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     "The whistle of the lightning" save fusion reactors from destruction
    on Tuesday 22 May 2018
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    The phenomenon, usually associated with lightning discharges, will help to eliminate one of the obstacles humanity to master the clean and nearly free energy.

    Physicists have found in fusion reactors of the tokamak type, the so-called whistle waves (whistlers). Scientists hope to use this phenomenon, to prevent damage to the walls of the reactor with fast electrons. This will help to eliminate one of the obstacles humanity to master the clean and nearly free energy.

    The achievement is described in a scientific paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters by a group headed by Donald Spong (Spong Donald) from the National laboratory of oak ridge in the United States.

    Explain that the waves of whistling is radio waves having a characteristic mechanism of appearance, the details of which we are not going to go. In natural conditions they are formed when lightning discharges. In this case, the waves whistle at a frequency similar to high-pitched sound that is able to capture the human ear (a few kilohertz). This is different from the artificial radiation of radio stations, whose frequency is much higher (for example, in the so-called FM band – about a hundred megahertz). If you convert a radio signal into sound using a suitable receiver, from the speakers you will hear a whistle. Hence the name.

    Theorists have long come to the conclusion that the tokamak plasma waves appear of the whistle, and calculated their characteristics. However, until now they were not able to detect experimentally.

    The source of these waves are so-called runaway electrons (runaway electrons). In a hot plasma fusion reactor surrounded by a powerful magnetic field, they acquire huge by the standards of particle energy in megaelectronvolts. This fact is a headache for engineers, as dispersed particles escape from the magnetic trap and crash into the wall of the reactor, damaging them.

    The frequency of the signal, discovered by a group of Spong, was much higher than that of sound: 100-200 megahertz. However, it is predicted by theorists, because the conditions in a fusion reactor and lightning discharges vary considerably.


    The researchers carefully tested the hypothesis, that is the wave of the whistle. The signal reacted to the change of magnetic field intensity and plasma density exactly as expected for radiation of a given type. Its intensity was clearly related to the number of runaway electrons (it can be measured at hard x-rays, which generate these particles penetrate the walls of the reactor). Other characteristics also coincided with the predictions of the theorists.

    Successful confirmation of the theory with experiment it is always important in and of itself. But at the opening there are practical consequences. As explained by the publication Live Science, waves of whistle you can use for taming runaway electrons.

    Indeed, left to themselves, particles are accelerated and energy transfer of the emitted waves. But this process can be reversed. If you produce radiation with the proper characteristics and direct it to the plasma, it will slow down the electrons and prevent them to escape.

    In this way it is possible to prevent damage to the reactor walls and to eliminate another problem on the way to commercial fusion reactor. It's kind of the Holy Grail, beckoning humanity for over half a century. Still, as fuel, you can use the hydrogen isotope deuterium, extracted from seawater. But how much energy will result, bright in every sense of the representation gives the hydrogen bomb. In addition, such a reactor will not create any radioactive wastes that are a headache of modern energy.

    We will add that many of the problems of mankind will be solved by themselves, if he had unlimited access to cheap energy. For example, many regions suffer from a shortage of fresh water. Despite the fact that in the most scorching heat of the desert is sufficient to drill a well to reach groundwater (the amount can be quite substantial). The problem is that they are often salty.

    Question: how salt water to make fresh? The simplest method is known from the lessons of natural history: to evaporate salty water and condense the steam. Alas, given the price we burn the fuel, drink it after that only millionaires. Humanity is grappling with the development of less costly technologies of desalination, however, while these developments are far from perfect. But if the energy will become almost free, and Bracer too. And then, at the site of modern desert can turn green gardens.

    Recall that "Conduct.Science" (nauka.vesti.ru) have repeatedly talked about the developments in the field of thermonuclear fusion. For example, we talked about how in the lab first received the "star" of fusion reactions and about new promising concepts of reactor for future "artificial sun".

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