Korea's Tokamak Artificial Sun Sets Crazy Plasma Record
DAEJEON, SOUTH KOREA ??On November 24, Korea's KSTAR, a superconducting fusion device called a tokamak, set a new world record when it managed to keep plasma sizzling at over 100 million degrees Celsius for a full 20 seconds.
This marks an important step toward reaching the elusive goal of creating cleaner energy via nuclear fusion.
In a fusion process, two lighter atomic nuclei combine to form a heavier nucleus, resulting in a release of energy.
To achieve this, hydrogen isotopes are placed inside a tokamak like KSTAR to create a plasma state where ions and electrons are separated, and the ions are then heated and maintained at extreme temperatures.
A tokamak is a machine that creates three powerful magnetic fields to keep a superheated plasma confined.
The powerful magnetic fields are designed to keep the plasma from touching the machine, as the plasma would vaporize the giant metallic machine if it escaped.
An outer set of magnetic coils also shapes and positions the swirling, superheated plasma.
The aim is to keep the plasma stable for long enough for fusion reactions to occur.
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