Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Space Travel News  

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

100 million-degree fluid essential to fusion
by Brooks Hays
Acton, Australia (UPI) Mar 7, 2016

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Some scientists believe fusion power -- the energy that powers the stars -- is the future of sustainable energy.

Despite periodic breakthroughs, physicists have struggled to replicate the reaction in the lab. New research suggests scientists may have cleared another hurdle en route to synthesizing nuclear fusion.

The key, researchers say, is super hot fluid.

During fusion experiments, researchers have been frustrated by failing million-degree heating beams, destabilizing their fusion attempts before any energy is generated.

A team of scientists at Australian National University believe they solved the problem using fluid dynamics.

"There was a strange wave mode which bounced the heating beams out of the experiment," researcher Zhisong Qu said in a news release. "This new way of looking at burning plasma physics allowed us to understand this previously impenetrable problem."

Qu is a theoretical physicist at the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering and lead author of a new paper on fusion in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Earthbound scientists have been attempting to replicate stellar fusion using a strategy called magnetic confinement fusion, in which hydrogen is coaxed into plasma form and heated to temperatures ten times those found inside the center of the sun.

The problem is these super-heated beams of plasma sometimes behave in unexpected ways.

Qu and his colleagues have developed a model that simplifies how scientists explain and predict the behavior of the super-hot liquid hydrogen. The model makes sense of an unstable wave mode observed during the United States' largest fusion experiment, known as DIII-D.

The key to the model is that it attempts to explain the plasma's behavior by treating it as a liquid, instead of a collection of individual atoms.

"When we looked at the plasma as a fluid we got the same answer, but everything made perfect sense," said Michael Fitzgerald, Qu's research partner and a physicist at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in England. "We could start using our intuition again in explaining what we saw, which is very powerful."

Researchers believe their new model will ultimately offer a range of insights into the nature of plasma behavior and nuclear fusion.

"It will open the door to understanding a whole lot more about fusion plasmas, and contribute to the development of a long term energy solution for the planet," said Matthew Hole, a physics professor at ANU.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Powering The World in the 21st Century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Understanding how turbulence drains heat from fusion reactors
Princeton NJ (SPX) Feb 24, 2016
The life of a subatomic particle can be hectic. The charged nuclei and electrons that zip around the vacuum vessels of doughnut-shaped fusion machines known as tokamaks are always in motion. But while that motion helps produce the fusion reactions that could power a new class of electricity generator, the turbulence it generates can also limit those reactions. Now, physicists at the U.S. D ... read more

SpaceX launches SES-9 satellite to GEO; but booster landing fails

US Space Company in Talks With India to Launch Satellite

At last second, SpaceX delays satellite launch again

Arianespace Soyuz to launch 2 Galileo satellites in May

Great tilt gave Mars a new face

Space simulation crew hits halfway mark til August re-entry

Proton-M carrier rocket assembled ahead of Mars Mission

Monster volcano gave Mars extreme makeover: study

China to use data relay satellite to explore dark side of moon

NASA May Return to Moon, But Only After Cutting Off ISS

Lunar love: When science meets artistry

New Lunar Exhibit Features NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Imagery

Methane Snow on Pluto's Peaks

Versatile Instrument to Scout for Kuiper Belt Objects

The Frozen Canyons of Pluto's North Pole

The Frozen Canyons of Pluto's North Pole

Evidence found for unstable heavy element at solar system formation

Imaging Technique May Help Discover Earth-Like Planets Around Other Stars

Newly discovered planet in the Hyades cluster could shed light on planetary evolution

Imaging technique may help discover Earth-like planets

US Air Force reveals cost of Russian rocket engines' replacement

Russian eyes nuclear engine for fast space travel

Aerojet and ULA partner with USAF to develop RD-180 replacement engine

US Aerospace Company Wins Contract to Replace Russian Rocket Engines

Aim Higher: China Plans to Send Rover to Mars in 2020

China's lunar probe sets record for longest stay

China to Launch Over 100 Long March Rockets Within Five Years

Moving in to Tiangong 2

Dawn's First Year at Ceres: A Mountain Emerges

Don't Panic: asteroid won't hit Earth but will get close

Small Asteroid to Pass Close to Earth March 8

Should we work together in the race to mine the solar system

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement