The scientists made a big leap towards stable fusion nuclear energy, as they found a way to stabilize plasma in fusion reactors and prevent densities and temperatures from oscillating. Many believe nuclear fusion will provide unlimited and green energy once the scientists can control this type of power source.
The scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory from the Princeton University in New Jersey ran simulations on how to stabilize plasma in fusion reactors and, apparently, they’ve found a way to do it.
Even though plasma is one of the four states of matter, under the normal circumstances on Earth, it cannot exist such as gas, liquid, and solid matter. On the other hand, in stars, plasma is naturally found in large amounts.
On Earth, the scientists can generate this super-hot matter state formed by highly charged particles in fusion reactors. Unfortunately, stabilizing plasma is a challenging process. Commonly, plasma is oscillating in temperatures and density and, for this reason, the nuclear fusion reaction halts.
Scientists discovered how to stabilize plasma in fusion reactors in computer simulations
Following the examples of stars in the Universe, the researchers try to replicate the same processes within fusion reactors, where super-heated hydrogen atoms crash one into the other suspended in plasma. This process results in the production of highly charged electrons and ions that fuse to generate helium. This process yields high amounts of heat and energy that can be harnessed to produce electricity.
In a nuclear fusion reactor, a magnetic field is employed to keep the plasma confined. A so-called magnetic flux pumping system is used to keep the current within the center of the plasma which might prevent it from getting unstable.
According to the latest simulations, magnetic flux pumping can happen in two hybrid scenarios, one in which the plasma is stable, and other where the plasma leaks some energy.
Either way, the simulations showed that magnetic flux pumping is self-regulating, and, even in the case it gets too intense, it can still stabilize the plasma.