First German Nuclear Fusion Experiment is Successful

by Dion Boyd

An interesting article written by Nathaniel Scharping in Discover Magazine on February 3, 2016 examines the completion of an early phase of German scientists’ nuclear fusion experiment. The purpose of the experiment is to test processes of a reaction that will one-day produce nuclear fusion for use as energy. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Particle Physics in Greifswald, Germany conducted the experiment using a machine called the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator, a donut-shaped device that uses magnetic fields to suspend hydrogen gas while zapping it with powerful microwaves. During the reaction, researchers heated up a hydrogen sample to 180 million degrees Fahrenheit and succeeded in creating a sweltering hot plasma that lasted for a quarter of a second. The Wendelstein stellarator experiment has been developing for over twenty years now, costing nearly €1.06bn with Germany being the primary funder and the US, Poland, and the European Union following closely behind. Although the W7-X isn’t designed to be a major energy producer itself, the experiments it runs will show that plasma can be contained for a period of time when heated to such extremes. []     Continue reading