When a spacecraft enters a thick atmosphere at a high velocity, it rapidly compresses the gas in front of it, creating a hot, dense plasma. To protect against damage, spacecraft are typically covered by a heat shield material. Scientists for the first time used a tokamak to study what happens to these materials in a hot plasma. The research creates a path to improving heat shield materials for future planetary exploration.
Cooling a 150-million-degree plasma in an orderly and controllable fashion. Researchers at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility are studying a new method that uses boron-filled diamond shells to quickly cool fusion plasmas. Early experimental results and computer modeling indicate this method could avoid problems with traditional cooling approaches.
Feature wraps-up wide-ranging PPPL talks on fusion and plasma science at the 61st American Physical Society-Department of Plasma Physics conference.
Thin-walled diamond shells carry payloads of boron dust; the dust mitigates destructive plasma disruptions in fusion confinement systems. The Science To put the energy-producing power of a star to work, researchers create and contain plasma—the ultra-hot gas that makes up…