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Philip S
27-03-2006, 22:17
Is China about to build a 40K 'plasma reactor'?

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200603/27/eng20060327_253827.html

If so, it's turning up a little earlier than I expected, but it's all cool!

Philip

damz451
27-03-2006, 22:30
plasma has been around for some time now.... such as plasma torches, after all it is just super heated gas.

The artificial sun that is mentioned in that article is just a fusion reacter (nukes use fission) and they are also building one in france. It will essentially create insane ammounts of energy with no hazardous biproducts.

There are also Ion engines for future space vessals that will create faster travel, hover trains (they actually hover not the crappy kind like hovercrafts) but none of these are highly publised so not well known. hell there even a test force field for a brittish tank that will vaporise small arms fire within a certain distance yet never shown on tv or in magazines

Cheatah
27-03-2006, 22:33
Plasma reactors are currently in a state of "research". They can't be industrially used, as the power needed to keep the reaction going is more than the output of the reactor. If this Chinese one, or the French one would be able to create more power than needed to keep it going, that would be GREAT news as the waste and "danger" problems of fission reactors would be solved...

C. Langana
27-03-2006, 22:34
hell there even a test force field for a brittish tank that will vaporise small arms fire within a certain distance yet never shown on tv or in magazines
Details? That could get me a point ahead in the 'who has the biggest and bestest pe... uh tank' competitions. It would also assuage a bit of skepticism on my part.

damz451
27-03-2006, 22:45
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fnews%2F2002%2F08%2F19%2Fnmod19.x ml

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/08/19/boffins_invent_grenade_vaporising_electric/

hope that helps, but of course we all know that america and europe will buy or steal the concepts for them :(

the plasma/fusion reacter in france isnt going to be connected to the national grid so i'd guess it is for testing to find easier and cheaper ways to run it.

XxboxX
27-03-2006, 23:45
china expects to get into the warp with that little thing?

pah.

Scorpio
28-03-2006, 00:13
"Technicians are intalling the full superconducting experimental Tokamak FUSION device "

fusion=nuke not plasma:p

-Scorpio

Kage2020
28-03-2006, 00:42
JET, anyone?

Kage

Dvalin
28-03-2006, 00:51
Scorpio; fusion and plasma are related. ;) A fusion reaction involves a reaction which occurs in a plasma, which must be contained at certain temperatures and pressures to sustain the reaction. A fusion reactor and a plasma reactor, then, are really the same thing -- hence why a plasma weapon and a fusion weapon really shouldn't be that different, save through how they handle the reaction/reaction mass. ;)

Sekhmet
28-03-2006, 01:47
Scorpio; fusion and plasma are related. ;) A fusion reaction involves a reaction which occurs in a plasma, which must be contained at certain temperatures and pressures to sustain the reaction. A fusion reactor and a plasma reactor, then, are really the same thing -- hence why a plasma weapon and a fusion weapon really shouldn't be that different, save through how they handle the reaction/reaction mass. ;)

Kind of... but not really. Plasma is a state of matter. Like liquids, solids and gas. The plasma form of a material is the hottest form it can take. That doesn't mean a plasma is automatically hotter than a different gas. Normal, every day fire is plasma, technically. Plasma torches are .. plasma.. too.

Where does fusion come into this? Fusion is a nuclear reaction that generates a LOT of heat. Enough heat can turn something into plasma.

Why does this mean fusion != plasma? Because fission reactions also generate a lot of heat and can also create plasma. Even more, chemical reactions can sometimes produce plasma too.

By the way, nuclear weapons use both fission and fusion. Smaller weapons use fission, larger ones use a fission reaction to start up a fusion one, yielding in mutli-megaton warheads.

The tokamak was a russian invention originally, meant to create and store plasma using magnetic fields arranged in a taurus shape. Numerous governments are researching the tokamak and hoping to reach break even, in which the amount of energy needed to maintain the reaction equals the amount of energy produced. After that it's all down hill. :D China's reactor is being built for research, so they can join in with America, France, Britain, Russia and probably a handful of other countries in trying to make a viable fusion reactor.


Ion propulsion... that's not a secret by far. It's actually being used by NASA's last few long range exploration vehicles. It basically expells ions out the back of the vessel. These add a very tiny amount of acceleration compared to a rocket. The difference is that you can run an ion engine indefinately, while rockets will quickly run out of fuel, so therefore in the long run an ion engine will eventually produce higher speeds. But it's definately not the magical key to space travel.

Hover trains... use electro magnets to hover. lol. It's to provide a lower friction surface to run a train along, thus gaining higher speeds. It also eliminates the need of an engine on the train itself. IIRC they have them in Germany and Japan, I think they're called mag lifts. But this isn't in any way more "legitimate" than a hovercraft's huge fans. A hovercraft can go anywhere it wants, it's basically a low flying aircraft. A hover train can only go where there is a special track made for it. It can't even use old train tracks.

Buddha777
28-03-2006, 04:22
Humm, I highly doubt that fusion is really on the horizon. The stuff that powers stars is just too unwieldy at our current stage of technology. The reasons being is that forces necessary to create enough heat for the fusion process to occur (IE the combining of light nuclei into heavier ones) is so great (IE in the millions of degrees) that the energy spent to create even a millisecond of fusion far outweighs any energy created. This is why the idea of cold fusion was popular in the early 90's but that idea has since been proven to be false or at least impractical.

Sekhmet
28-03-2006, 05:21
Humm, I highly doubt that fusion is really on the horizon. The stuff that powers stars is just too unwieldy at our current stage of technology. The reasons being is that forces necessary to create enough heat for the fusion process to occur (IE the combining of light nuclei into heavier ones) is so great (IE in the millions of degrees) that the energy spent to create even a millisecond of fusion far outweighs any energy created. This is why the idea of cold fusion was popular in the early 90's but that idea has since been proven to be false or at least impractical.

Not... really.

Fusion technology has been improving in leaps and bounds over the last few decades. They can easilly run a tokamak for long periods of time, it just takes energy. I seem to remember them estimating in another 10-15 years...

Sojourner
28-03-2006, 06:36
Seriously people, do your research before you comment on these things.

The Chinese are behind. We've had this sort of thing for years. Having said that, there is masses of research to be done. JET has been doing a 'burn' of a few milliseconds every few minutes for about ten years, purely to research the properties of plasmas - and there's still a lot to be done. Plasma is an incredibly complicated medium to work with, because every one of its microscopic properties is significant to its macroscopic behavior.

The term 'artificial sun' is a bit of a wooly one. The insides of those aren't much like stars. Tokamaks are very low pressure and high temperature - they actually use something like a gram of fuel in a space the size of a living room. Creating and holding the pressure inside a star is pretty much impossible on earth.

Philip S
28-03-2006, 08:04
“the world's first all-superconducting Tokamak”

Is it a world's first or not?

Quick google of term
http://english.sina.com/technology/p/1/2006/0324/70572.html
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1381046.cms

I am curious, because I wrote a pre-GAoT timeline, and I put China as a super power in 50years (now 44) and plasma reactors in the next 100 (made by (shock horror) China!).

I just didn't expect the possibility of it turning up early, and like as scientific discoveries once it's known; its known. I have no preconception, and neither believe it will happen or wont happen, I'm just curious as to what it going on and whether being ' all-superconducting' is going to make the difference.

Philip

Sojourner
28-03-2006, 08:08
Superconducting would be the magnetic coils. That's fairly impressive, but not exactly revolutionary. The greatest significance is that superconducting magnets are a great deal more efficient than ordinary magnets used in other experiments and so the 'break-even' point is brought slightly further within reach.

Nazguire
28-03-2006, 08:09
“the world's first all-superconducting Tokamak”

Is it a world's first or not?

Quick google of term
http://english.sina.com/technology/p/1/2006/0324/70572.html
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1381046.cms

I am curious, because I wrote a pre-GAoT timeline, and I put China as a super power in 50years (now 44) and plasma reactors in the next 100 (made by (shock horror) China!).

I just didn't expect the possibility of it turning up early, and like as scientific discoveries once it's known; its known. I have no preconception, and neither believe it will happen or wont happen, I'm just curious as to what it going on and whether being ' all-superconducting' is going to make the difference.

Philip

China will become a super power in the next 50 years, easily. The sheer amount of cheap professionals at their disposal is incredible, and their natural resources blitz a lot of countries. Military influence is also a dominant factor.

Sekhmet
28-03-2006, 08:23
China = orks. Just as the orks will eventually rule, so will the Chinese!

Cheatah
28-03-2006, 08:50
You can even generate plasma in your microwave:

- put some metal object in the microwave (why not try one of those old terminators? :evilgrin: )
- turn on the microwave

See that orb of light? That's plasma...

Friendly warning: don't try this at home (or anywhere else actually), your microwave WILL be fried... and you can pray that that is the only thing that is fried...

Sai-Lauren
28-03-2006, 09:08
Kind of... but not really. Plasma is a state of matter. Like liquids, solids and gas. The plasma form of a material is the hottest form it can take. That doesn't mean a plasma is automatically hotter than a different gas. Normal, every day fire is plasma, technically. Plasma torches are .. plasma.. too.

No, a plasma is simply an ionised gas, it doesn't need to be incredibly hot (although it usually helps ;)).
You can get hotter than plasma, although by then you're starting to rip atoms apart and you're into a soup of quarks, mesons and other fun stuff.



The tokamak was a russian invention originally, meant to create and store plasma using magnetic fields arranged in a taurus shape.

Torus - from toroidal (doughnut shaped). If it was Taurus shaped it would either look like something from Astrology, or a mid-large sized Ford car.;)



Numerous governments are researching the tokamak and hoping to reach break even, in which the amount of energy needed to maintain the reaction equals the amount of energy produced. After that it's all down hill. China's reactor is being built for research, so they can join in with America, France, Britain, Russia and probably a handful of other countries in trying to make a viable fusion reactor.

Originally the NET project (Next European Torus) - the EU, US and Japan combined their projects into one - ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor - although changed to International Tokamak Experiment due to people potentially misunderstanding the word Thermonuclear ;)) - based in Cadarache, France but with substantial Japanese involvement.
Russia, China, India and South Korea are all also involved in ITER, although it sounds like China have their own project as well.


JET, anyone?

Thanks Kage.:)

JET (http://www.jet.efda.org/) (Joint European Torus) is an experimental prototype based at Culham in Oxfordshire - went around it on an open day many, many years ago.
Or if that links too highbrow - here'sWikipedia's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_European_Torus)

I believe that most time scales put fusion power plants at somewhere between 20-50 years time (as in, this works, but we still need someone to build the first commercial one) - basically the lifetime of ITER which is to lead to the first commercial prototypes.

Philip S
28-03-2006, 14:07
China will become a super power in the next 50 years, easily. The sheer amount of cheap professionals at their disposal is incredible, and their natural resources blitz a lot of countries. Military influence is also a dominant factor.
Yeah, I think china is a good bet to rise as a super-power (they didn’t fall for pegging the currency like Japan, and continue to be ‘independent’), I also lump India in there too.

Both these cultures are every old and stable, and it was just a matter of time before they started taking on more technology. The west has ‘proved the concept’ and I think they‘ll pick it up and run with it.

Anyway, back to my 40K timeline; India/ China pact before 2100, guessing fusion power turns up before then, then developed into smaller units for my farming systems and technology jumps to become viable (C-Blocks!)

Philip

El_Machinae
28-03-2006, 15:49
ITER is the European project to build a fusion reactor.

If I recall, the reactor will be built over the next 15 years. This is an experimental reactor, and the main point will be to see if it's possible to build a reactor that puts out more energy that it requires. After ~10 years of testing, there will start to be 'real' fusion reactors made (that will take about 10 years to make).

So, in 35 years, fusion might be an actual power source. And you'll be able to tell your grandkids that you remember a time before fusion, when electricity was volitilely expensive.

Here's a sciencefriday.com podcast (http://libsyn.com/media/sciencefriday/scifri-2005070112.mp3) on this topic. Just listen to it (with half an ear) while surfing.

Philip S
28-03-2006, 17:56
Hi El_Machinae, that’s the time frame I was thinking off, then CAS pull this out of the hat.

I was guessing 2050, then 2100 for all the main players to have a working version.

If they do pull it off, I guess it’s time for a rewrite, but on the plus side the power source will no longer be sci-fi (which suits the my designs ;)).

Philip

athamas
28-03-2006, 18:13
jet managed to produce something like 4KW..

ie the reforded produced energy - recorded energy input was greater than 0!

this is good, means that the whole process works,

the use of superconductors is to allow permananat non fixed magnets to sustain the feild.. the problem is they are at ~2-3K... and the plasma is at 40000k.. so the two coming into contact is not good, and the fast nuttrons produced will heat up the super conductors.. makeing them less efficient and causing resistance, further theating them..

ITER will have masive charge capapbility, alloving it to be racked up to truely masive voltages then discharged.. allowing for normal electromagnets to work..

one of the main aims of ITER is also to see how to get the energy out of the reaction.. they know that with a sustained fussionable prosess energy will be produced.. its just a case of getting hold of said energy..

oh, and fusion is not nuclear.. Fission is nuke!

Sekhmet
28-03-2006, 20:01
No, a plasma is simply an ionised gas, it doesn't need to be incredibly hot (although it usually helps ;)).

"In physics and chemistry, a plasma is typically an ionized gas, and is usually considered to be a distinct phase of matter."
Phase of matter. Like solids, liquids and gasses. :p



You can get hotter than plasma, although by then you're starting to rip atoms apart and you're into a soup of quarks, mesons and other fun stuff.

Actually you can get gasses to be hotter than plasma if you created the plasma not through pure heat, but by electric fields. But if you heated something until it became a plasma, then no you cannot make it change state again into another phase that doesn't exist... because at that point you'd be changing the substance itself by either breaking or fusing it at the molecular level or if it's an element, possibly at the nuclear level.



Torus - from toroidal (doughnut shaped). If it was Taurus shaped it would either look like something from Astrology, or a mid-large sized Ford car.;)

My bad, I suck at spelling. But you knew what I meant, and if I was giving a lecture no one would have been able to tell the difference!

Scorpio
28-03-2006, 20:47
Scorpio; fusion and plasma are related. ;) A fusion reaction involves a reaction which occurs in a plasma, which must be contained at certain temperatures and pressures to sustain the reaction. A fusion reactor and a plasma reactor, then, are really the same thing -- hence why a plasma weapon and a fusion weapon really shouldn't be that different, save through how they handle the reaction/reaction mass. ;)

fusion does not = plasma it makes it and that is the only byproduct of fusion reactors, plasma can be quickly and easly gotten rid of.

-Scorpio

Niiru
29-03-2006, 03:25
Well personally, im all for the advancement of tech.

We'll just have to wait and see if things turn out like Warhammer40k, or Star Trek lol.

El_Machinae
29-03-2006, 16:59
We could also take positive steps to increase the speed of research and development. A huge thing would be to spend your money on things that advance technology (even from the consumer side) instead of wasting it in other places. Of course, these things you purchase should improve your life too.

And we can also take steps to make sure the world is more 'star trek' than '40k'. Mainly by whalloping all the aliens BEFORE we need a tyrannical government to survive. :)

Sekhmet
29-03-2006, 18:04
I think we'd become more star trek if we formed alliances with other races. If we took the same xenophobic path as the Imperium does, we'd probably get wiped out way before we get a tyrannical government led by a living god.

Philip S
29-03-2006, 18:45
I think we'd become more star trek if we formed alliances with other races. If we took the same xenophobic path as the Imperium does, we'd probably get wiped out way before we get a tyrannical government led by a living god.
Though off topic - I think this is where the Iron Men come in.

The Iron Men are unlike biological aliens and can survive on truly hostile worlds to obtain resources to continue building the Gold Age of Technology civilization.

I think the Iron Men conquer the stars, they build enclosed artificial habitats on worlds aliens would dream of set foot on, and humans move in later. This is how the our civilization ends up so vast, because we use technology t maximum effect.

Any wars fought with aliens back then would be fought with Iron Men standing in for us as a proxy. The Iron Men win in our name. I also think the Iron Men used hideously advanced technology, even D-guns (small distortion cannon) to deal with any alien they encounter.

As a fun thought, I wonder how many aliens though the Necrons had turned up?

Philip

El_Machinae
29-03-2006, 20:23
I think we'd become more star trek if we formed alliances with other races.

The best way to make an alliance is to be more powerful before you meet. If you're weaker than your neighbour, you *hope* for an alliance. If you're stronger, you can *choose* to have an alliance.

So, since we're living in an age when aging will likely be cured, we can start thinking long-term.

Scorpio
29-03-2006, 22:26
Just one thing(somepeople might not like the analogy) We could end up like the earth of stargate. Having wonderfully advanced allies but having other advanced enemies. That would almost be ideal(unless like the asgard our allies are too busy too help):D

-Scorpio

El_Machinae
29-03-2006, 23:51
Which is why we have to push technology and development as fast as we can - that will increase the likelihood that WE'RE the stronger species.

Scorpio
30-03-2006, 00:51
Which is why we have to push technology and development as fast as we can - that will decrease the likelihood that WE'RE the stronger species.

You mean increase right?

-Scorpio

El_Machinae
30-03-2006, 02:09
Yeah, I'll edit the correction. Either that, or I'm a spy!

vexa
30-03-2006, 17:17
Well ofcourse having profitable fusion reactor would be extremely good for us, no need to worry about where to get electricity.

But I recommend to read the article of www.HowStuffWorks.com about fusion reactors. And this one really got my eye there http://science.howstuffworks.com/fusion-reactor.htm that's an experiment to create fusion using lasers. Basically you would use about 1,8 MJ to use the lasers and then produce from 50 to 100 MJ, and estimated costs per each deuterium-tritium cylinder, that's what they target with the lasers, is about 0.25$.

Sekhmet
30-03-2006, 19:32
The problem is harnessing all that power. It's very easy to gain energy, it's very hard to use even a fraction of it. Internal combustion engines are like 10% efficient, and they still produce a lot of power.

bertcom1
30-03-2006, 20:02
For most things, it is not making it work that is the hard bit.

It is making it continue to work that is the hard bit.

There are many things like railguns, laser weapons, and the fusion reactors mentioned above. They work, but getting them to keep on working is very hard. The existing railguns and big laser weapons only work once, before needing substantially rebuilt.

El_Machinae
30-03-2006, 20:42
The problem is harnessing all that power. It's very easy to gain energy, it's very hard to use even a fraction of it. Internal combustion engines are like 10% efficient, and they still produce a lot of power.

Car engines are above 30% if I recall. But there are other inefficiencies (mainly all the gasoline required to get a litre of gasoline into your tank). So gasoline is not all that efficient.

I suspect with a fusion reactor, they will just heat water and turn turbines again (like with a nuclear reactor).

I wish ITER the best luck. And highschool students should know that there is very likely to be a lot of work for nuclear engineers for a LONG time ahead - that means that knowledgable people will be very useful.

athamas
30-03-2006, 21:07
yeah, he current idea is to use a lithium blanket [so that whan it decays it fors fuel] to absorb the fast neutrons, this gets hot and the heat can then be used to generat steam..


highly inefficient but all we can think of for now!

who ever invents a new transmition syestem for energy will be a multibillionare and nobel prize winner!

El_Machinae
30-03-2006, 21:24
Another reason to do well in school, when you have the chance! I honestly think that a trillionaire would be possible with that discovery.

Scorpio
30-03-2006, 21:34
Did someone say money?:evilgrin:

-Scorpio

El_Machinae
31-03-2006, 22:04
Lots and lots of money.

It's an excellent reason to pay attention during physics and math - if nothing else, when you're a banker and you read a proposal to invest in something like this, you'll be able to see through scams and know when to back a winner.

Investing wisely/ethically = good for everyone (especially you)

squigsnok
31-03-2006, 22:29
I dont know whats more worrying. That we have a real in-depth intellectual discussion about the merits of technology and it relation to the 40k universe, or that I've understood every word. Who knew a physics A-level could actually help in real life?

So there's the lesson kids! Listen to your teachers. They know all!

Scorpio
01-04-2006, 20:58
So there's the lesson kids! Listen to your teachers. They know all!

Not all of them do.....:evilgrin:

-Scorpio

damz451
01-04-2006, 22:16
as soon as we get cheap electricity all we'll need to do is dump religeon then were set to rule the galaxy >_>

Scorpio
01-04-2006, 22:48
as soon as we get cheap electricity all we'll need to do is dump religeon then were set to rule the galaxy >_>

Your very against religion arent you? O well I truly dont care but others on the board might.....:mad:

-Scorpio

El_Machinae
01-04-2006, 23:19
Before we get cheap electricity all we'll need to do is intentionally and rapidly progress then were set to rule the galaxy >_>

Fixed your statement, and I quite agree (http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30078)