In 2015, experts at the Max Planck Institute in Greifswald have worked on a new nuclear fusion reactor called the stellarator. A small amount of hydrogen has been injected and heated into the huge machine until it assumed a plasma form which replicated the conditions inside the Sun.
During the course of the study, inquiries have been raised about the functional capability of the equipment named Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X). The main question has been centered on the machine's potential to produce the appropriate magnetic fields.
The German project is actually part of a global effort to unravel the strength of nuclear fusion. This scientific process is about the energy released by the bonding of atoms when subjected to extreme heat.
The occurrence actually happens when hydrogen atoms are exposed to intense temperature and pressure resulting in the linkage of helium particles. During the integration of the deuterium and tritium nuclei, what is formed are a neutron, lots of energy and a helium nucleus.
At this point, the temperature is more than 150 million degrees Celsius. Hot plasma is a by-product of the process.
The purpose of magnetic fields is to prevent the plasma from sticking to the walls. When the surroundings get hit, temperature goes down and the energy is lost.
These magnetic circuits surface when superconductors in the form of coils, encircle the vessel in the presence of an electrical current. The plasma needs to be confined for a considerable stretch in order for fusion to occur.
Although proponents of the concept think that this kind of technology is still far away, the prospects of replacing fossil fuels and nuclear fission reactors are highly likely. To keep the project going, research studies have been drawn to a couple of reactors, namely, the tokamaks and the stellarators.
The main difference between these fusion machines is the way they control or manage plasma. Compared to the 2D magnetic field-generating tokamak, the stellarator is able to induce a 3D magnetic circuit.
Since the main concern has been focused on the production of the right magnetic course, it is essential which type of reactor is able to support the process. The field inside the machine is critical in subjecting the plasma to a temperature that is necessary for nuclear fusion to commence.