Have you ever thought what happens when you witness a nuclear fusion reaction? No, the Earth doesn’t crack and fall apart! Here is exactly what happens!
Before the turn of the twentieth century, nuclear scientists and researchers had come to know about the infinite energy potential lying inside the nucleus. Many of the brilliant ones including Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard dreamed of harnessing the massive energy from the atom and spent their whole lives in total dedication to their work. It was unfortunate that the scenario at that time made it possible for the bomb to be developed before the fission reactor. Nevertheless, it was still developed in parallel and soon after the war, the scientists’ dream of harnessing the nuclear energy was realized. Fission-based reactors began to get installed everywhere around the world to provide cheap electricity.
But, fission hardly generates a small percentage of a percentage of the total energy present in the nucleus as there is no conversion of mass into energy. What gets released is simply a difference in bond energies of the parent atom and the subsequent smaller atoms formed. The fusion reaction, on the other hand, is an opposite process to that of a fission reactor and in it, two isotopes are forced to fuse together to form a larger atom, and excess bit of mass is released as energy. So, this opposite process of fission generates much more energy with less radiation possibility and nuclear waste. That is why a Hydrogen bomb is much more devastating than an ordinary nuclear bomb, and a few of it are enough to level an entire country. Once again the weapons development was carried out faster, and we have a fusion bomb but no fusion reactor. Such is the level of energy released and persistent plasma complications that we have so far been unable to harness that energy for creating cheap energy. None of the fusion reactors currently under development simultaneously sustain the reaction and generate more energy than it consumes.
Some of them are developed for experimental and research purposes like this one in Massachusetts Institue of Technology (MIT) Center for Plasma Science and Fusion Studies (PSFS). The reactor itself is a big lorry-sized machine called Alcater C-model. Different techniques have been made for such a reactor. It is a Tokamak type of reactor that controls the flow of the fused plasma so that it doesn’t liquidate the very walls of the reactor into oblivion and destroy the area around it as well. The chamber is a vacuum and only a special gas, probably a mixture of Deuterium and Tritium Hydrogen isotopes is allowed inside. The fusing matter can be seen in a window, and it appears like a high-speed flash in action and will enthrall the mind. But even more interestingly, the noise of atoms fusing together to form the plasma is a high-pitched sound that leaves us flabbergasted to say the least.
See the video here below of the eerie sound. But first, dial your volume down a bit!