Controlled Fusion Temperatures
Name: Krishna B.
The core temperature in the sun is 12 million Kelvin
which is enough for a successful fusion reaction to orrour. Yet on earth
to creat a fusion reaction we have to get to temperatures of 100 million
Why can we not creat a controlled thermo fusion reaction at 12 million Kelvin?
We cannot create the density that exists at the center of a star and also
12 million Kelvins. For efficient fusion, you need to get the product of the
density and the pressure up very high for a short time. So far, we are better
at temperature than at density.
Yes, a controlled, self-sustaining fusion reaction occurs in the sun.
However, it is extremely slow. Think about it - the sun has been going at it
for billions of years. If we tried to run a fusion reaction here on earth
with such a low rate of conversion we would not get enough energy out of it
to be worthwhile. Per its mass, the energy output of the sun actually is not
very high. The human body beats it by a lot.
So we try to initiate fusion reactions here on earth at much higher
temperatures so that the reaction may proceed at a useful rate.
Assuming your temperatures are correct. I do not happen to know those
numbers off the top of my head -- the big difference is that the pressure at
the core of the sun is much greater than what can be obtained in a
terrestrial lab, so it is reasonable that a higher temperature would be
required. I suspect that there are astrophysical data available to quantify
this but I do not have it at hand.
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Update: June 2012