Koreans have turned on an artificial Sun that is hotter than the real one. It reached a temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius

  • The artificial sun created in South Korea has outdone itself again
  • It radiated heat worth 100 million degrees Celsius longer than ever before

South Korean scientists have achieved a significant success when they managed to maintain plasma at a temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius for 48 seconds in a fusion reactor, reports Interesting Engineering.

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Artificial Sun doesn’t have to be just a dream

The Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) reactor has passed another milestone in its pursuit of the “stellar temperatures” needed to produce fusion power. During a recent test, it kept the plasma hot at 100 million degrees for 48 seconds, beating its own previous record of 100 million degrees for 30 seconds. Let us recall that the temperature in the core of the Sun is “only” about 15 million degrees Celsius. In high confinement mode (H-mode), the Korean tokamak lasted more than 100 seconds, also longer than ever before.

The goal of the KSTAR project is to achieve an operating time of up to 300 seconds by 2026, which should be sufficient to achieve the 24-hour operation required for power generation. The Koreans hope their man-made energy source could one day potentially end the world’s dependence on fossil fuels and help reverse global warming. Experts discovered decades ago that nuclear fusion is the source of energy for the Sun and other stars, and teams around the world have been trying to replicate the process on Earth for years.

Source: Solen Feyissa / Unsplash

Tokamak is the way to clean fusion energy

Fusion reactors work by boiling hydrogen into plasma, a state so hot that not even atoms can exist in it, and breaking apart protons to form helium nuclei. Fusion releases four times more energy per mass of fuel than nuclear fission—the splitting of heavy atoms like uranium—and four million times more energy than burning fossil fuels.

According to Korea’s National Science and Technology Research Council (NST), the key is to develop technology that can maintain the high-temperature, high-density plasma in which fusion reactions take place most efficiently for the longest possible time. During the last successful test of the KSTAR tokamak, tungsten divertors, important components located at the bottom of the vacuum vessel in the magnetic fusion device, were used.

“Compared to previous carbon-based divertors, tungsten divertors showed only a 25% increase in surface temperature under similar heat loads. This provides significant benefits for long-pulse operations with high heating,” the NST team explained.

The successful test of tungsten divertors is key to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project. ITER is a $21.5 billion international fusion megaproject being developed in France by dozens of countries including Korea, China, the US, the EU and Russia.

Preview photo source: Korea Institute of Fusion Energy, source: Interesting Engineering

The article is in Czech

Tags: Koreans turned artificial Sun hotter real reached temperature million degrees Celsius


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