In our classroom while were studying the process that the sun uses to create its own energy I started to think about the possibility of us humans harnessing the same power the sun uses to keep us warm, this is by means of fusion. The definition of fusion from our chemistry textbook is “Combining two light nuclei to form a heavier nucleus.”(1) My first goal in this research paper is to see first see what the requirements are to be able to facilitate nuclear fusion. My second is to see the availability of these requirements, and current restraints. My third goal is to explain how nuclear fusion reactors work. My final goal is to find any groups who are working on utilizing this potentially massive power source.
What do we need to be able to harness the potential monumental energy of a nuclear fusion reaction? With help from the University of California Observatories (2) I found out there are three crucial elements for nuclear fusion to occur. We first need hydrogen atoms. Why do we need hydrogen atoms? Since Hydrogen is the lightest element in existence it is preferred to use it since it will be easier to strip its electron from it, which is needed for it to be able to bond. We also need high temperatures. We need a temperature sustained at 1.5 x10^7 Kelvin to be able to sustain the process. Third, and last of all we need extreme pressure. According to the concept of Hydrostatic Equilibrium the downward force of gravity must be balanced by the upward thermal pressure of the gas. This is how the sun sustains its size, if there was too much upward thermal pressure a star would grow bigger. Likewise if the gravity is greater than the thermal pressure then the star would collapse.
Now we will look at ou...
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...Observatories, 25 Jan. 2012. Web. 06 May 2014.
3. Hogan, Michael C. "Hydrogen." Hydrogen. The Encyclopedia of Earth, 6 Aug. 2010. Web. 06 May 2014.
4. Bryner, Jeanna. "Atom Smasher Sets Guinness Record for Hottest Man-Made Temperature." LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 26 June 2012. Web. 06 May 2014.
5. Nieckchen, Petra. "Fusion Conditions." EFDA. European Fusion Development Agreement, 21 Oct. 2011. Web. 06 May 2014.
6. Freudenrich, Ph.D. Craig. "How Nuclear Fusion Reactors Work." HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks.com, 11 Aug. 2005. Web. 06 May 2014.
7. Osamu Motojima: Harnessing the 93-million-mile dream. (2013). Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 69(2), 1-8. doi:10.1177/0096340213477998
8. Sieminski, Adam. "U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis." International Energy Outlook 2013. N.p., 25 July 2013. Web. 06 May 2014
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