Nuclear Fusion: Scientists create hydrogen plasma, and that's what the sun is made of...

Categories: Energy

For the first time, scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Germany have successfully created hydrogen plasma, the key component to nuclear fusion, and held it in a contained environment.

Inside of a generator called theWendelstein 7-X (W7X) stellarator, hydrogen is heated up to 180 million degrees Fahrenheit and held in place by 470 tons of superconducting, super-cooled magnets.  The temperatures cause the hydrogen gas to turn into plasma, a superheated form of matter that behaves like an electromagnetic cloud.

Because of a phenomenon known as quantum tunneling, the hydrogen atoms smash into each other and fuse into helium.  This is an advanced version of an experiment run on the W7X in which helium was changed into plasma and fused last year.

photo credit: The experimental fusion reactor. Max Planck Institute

The advancement to convert hydrogen into contained hydrogen plasma is huge because it can produce the most amount of energy using elemental fusion that we known of - leaps and bounds better than helium.  This is a great advancement and they are making great headway toward ignition.

Here is the W7X being debuted

Image Credit

Tech advances hold the keys to many opportunities when it comes to localized power production, and yet news headline-based understanding of techs such as fusion make the public nervous.  With such numbers as one million degrees celcius being thrown around,  it's important to clarify safety protocall to the public, and continue forward with caution.  We have one planet to lose.  Yet making it over-the-hump to new innovations could provide a simple energy source for all.  Science, Physics, knowledge, and learning... we're in exciting times of innovation!

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