Originally Posted by MrTolkinghorn
ITER is about the stupidest form of fusion possible. Even if it is possible, why would we want such a massively expensive centralized power source? We need distributed small fusion devices. LENR is the future.
Dude, do you even know what fusion is?Thermo
nuclear fusion, the name says it... in order to make fusion you need heat. Lot of heat.
Fusion happens in stars but on heart we don't have a gravitational field to retain highly energetic particles (millions of kelvin degrees) to make long-lasting fusion reaction. To confine the particles and avoid the plasma dissipation, we use a magnetic field. The neutrons can escape the field which result in possible energy conversion to create electricity.
ITER was made to see if it's possible to ACTUALLY use THERMOnuclear fusion as an energy source. The idea is to invest X amount of energy to create a plasma and generate the first fusion reactions is to see if the reaction will continue by itself until all the matter is depleted. The actual energy input is greater than the energy output because the reactors are very small. If we make them bigger, we will lose more energy to confine with a magnetic field all the matter but at the same time we can confine much more matter which result in more fusion reaction. At the moment we are not able to keep the reaction going long enough to get more energy in return because there is not enough matter inside the tore (Tokamak).
Why is it so hard to generate fusion? Imagine you have two very powerful magnets, you need a lot of strength to put together the same pole which is exactly what two atoms are but if you put them close together something different happens with the atoms, they actually fusion because at a very very close range, the neutrons and protons are very attracted by themselves even if they have the same electromagnetic charge (+ for protons). This is why protons can be very close together and form a nucleus. The difficulty of fusion is simply to bring together two atoms close enough so they both attract themselves. If you heat the matter, it moves, vibrate and rotate faster as you heat it. If an atoms collide with another, it might fuse. If you cool the matter, every atoms get closer until they eventually fuse.
After a fusion, some of the matter's mass is emitted and converted as energy, the energy output of the reaction is greater, like the fission.
But unlike the fission, we need to heat the matter, confine it with electromagnet cooled by liquid helium and aliment insanely huge electromagnet to generate very powerful magnetic field.
Why do we have to cool the electromagnets with liquid helium at 4 Kelvins? Because at that temperature, the matter became supra-conductive which result in no loss in current flow. This is the only option to create the most powerful magnet field possible.
What you were talking about is cold fusion which we haven't been able to do yet, it's not thermonuclear fusion which is done at ITER.
Originally Posted by GingerJohn
Far from the stupidest, but I'll forgive the hyperbole.
The goal is more to find out if
it is possible on such a scale. Even if not it will advance several fields of science such as materials research.
Centralized power has traditionally had several advantages - transport of fuel is cheaper, maintenance is easier and per unit power it is cheaper and more efficient to build one big unit than many smaller ones. That may change in the far distant future, but not any time soon.
Incidentally, conventional power plants are not "massively centralized" - there are hundreds of power plants scattered all over the country which means that there is some resilience to localized problems.
Additionally as far as I know LENR has not been proved to work yet on any scale. Please correct me if I am wrong (with links preferably).
ITER need to be big to prove it's possible to use thermonuclear fusion as a viable source of energy. I read the entire ITER website they explain everything you need to know about thermonuclear fusion:
Thermonuclear fusion has been used to make the most powerful bomb in existence. Thermonuclear bombs (or hydrogen bombs) are thousands time more powerful than regular atomic bomb.
The only downside is that you need a traditional atomic bomb to induce the fusion reaction inside the hydrogen bomb.
I know there was also some military project concerning laser induced thermonuclear bombs but it's unlikely they were able to do that outside of laboratory knowing the amount of lasers required.Edited by Just a nickname - 8/9/13 at 2:27pm