Controlling nuclear fusion is one step closer to reality thanks to a new experiment during which the researchers proved that estimating the safety and reliability of the component of a fusion energy device can be achieved with two types of imaging. Scientists from the Swansea University, Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, ITER in France, and the Max-Planck Institute of Plasma Physics in Germany combined X-ray and neutron imaging to assess how stable are the parts of a nuclear fusion device.
Nuclear fusion energy is what fuels our Sun and all the other stars in the Universe. If humanity can eventually harness nuclear fusion, that would mean that we would never have to worry about the Earth’s energy needs. Both methods, according to the scientists, might be of great significance for the development of the components of nuclear fusion energy.
The biggest challenge in harnessing fusion energy is keeping the components stable at extremely high pressures and temperatures that are higher than those at the core of the Sun by ten times.
Nuclear Fusion Energy Is One Step Closer Thanks To A New Experiment
The best example of a nuclear fusion energy generator is our host star, the Sun, which boast extreme pressures and temperatures at its core level that make the atoms travel so fast that they fuse, producing incredible amounts of energy.
The new study focused on one main component, the monoblock, which is carrying the coolant. The researchers used ISIS Neutron and Muon Source’s neutron imaging instrument to image a new tungsten monoblock.
“Each technique had its own benefits and drawbacks. The advantage of neutron imaging over x-ray imaging is that neutrons are significantly more penetrating through tungsten. Thus, it is feasible to image samples containing larger volumes of tungsten. Neutron tomography also allows us to investigate the full monoblock non-destructively, removing the need to produce “region of interest” samples,” explained Dr. Triestino Minniti of the Science and Technology Facilities Council.
“This work is a proof of concept that both these tomography methods can produce valuable data. In future these complementary techniques can be used either for the research and development cycle of fusion component design or in quality assurance of manufacturing,” added Dr. Llion Evans from the Swansea University.
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