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Fusion Power, can it ever work?

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Abstract The idea of the power of fusion began towards the beginning of the 20th century and research into it is continuing up until today. On earth it is modelled on the method in which stars obtain their energy, from the fusing of nuclei. As these reactions occur a little mass is lost and this is released as heat. This reaction follows Einstein's most famous formula E = MC2. As the value of mass is multiplied by the speed of light squared, a tiny change in mass results in a massive amount of energy being produced. So far the most effective methods of recreating fusion on earth have been by using large chambers surrounded by electromagnets and by heating the reaction mixture generally hydrogen Introduction We live in a society in which energy, in all its forms, is at a premium. The cost of household electricity does not only hurt your back pocket more every year, but with each kilowatt-hour that is used we are damaging the environment that until now has sustained us. ...read more.


made to deliver power that could be used to generate electricity ( a good excuse, while also providing a source of radioactive matter for bombing far away nations)2. Before it is possible to explain how fusion works is, it is necessary to take a closer look at the atom. The Atom and Matter Before it is possible to explain the mechanism of nuclear fusion, it is necessary to explain the background. The atom as you probably know consists of a nucleus, with a cloud of electrons surrounding it. The nucleus further consists of protons and neutrons. Matter can usually be found in three forms with which people are familiar, these being Solid, Liquid and Gas. However there is a forth form of matter, known to scientists as plasma. Plasma is formed when gases are heated to extremely high temperatures, like those found in the cores of stars. The electrons separate from the protons and neutrons in the gas atoms and the mixture of charged particles move around separately at high speeds forming the plasma. ...read more.


How Fusion is carried out on Earth As you may realise heating hydrogen to temperatures equivalent to those of the core of the sun on earth is a little bit tricky. This is because there are no materials that we have capable of withstanding these temperatures and containing the plasma that would be formed. One way to do this is to surround the hydrogen or lithium hydride with fissionable material and carry out nuclear fission in order to generate heat for the nuclear fusion as is done in Hydrogen bombs. This is however unpractical for the generation of electricity as the power station and the surrounding country would probably no longer exist. So instead physicists have attempted to generate the plasma and use a strong magnetic field to hold it. The plasma itself is heated by a number of powerful lasers, which are able to heat it to near the required temperatures. To date it has however been impossible to sustain this generation of plasma and contain the heat. It has also not been possible to actually generate any energy from the fusion of the hydrogen atoms. ...read more.

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