Whew... I wish I had time to have a fun nerdy conversation with Wheels.
I miss that kind of stuff. ha ha
If memory serves me correctly (and it's been 10 yrs since I was working in this field), the Tokomak does indeed use magnetic containment. The space shuttle's tiles can't withstand this heat either. Nothing can.
The trick is this:
Plasma is just a really cool sounding name for atoms that have been "torn apart" and exist as a nucleus and electrons all scrambled up. The extreme heat we were talking about that is needed to create plasma is what scrambles them in this case.
Once the atoms are "scrambled" up, they then have charges (nucleus is positive, electrons negative). Because the plasma is basically a gas of charged particles, they follow along magnetic lines of force.
Same thing happens all day long above the Earth. The sun is shooting out plasma at all the planets, but due to the Earth's magnetic field, this plasma is deflected down to the poles. (Think of what a bar magent picture look like in a grade school
sience book - the Earth's field is basically the same). The plasma particles follow these magnetic field lines down and impact the atmosphere above the pole. This how the Northern Lights
are formed. As the plasma hits our atmosphere, it lights up.
So, using this same principle (that plasmas follow magnetic field lines), if you can make a magnetic field line go in a circle (or in the shape of a bottle), you can contain the plasma by forcing it to stay within the magnetic field. This is how the Tokomak's magnetic containment field works. It's actually not as insanely science fiction-ish as it sounds.
It's just some really hot stuff that follows a magnetic field line that is more circular in shape.
As for the fusion part... now that's impressive. As the really hot plasma of whatever elements they choose to use for fusion fuses
together, it creates even more heat. This means you can then use the heat water
, turn a turbine and make electricity. If the fusion reaction is going well enough, you should be able to extract a useful amount of heat from it - more heat than you had to put in to get it going. This is the difficulty in fusion. Maybe this team has increased the efficiency.
Wow... must get back to sanding
and finishing wood. It's fun to babble about science, but I'm no longer a scientist. I'm a sea captain
. ha ha
Back to work.