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Latest Alcator C-Mod Stories

Rapid Plasma Rotation May Be Key To Softening The Blow Of Powerful Plasma Disruptions
2013-11-13 11:25:56

American Physical Society In the quest for fusion energy on earth, researchers use magnetic fields to insulate hot plasma from the walls of the chamber to maintain the reaction and prevent damage to interior surfaces. In the tokamak, a leading contender to achieve a sustained fusion burn, electrical currents flowing in the plasma inside the doughnut-shaped vacuum chamber can become unstable if the plasma current or pressure gets too high or the control system breaks, leading to a sudden...

2011-11-11 16:46:19

News from the 53rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics Research on the Alcator C-Mod experiment at MIT has made an unexpected connection between two seemingly unrelated but important phenomena observed in tokamak plasmas: spontaneous plasma rotation and the global energy confinement of the plasma. Self-generated flows, the spontaneous plasma rotation which arises even when there is no external momentum input, can have a strong beneficial effect on plasma transport and...

2011-11-11 16:42:28

News from the 53rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics A key challenge in producing fusion energy is confining the plasma long enough for the ionized hydrogen to fuse and produce net power. Suppressing plasma turbulence is one approach to this, but the resulting increase in energy confinement is usually accompanied by undesirable increases in particle and impurity confinement, which can lead to plasma contamination and ash accumulation–and reduced power. At MIT's...

2011-11-11 01:51:31

News from the 53rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics A fusion reactor operates best when the hot plasma inside it consists only of fusion fuel (hydrogen's heavy isotopes, deuterium and tritium), much as a car runs best with a clean engine. But fusion fuel reactions at the heart of magnetic fusion reactors also create leftovers–helium "ash." The buildup of this helium ash and other impurities can cool the hot plasma and reduce fusion power. Research at the MIT...

2008-12-03 16:10:00

Research carried out at MIT's Alcator C-Mod fusion reactor may have brought the promise of fusion as a future power source a bit closer to reality, though scientists caution that a practical fusion powerplant is still decades away.Fusion, the reaction that produces the sun's energy, is thought to have enormous potential for future power generation because fusion plant operation produces no emissions, fuel sources are potentially abundant, and it produces relatively little (and short-lived)...

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2007-02-13 21:05:00

For about six months of the year, bursts of a hot, electrically charged gas, or plasma, swirl around a donut-shaped tube in a special MIT reactor, helping scientists learn more about a potential future energy source: nuclear fusion. During downtimes when the reactor is offline, as it is right now, engineers make upgrades that will help them achieve their goal of making fusion a viable energy source--a long-standing mission that will likely continue for decades. MIT's reactor, known as...

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2004-12-08 08:34:22

Half-ton levitating ring is key to work CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- MIT and Columbia University students and researchers have begun operation of a novel experiment that confines high-temperature ionized gas, called plasma, using the strong magnetic fields from a half-ton superconducting ring inside a huge vessel reminiscent of a spaceship. The experiment, the first of its kind, will test whether nature's way of confining high-temperature gas might lead to a new source of energy for the world. First...