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Nuclear Fusion Reactor  (Source: The Institute of Telecommunications Professionals)
Could lead to an endless supply of clean energy

Researchers from Purdue University have found mechanisms that are vital to interactions between surfaces inside a thermonuclear fusion reactor and hot plasma, which could lead to the development of coatings capable of tolerating radiation damage and ultimately, fusion power plants. 

The inner lining of a fusion reactor often faces horrific conditions leading to radiation damage due to the hot plasma. With the use of nanotechnology, nuclear engineers are looking to "define" small features in the coating as a way to understand and develop a new material that can come in contact with plasma and not be harmed. Finding a material durable enough to withstand such harsh conditions has been difficult, until now. 

Along with researchers at Princeton University in the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Purdue researchers are using the National Spherical Torus Experiment to test materials, which is the country's only spherical tokamak reactor. They will also study materials in a special "plasma-materials interface probe," then transfer these materials to an "in situ surface analysis facility laboratory."

"We will bring the samples in and study them right there, and will be able to do the characterization in real time to see what happens to the surfaces," said Jean Paul Allain, an assistant professor of nuclear engineering at Purdue University. "We're also going to use computational modeling to connect the fundamental physics learned in our experiments and what we observe inside the tokamak."

One of the tested linings is lithiated graphite, which consists of lithium being added to the inner graphite wall, and when it diffuses into the reactor wall. Then deuterium atoms and the lithiated graphite bind together in the fuel inside these tokamaks, which are what the fusion reactors are called. A magnetic field inside the tokamaks encloses a circular-shaped plasma of deuterium, which is an isotope of hydrogen. 

When a fusion reaction occurs, deuterium atoms hit the inner lining of the fusion reactor and can be sent back to the core and recycled back to the plasma, or they're "pumped," which causes them to bind with the lithiated graphite. 

"We now have an understanding of how the lithiated graphite controls the recycling of hydrogen," said Allain. "This is the first time anyone has looked systematically at the chemistry and physics of pumping by the lithiated graphite. We are learning, at the atomic level, exactly how it is pumped and what dictates the binding of deuterium in this lithiated graphite. So we now have improved insight on how to recondition the surfaces of the tokamak."

The use of a fusion power plant could cut exhaust completely because the deuterium fuel is in seawater. Also, it could produce 10 times more energy than a nuclear fission reactor. Plants like these would be an endless supply of clean energy.

This study was led by Chase Taylor, a doctoral student, Bryan Heim, a graduate student, and Allain. Two papers have been written on the topic, and one will be presented at the Fusion Nuclear Science and Technology/Plasma Facing Components meeting in August.



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RE: Unfortunately...
By Quadrillity on 7/28/2010 8:44:54 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Do I think we should still be in Iraq? Somewhat - yes.

Since you have been there, I sure you saw the overwhelming number of people there that thanked you for helping their country and fighting for their freedom. Did you happen to keep count of the number of people that came up to shake your hand or even try to hug you - just curious. The people of that nation need help from the tyrants in power; and we are basically the only country helping out. We are not "policing"; but more like liberating the people that are damn near slaves to their own country. But first and foremost; we are there do ensure that OUR freedoms are kept safe because that entire region is extremely dangerous to the entire world. So hell yeah, we need to be over there busting some ass.

quote:
Tell that to the thousands of families who have lost someone that they're safer - maybe it will dull the pain a bit since they are safer from poor haji's with AK47's and 155 rounds.

wow. Do you realize that we 100% of our armed forces are volunteer? I am VERY glad that those volunteers put their lives on the line; and if those families can't honor the fallen then they need a serious reality check.

Being angry or resentful is NOT going to honor those who died in the line of duty.

quote:
maybe it will dull the pain a bit since they are safer from poor haji's with AK47's and 155 rounds.

ROE is a moot point in this conversation.


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