Magnetic Confinement Fusion
Fusion reactions combine light atomic nuclei such as hydrogen to form heavier ones such as helium. In order to overcome the electrostatic repulsion between them, the nuclei must have a temperature of several tens of millions of degrees, under which conditions they no longer form neutral atoms but exist in the plasma state. In addition, sufficient density and energy confinement are required, as specified by the Lawson criterion. Magnetic confinement fusion attempts to create the conditions needed for fusion energy production by using the electrical conductivity of the plasma to contain it with magnetic fields. The basic concept can be thought of in a fluid picture as a balance between magnetic pressure and plasma pressure, or in terms of individual particles spiraling along magnetic field lines. The pressure achievable is usually on the order of one bar with a confinement time up to a few seconds. In contrast, inertial confinement has a much higher pressure but a much lower confinement time. Most magnetic confinement schemes also have the advantage of being more or less steady state, as opposed to the inherently pulsed operation of inertial confinement. The simplest magnetic configuration is a solenoid, a long cylinder wound with magnetic coils producing a field with the lines of force running parallel to the axis of the cylinder. Such a field would hinder ions and electrons from being lost radially, but not from being lost from the ends of the solenoid. There are two approaches to solving this problem. One is to try to stop up the ends with a magnetic mirror, the other is to eliminate the ends altogether by bending the field lines around to close on themselves. A simple toroidal field, however, provides poor confinement because the radial gradient of the field strength results in a drift in the direction of the axis.
Roy Webb and Gregory Ladner have long appreciated the exciting technology and significance of plasma fusion as a carbon free, power source that has a potential to economically supply an limitless energy source. This directory is their first investment into exploiting this new and exciting technology for the advantage of mankind.. The two partners have long understood the importance to the environment that nuclear fusion brings and by investing into this directory, have demonstrated their committment toward a carbon free, radiation free world.
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