torus Experiment at PPPL

Sciencedaily, Oct. 28, 2016 - Steering a fusion plasma toward stability.

The article has the map up and explains in more detail what is happening with rotation and collisionality (cool new word).

How cool is that? Three articles up in one day, one on how to tune the frequency of neutral beam injectors to optimize heating; two, a method to boot strap current within a tokamak removing the need for a solenoid is demonstrated; and a road map for stable plasma.

Anybody else excited about nuclear fusion?!

posted on Oct, 28 2016 @ 02:48 PM
Updated on National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U).

The problems started with a blockage in a water-cooling coil inside the reactor and the inspection of that coil led to the discovery of other issues, said Andrew Zwicker, a physicist at the lab and spokesperson for issues regarding the reactor.

"We needed to do a very meticulous check of all of our systems," said Zwicker...

Scientists decided to take apart the massive reactor in order to examine and test its parts. Given the size of the device, it could take a full year, Zwicker said., Oct. 28, 2016 - Princeton plasma lab's fusion reactor shut down for 1 year after malfunction.

Thanks for the update but I still do not know what happened. Did a magnet fail? That is what the original quip said. Was it a cooling issue or total failure? Nothing has been said and PPPL has not posted an update on their site. This report makes it sound like a cooling issue and not a magnet failure. Did the magnet failure cause the damage? IDK what cause the original failure. Now, it seems they have found more issues and are being prudent in their repair work.

I guess we have to take the good news (previous three posts) along with the bad.

posted on Nov, 3 2016 @ 05:53 PM

An institute in Hefei, capital of East China’s Anhui province, succeeded in using a tokamak to achieve a high-constraint-model plasma driven by non-inductive electricity for over 60 seconds., news, Nov. 3, 2016 - Anhui-Based Institute Makes Major Breakthrough in Nuclear Fusion Experiment.

This is a short blurb on the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Fusion Energy Conference that was just held in Kyoto, Japan. This is China's EAST fusion reactor and it was announced earlier this year that they had a 102 second plasma. That plasma is not the same as this one (high constraint). Looks like China can now do 60 - 100 seconds of two different types of plasma.

posted on Nov, 9 2016 @ 03:44 PM

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories Z Machine have opened a new chapter in their 20-year journey toward higher fusion outputs by introducing tritium, the most neutron-laden isotope of hydrogen, to their targets' fuel.

This thing about creating energy where none existed before—we don't yet have a bonfire, but we're squirting starter on the grill," said Mike Cuneo, senior manager of Sandia's Pulsed Power Accelerator Science and Technology group.

"We're going to crawl before we walk and run," said Cuneo. "We will gradually increase that fraction in contained experiments as we go."

Only two other Department of Energy-supported, high-energy-density research sites, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester, had been approved to use tritium

The Sandia experiments use electromagnetics to smash Z's more massive target and its entire target support area like they were hit by a sledgehammer.

It will be at least three years before experiments approach the 50/50 mix of tritium and deuterium, depending on funding and Sandia and NNSA priorities for Z., Nov. 9, 2016 – Tritium introduced in fusion experiments at Sandia.

The Z machine does not have a containment vessel so they are proceeding very cautiously as tritium is very reactive with any material. So over the course of three years (!!!) they will scale up the amount to the 50/50 mix where they think ignition will occur. Cool announcement and I like the "squirting fire starter" comment. Shame it will be three years though.

Seems like 2020 is the magic “it” year of fusion research. LPP (aka deep fusion, fusion power) -2020; ITER (initial plasma) – 2020; Lockheed CFR (Prototype – 2017. Energy from it) – 2020; Wendelstein 7-X (30 minute plasma and power production) – 2020; Tri Alpha (prototype reactor) – 2020; General Fusion (power) – 2020; MIT’s ARC/SPARC (prototype) – 2020; China’s EAST (operational next 15 years) – 2020-ish; Helion Energy (producing fusion) – 2022.

Makes one wonder why we need fusion by 2020, huh?

posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 01:14 PM

The ITER Council has approved an updated schedule for the huge fusion experimental facility that is currently being built in Cadarache, France. At a meeting held from 16 to 17 November, the council approved the plan that was proposed by the ITER organization earlier this year with first plasma set for 2025 – a delay of five years – and ITER only moving onto deuterium-tritium fuel in 2035., Flash Physics (news flashes), Nov. 22, 2016 - ITER council endorses new "baseline" schedule.

Boo! Boo, Wendy Testaburger!

First plasma had been 2020 and D-T up and running in 2030 so tack another FIVE years onto those dates. Gee, they might never get off the ground now since Wendelstein 7-X will have completed all of its upgrades with the final goal of 30 minute run and production of energy by 2030. This news opens the door for all the smaller fusion devices like LPP and SP/ARC as there is yet more delays with the huge ITER fusion project.

Even China's EAST could get their heating figured out by then. *sigh*

posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 05:59 PM

Scientists at the... Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and Princeton University have proposed a groundbreaking solution to a mystery that has puzzled physicists for decades. At issue is how magnetic reconnection, a universal process that sets off solar flares, northern lights and cosmic gamma-ray bursts, occurs so much faster than theory says should be possible. The answer could aid forecasts of space storms, explain several high-energy astrophysical phenomena, and improve plasma confinement in... tokamaks designed to obtain energy from nuclear fusion.
The paper describes how the plasmoid [small magnetic islands] instability begins in a slow linear phase that goes through a period of quiescence before accelerating into an explosive phase that triggers a dramatic increase in the speed of magnetic reconnection. To determine the most important features of this instability, the researchers adapted a variant of the 17th century "principle of least time" originated by the mathematician Pierre de Fermat.

Use of this principle enabled the researchers to derive equations for the duration of the linear phase, and for computing the growth rate and number of plasmoids created. Hence, this least-time approach led to a quantitative formula for the onset time of fast magnetic reconnection and the physics behind it., Nov. 22, 2016 - Researchers propose an explanation for the mysterious onset of a universal process.

So PPPL now has a road map to plasma stability (first post on this page) and now a new tool on how to explain and predict fast reconnection. Plasma stability seems to be now just a function of keeping controls from varying too far and predicting when cascading plasmoids might be making for a more disruptive event and then just preventing it from happening in the first place. Seems like treating plasma as light instead of a gas makes the maths work and allows physics to explain what is happening. Fermat got them on the right page!

When they get their NSTX-U back online there are going to be announcement after announcement.

posted on Dec, 6 2016 @ 04:33 PM

How precisely the field structure needed – a setup of closed magnetic surfaces nested in one another – can be generated by the specially shaped superconducting stellarator coils is now clear. Deviations from the calculated target shape are within a hundred-thousandth: A magnetic field line traced for a distance of 100 metres, i.e. the extent of a football pitch, will be spot on target to within a millimetre.

Maxx-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, Nov. 30, 2016 - Magnetic field of Wendelstein 7-X exact to a hundred-thousandth.

Nature Communications - Confirmation of the topology of the Wendelstein 7-X magnetic field to better than 1:100,000 is the actual paper with photos of the field lines and error charts (cool pics)

Well I should hope so! It only took 19 years to build and 2 billion Euros! It was designed, manufactured, and assembled by computer and lasers, so after all that work I would hope that it was within tolerances.

This is a report on how the device measured after the run that ended this year. A fluorescent rod is used to map the magnetic lines as they swirl through the reactor's core. After all that precise work they nailed it! A stellarator has the magnetic fields on the outside. The W7-X is known as a fully optimized Helias configuration. The calculations to create this had to wait until supercomputers were capable of doing them. Each coil is optimized to produce a specific field and these fields have external guide coils (they are the twisty coils around the device).

All that time calculating, then made to order superconductor coils, computer guided assembly, and 19 years of hard work paid off! Congrats to all the teams that worked on W7-X at the IPP!

This demonstrates the fully optimized Helias stellarator design. Well deserved win!!! This is a major step towards that 30 minute run and a realized nuclear fusion reactor.

edit on 6-12-2016 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: added paper url

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