China recently developed a device named HL-2M Tokamak in the fusion reactor based at the Southwestern Institute of Physics (SWIP) in the Chengdu City of China.
According to state media Xinhua, it broke the world records after carrying a nuclear reaction at 70 million degrees Celsius (343 million Kelvin) for more than 17 minutes in Chengdu.
This device is not a sun in actuality but EAST (Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak), a donut-shaped reactor chamber where heated plasma is enclosed with a strong magnetic field.
China’s attempt generates limitless sustainable energy in cost-effective ways for many years to come.
Is the Sun made of plasma?
Yes, the Sun is made of natural plasma and consists of mainly hydrogen and helium. The plasma is a mixture of ionized gas, ions or electrons, and neutral atoms, a distinct state of matter containing an incredible amount of electrically charged particles. The natural plasma does not break down or react rapidly, but it is extremely hot.
Does the Sun use Fission or Fusion Reaction?
The Sun uses fusion reaction constantly. The fusion reactions occurring in the Sun are often called thermonuclear reactions because they occur only at a very high temperature.
The fusion reaction occurring in the Sun is described as a set of three reactions. i) Protium and deuterium combine to He-3 isotope. ii) Two He-3 isotopes combine to give the He-4 isotope plus two protiums. iii) Two protiums combine to give deuterium plus a positron.
What is Hotter Than Sun?
The Sun is a 1.5 Kilometer ball of plasma, and the nuclear fusion reaction heats it, and the interior temperature reaches about 15 million degrees Celsius. The recent research reveals that China’s Artificial Sun, EAST (Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak), is hotter than Sun.
This donut-shaped device carried a nuclear reaction at 70 million degrees Celsius (343 million Kelvin) for more than 17 minutes which is more than the Sun itself.
How to Make Artificial Sun?
In making an Artificial Sun, the two small nuclei fuse to form a larger one, the more stable nucleus, an appreciable amount of thermal energy is released. The reaction involved in the ‘Artificial Sun’ generation is the Nuclear Fusion Reaction. In contrast to nuclear fission reaction, atomic fusion combines small nuclei into larger ones, largely exempt from waste disposal.
Nuclear fusion is the same process that is mainly occurring in the Sun, and, It is the basis for the research into harnessing the fusion reaction for energy yields. But, it is too costly to deal with as we need a very high temperature to bring about this process.
Everything We Know About China’s Artificial Sun
Recently, China has completed the test of the Nuclear Fusion Reactor and attempted to make an ‘Artificial Sun’ that got five times more scorching than the Sun.
The Chinese Nuclear Fusion Reactor broke the record of the achievement set by France’s Tore Supra tokamak in 2003, where the loop of plasma was confined in the same temperature for 6 minutes and 30 seconds.
The purpose of this ‘sun’ is not to supply light radiations, but instead an enormous amount of clean energy that researchers hope to consume in generating electricity in environmentally friendly ways.
Nuclear scientists have struggled to utilize the nuclear fusion reaction for more or less 70 years; this is the reaction by which star burns involve the fusion of protium and deuterium to make helium under tremendous temperature and pressure to convert matter into light radiation and heat energy. The generation of an immense amount of energy without the emission of greenhouse gases was the dream of scientists for years that has come true!
China spent $ trillion to achieve the goal of power generation without carbon dioxide and other hazardous emissions, a mode of energy production that is no threat to the environment and results in enough fuel to power the planet for hundreds of millions of years.
The cloning of the severe conditions found inside the hearts of the Sun is not a child’s play; the design for a nuclear fusion reactor like Tokamak involves the superheating of plasma before trapping inside the chamber with the strong magnetic field.
For the scientists, It had been difficult for many years to build a device that would hold the turbulent and superheated plasma long enough to carry out the nuclear fusion process. In 1958, Soviet Scientist Natan Yavlinsky developed the first Tokamak, but he and his contemporaries failed in designing a reactor that gave more energy than it takes.
One of the staggering blocks is controlling the plasma that is not responsive to fusion; as we discussed earlier, fusion reactors need very high temperatures, even many times hotter than the Sun. When we talk about the complexity of the fusion process, it does not mean that heating plasma to a temperature scorching than the Sun is complex, but what is tricky that disturbs is the finding of the corral to resist the burning of plasma through the walls of the reactor (either with lasers or magnetic fields) without ruination of the fusion process.
According to the recent report of Live Science, 35 countries, including the U.K, USA, China, India, and European Union, are set to collaborate to develop the world’s largest nuclear reactor named Experimental Reactor (ITER) — that’s currently under construction in Marseille, France.
It is reported that magnets of ITER are so strong that they produce a magnetic field that is 280,000 times as strong as the one around the Earth.
It is expected that this fusion reaction will be functionalized in 2025 to provide scientists with even more insights into the feasibility of harnessing star power on Earth.
China is organizing the initial confinement fusion experiments and planning to finalize a new tokamak soon. The pursuance of China to more of its programs is to develop nuclear fusion power.