Nuclear fusion, temperatures reached 5 times higher than those of the Sun in China

New steps forward for the nuclear fusion: according to national news agencies, the Chinese reactor Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (East) would have maintained a temperature of 70 million degrees centigrade for more than 17 minutes. With temperatures five times higher than those of the Sun maintained for more than a quarter of an hour, this is a new world record, which exceeds that held by the French nuclear fusion reactor Tore Supra.

That’s not all: researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in the United States found that the mineral boron, an element contained in many household cleaners, could be improve capacity of the reactors to contain the heat necessary for the nuclear fusion reaction. The findings of the discovery were published in the journal Nature physics and, together with those reached by the East reactor, they bring scientists a little closer to the almost unlimited production of clean energy.

An artificial “sun”

As a artificial sun: that’s how a nuclear fusion reactor. Within these devices, in fact, we try to obtain the fusion of hydrogen isotopes to produce helium at very high pressures and temperatures, the same reaction that occurs inside the stars and which represents a potential resource for energy production around the world.

In this way, in fact, they would be generated in nuclear fusion reactors huge amounts of clean energy, without the production of greenhouse gases – the main culprits of global warming – or radioactive waste. Because of its potential, scientists all over the world have been trying to achieve more than seventy years efficient process from an energy point of view, especially through the reactors they contain symmetrical magnetic structures called tokamak.

These reactors, first designed by Natan Yavlinsky in 1958, seek to achieve nuclear fusion by bringing isotopes of hydrogen in the plasma state to very high temperatures (which must be greater than those of the Sun because the pressures in the reactor are much lower than those inside a star) for a sufficiently long period of time, but the undertaking is more difficult than it seems: the greatest technical obstacle is the heat confinement, and that is to find a way to keep the highly superheated plasma in a given position useful for nuclear fusion. In tokamaks, confinement occurs thanks to the magnetic fields that the structure generates.

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