Physics Phriday: Nuclear Fusion Milestone Passed

Inside a fusion reactor.

Nuclear fusion is the process that powers the sun.  It can release a tremendous amount of energy from a small amount of fuel.  Many people see it as the energy source of the future.  However, no one has had a reactor good enough that they get more energy out of the fusion reaction than they put into the reaction.  It’s not a very good energy source if you have to put more energy into it than you can get out of it.  That’s like having a battery in your phone that has to stay connected to the charger, but the level of charge keeps going down.  Not very useful.

For the first time, researchers at Lawrence Livermore Labs have created a fusion reaction that gives them more energy than they put into it.  This is a huge milestone in fusion research!  We’re on our way to having a Mr. Fusion on every time machine!

Read the full article.

An uncontrolled fusion reaction.  "Tsar Bomba" was the largest hydrogen bomb ever exploded.

An uncontrolled fusion reaction. “Tsar Bomba” was the largest hydrogen bomb ever exploded.

 

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