ibusinesslines.com December 09, 2018

China's artificial Sun reaches fusion temperatures thrice that of the real Sun

16 November 2018, 11:12 | Justin Tyler

An interior view of the magnetic chamber used to create the ‘artificial sun’ in Hefei Anhui province Nov. 12 2018. CNS

An interior view of the magnetic chamber used to create the ‘artificial sun’ in Hefei Anhui province Nov. 12 2018. CNS

What's surprising is that the scientists working there have now claimed to have produced temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius in the simulator - much more than 15 million degrees Celsius temperature of Sun's core.

Researchers from China's Hefei Institutes of Physical Sciences said the "artificial sun" has become the hottest known nuclear fusion experiment on Earth, at 100 million degrees Celsius.

The actual sun, meanwhile, only burns to about 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (14.9 million degrees Celsius), according to Shanghaiist. However, this sun won't be launched up in the skies, instead is a experiment for nuclear fusion.

The researchers conducted the experiment earlier this year at the Institute of Plasma Physics in China's Anhui province.

Speaking to the ABC, associate professor Matthew Hole from the Australian National University said the achievement was an important step for nuclear fusion science.

While current nuclear power plants rely on nuclear fission - a chain reaction where uranium atoms are split to release energy - nuclear fusion effectively does the opposite by forcing atoms to merge.

To harness the energy, the plasma must be suspended inside a reactor.

Powerful magnets lining the inner walls of EAST then contain the plasma to a tiny area to maximise the chance that the ions will fuse together.

The artificial sun was designed and constructed by China back in 2006. "Besides, nuclear fusion does not produce any radioactive waste, so it is extremely environmentally friendly", said the researchers in a recently issued statement. The facility is 11 meters tall, with a diameter of 8 meters, and a weight of 400 tons. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project - a global collaboration of 35 countries, including China, initiated in 1985 - is now developing the world's largest tokamak in France. The project will also provide experimental evidence and scientific support for the country's ongoing China Fusion Engineering Test Reactor project, which is similarly working to develop nuclear fusion.

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