A team led by MIT’s Zach Hartwig in the United States succeeded in creating a magnetic field of 20 tesla, or 400,000 times Earth’s magnetic field, by using a new superconducting magnet that passes electricity without overheating.
But more than a record, this achievement is above a genuine hope for eventually controlling nuclear fusion by magnetic binding, which involves fusing hydrogen atoms to generate clean and sustainable energy. Because for this fusion to produce more energy than it consumes, and therefore becomes industrializable, the magnetic field must be much larger than can be maintained by installations of appropriate size. “The generated magnetic field power is an excellent lever for reducing the size of installations, as it greatly improves the thermal insulation and stability of hydrogen fusion”Dennis White, director of the Plasma and Fusion Science Center at MIT, nodded. Thus, the size of the future Spark demonstrator, the construction of which will be completed in 2025 in the United States, should be 40 times smaller than that of its European competitor, Iter. Eighteen superconducting magnets similar to those of Zach Hartwig would equip it, and thus could demonstrate the profitability of this fusion technique.
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