THE INTERNET PLASMA PHYSICS EDUCATION EXPERIENCE

The Forces of Fusion!

It works for the stars, it should be able to work for us. Fusion will provide us with a virtually inexhaustible supply of clean, accessible energy. But first, we must begin to understand some of the forces that must be overcome for two ions to fuse together and release energy.

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First, we will study the relationship between temperature and the motion of atoms in a gas. What happens to atomic movement when a gas gets hotter?
For two ions like deuterium and tritium to fuse, they must have a large kinetic energy. Run the following "experiment" and determine the relationship between kinetic energy, mass and velocity.
Before fusion can occur, the deuterium nucleus and the tritium nucleus must be brought close together. But since they are both positively charged, they will naturally repel each other. This repulsion is due to what is called the "Coulomb Force". However, if they have enough kinetic energy they will be able to overcome the repulsion from the Coulomb force and get close enough to fuse together
Run the following experiment and determine how the Coulomb force affects the motion of two charged masses.
Now you are ready to understand how Higher Temperatures lead to Fusion

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<IMG ALIGN=left src="dtfuse.gif" width="290" height="221">

 

Shockwave: a deuterium and tritium fusion process. 

Right Click and choose Restart to view again.

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