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Worlds First Fusion Reactor


The Boss
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Hi there all kinda new to this forum, im a bit of a science junkie n could'nt find any threads about this so decided to post one myself. just wanted to know your views and opinions. i read a few weeks ago that the world first fusion reactor will be built in france by the year 2012.

for those of you that don't know what this is, it a new revolutionary way of getting energy. it works by separating hydrogen atoms and oxygen from water. as we all know water is 2 parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, thus the hydrogen a burnable gas, that can be converted to electrisity. The idea of fusion has always been an idea, and theoritecial possable but untill now scientist say they have'nt been able to creat the stable environment for this to take place. However the question remains will the energy be made freely avliable for all, or will it be run like the other power giants that control the world econemy. should this energy be freely avliable to all, as the earth is 2/3 water ?

 

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jun2005/2005-06-29-01.asp

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A few points:

 

ITER the one to be built in France is NOT the worlds first fusion nuclear reactor. Just have a look at JET, currently the largest, which is nearly energy profiting (which it was never designed to be):

 

http://www.jet.efda.org/

 

ITER is mainly about materials science and working on what materials should be used for future reactors and rules.

 

Your idea of how fussion works is completely wrong.

 

In fission you split the atom to get energy, in fusion you combine 2 atom nucleus's into one bigger one to get energy (due to the distribution of binding energies). Have a read of:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fusion

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IIRC didn`t this technology prove itself Viable for about ~30 seconds already several years ago?

I think that was the max time they could maintain the Flux/Plasma or whatever it`s called before it collapsed.

prior to that, it was in single figure seconds and less.

 

I could be wrong, but I`m fairly sure ~30 seconds was the "Record"

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The OP speaks about electric hydrolysis or whatever you call what I did in seventh grade with upside-down testtubes and a DC source. With a few volts, and some electrolyte, hydrogen collects in one tube and oxygen in the other. Lighted with a flame the H_2 sounded briefly at maybe 500H, a quarter-wave I suspect of the tube.

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I'm really biting my tounge here. As was mentioned already, the first post had nothing to do with fusion except that it mentioned ITER. Everything about how "fusion" works is not even close to correct.

 

And there have been fusion reactors for decades. ITER is important because its supposed to be the prototype for a commercial reactor that will actually produce electricity.

 

All this information and more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITER , the threadstarter should make a habit of going to wikipedia before starting any more topics.

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"And there have been fusion reactors for decades."

 

There is at least some evidence that one particular fusion reactor has been running for at least something like 4.5 billion years.

It's about 93 million miles away.

 

BTW, the site linked in the original post now gives a reasonable idea of fusion.

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If solar electric panels were cheap it might be economical to separate hydrogen and oxygen, to collect the H2 for fuel cells, say, in autos. This is chemical energy, not nuclear energy; these are different realms. Obtaining appropriate fuel for hydrogen fusion would be trivial if not for the need of heavy isotopes of hydrogen, deuterium and tritium, which give the desired reactions.

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This [2Hydrogen + Ogygen -> Water] is chemical energy, not nuclear energy [as in nuclear fusion]; these are different realms.
I´d like to emphasize this point since it´s an understandable yet grave mistake to think that nuclear fusion (or "cold fusion") was about binding together atoms, such as in the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen to water.

 

Atoms can be considered as consisting of two parts: The nucleus, which is very little in radius but rather heavy (for atomic scales, of course) and the electrons, which occupy an area with a much larger radius but have an almost negligible mass (compared to the nucleus).

In chemical bondings, such as the 2H+O -> H2O, the different atoms' electron "clouds" around the nuclei can "melt" into a single cloud surrounding all of the involved nuclei (a better explanation by someone more familiar with chemistry than me might add a better explanation - I admit that it stretches imagination quite far to consider e.g. an ionic binding as the melting of two electron clouds). The typical energy scales are roughly a few eV (=electronvolt, a unit for energy).

Nuclear physics and nuclear fission on the other hand deals with the other part of the atom, the nucleus. There, it´s not the electron clouds that form a binding, but it´s the nuclei of two atoms (for technical reasons it´s not really correct to speak of atoms here, you effectively have only the nuclei - but that´s a different story) that "melt" together forming a new single nucleus. The energy scales involved in nuclear physics are usually much higher than the energy scales of processes of the electron clouds - roughly in the range of a few million eV. In other words, the fusion of two nuclei brings you roughly (very roughly) a million times more energy than if the electron clouds of the atoms would fuse.

 

However, while the forming of chemical bonds is absolutely common on earth, nuclear fusion practically doesn´t happen at all. That´s because the nuclei need a relatively high initial energy to be able to melt (they are both positively charged and repel each other, so they usually can´t get close to each other) which they only attain at extremely high temperatures. Attaining these high temperatures is the reason why fusion reactors are big and expensive machines that you don´t have in your home-lab. Getting a net energy gain out of the nuclear fusion is mainly a technical question. More precisely: It´s a yet-unsolved technical question (as someone already mentioned: The sun perfectly demonstrates that it´s possible in general). ITER is supposed to help solving this question (but afaik not thought to be the solution already).

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In chemical bondings, such as the 2H+O -> H2O, the different atoms' electron "clouds" around the nuclei can "melt" into a single cloud surrounding all of the involved nuclei (a better explanation by someone more familiar with chemistry than me might add a better explanation - I admit that it stretches imagination quite far to consider e.g. an ionic binding as the melting of two electron clouds). The typical energy scales are roughly a few eV (=electronvolt, a unit for energy).
This is an interesting statement, as I am in a realm of seeing nothing but electron clouds. Are you saying that "ionic bonding" is supposedly a more cut-and-separated attractive affair? Electrons are like points when you poke at them like that, and they are wave distributions given the chance. Photons might seem somewhat like points when you absorb them and are wave distributions depending on how you interact with them.
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This is an interesting statement, as I am in a realm of seeing nothing but electron clouds. Are you saying that "ionic bonding" is supposedly a more cut-and-separated attractive affair?

I have little knowledge about atomic and molecular physics or chemistry but I´ve seen simplified explanations of ionic binding stating that one electron is given to the other atom involved causing an attraction between the two unequally charged resulting ions. Translated to the picture I´ve used above this would mean that a part of one atom´s electron cloud is cut and added to the electron cloud of the other atom. I do not know to what extend it is sensible to describe the resulting molecular bond as still two distinct electron clouds of whether it makes more sense to see them as a combined electron cloud with just "more electrons" near one of the nuclei.

So in short: Yes, that´s what I was saying. But I am not sure to what extend that´s correct.

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  • 2 weeks later...

you want to make a nuclear fusion reactor fuelled by salt?!?

 

seeing as we haven't done it(to over unity) with hydrogen in the most advanced labs then your not going to be able to do it at home.

 

you could maybe build a particle accelerator and get a couple of fusions if you fire some form of gas at the salt. not going to be anything spectacular though.

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I think if anything this thread proves the common misconceptions about fusion.

 

I believe many posters are confusing the common fission reactors with fusion reactors. Which is sad because they are pretty much opposites.

 

The worst part is it seems the article was only fueling this rift. Right now I pity every poor science student who was thrown out of class for arguing with their teacher about this article.

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