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Trevor

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I'll admit that when I read the thread title, an expletive escaped from me.

Then I read the article.

Nice.

-Trevor
 

Cyparagon

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We can already DO fusion using tritium, deuterium, and that magnetic donut method. There are just some kinks to work out.
 

niloc

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We can already DO fusion using tritium, deuterium, and that magnetic donut method. There are just some kinks to work out.
Not exactly. Sure, fusion can be achieved in a pitre dish on one's table with enough vacuum equipment, an electrical gradient and fuel, but very few experiments get more than 50% of the energy out that is put in. I've been talking to a lot of people in my school's nuclear engineering department, the majority of them think that the tokamak (donut method as stated above, Tokamak - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) design will never advance at its current funding rate.

Most of the funding as of late is going towards inertial confinement fusion (Inertial confinement fusion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) as they just flatly scale better. Adding lasers can be done away from the implosion chamber, thus not adding any inefficiencies.

A tokamak has the issue that if a magnet is large enough to sustain immense magnetic fields larger than what we use now, it would be too unstable to maintain the fusion plasma and it would also typically force the magnet further from the plasma. This lowers the thermal pressure, one of the two factors that multiplied together yield the output energy of the reactor.

The other factor is time. Inertial confinement typically gives up time for a massive increase in thermal pressure.

I personally think tokamaks are more aimed at long term energy, though inefficient as they are, as a stable plasma just needs a small trickle of refilling. Too bad a stable plasma is elusive (beyond 60 sec).

Inertial confinement can possibly be refilled in such a way as to have a constant-ish output, but I somehow doubt it will work any different than an internal combustion engine, one explosion after another.
 




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