In a remarkable scientific breakthrough, detailed in the article “New Magnet Is Powerful Enough to Lift an Aircraft Carrier,” the world of nuclear fusion has taken a substantial step forward. A massive magnet, with the extraordinary capability to lift an aircraft carrier, has emerged as a key player in achieving “net energy” in a nuclear fusion reactor.
Nuclear fusion, the process that powers the Sun and stars, holds the promise of practically limitless energy. It involves colliding two atoms to create a heavier nucleus, releasing massive amounts of energy in the process. However, current fusion reactors expend more energy controlling and stabilizing the burning plasma required for the reaction than they produce.
To overcome this challenge, scientists are striving to develop highly efficient and powerful magnets. These magnets play a pivotal role in achieving “net energy” in fusion reactions. The less energy these magnets consume, the closer we come to unlocking the potential of nuclear fusion.
US-based General Atomics, with its “central solenoid” superconducting magnet, has taken a significant step in this direction. A part of this colossal magnet, weighing a staggering 250,000 pounds, was transported from San Diego to France. Assembled, it will stand nearly 60 feet tall and over 14 feet in diameter, marking a crucial milestone in the quest for nuclear fusion’s practical realization.
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Photo and article with all rights reserved, courtesy of interestingengineering.com.