MadSci Network: Astronomy

Subject: What is required to initiate a fusion reaction.

Date: Sun Sep 5 22:14:36 1999
Posted by Ryan Williams
Grade level: undergrad School: Stephen F. Austin State University
City: Nacogdoches State/Province: Texas Country: United States
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 936584076.As

What causes a fusion reaction and are we capable of creating one?(i.e. what 
environment such as temperature etc...) Also, when most people talk of a 
fusion reaction they talk hydrogen 2/3 reaction but I have heard that such 
a reaction is ineffecient and looses energy in the form of harmful 
neutrons. On the other hand I have heard(I have no practical knowledge, 
thats why I ask you) that a hydrogen2/helium3 reaction would create 
vertually no neutrons and would produce the most efficient reaction. On the 
other hand I have been informed that there is not a source for helium3 on 
earth which obviously poses some difficulty, but it would cause a vast 
economy to spread beyond the earth's atmosphere in to the solar system, a 
trade of goods for energy. So if what I have heard about deuterium/helium3 
being better than D/T is infact true(which is the second part of my 
question to you), it seems that it would be better to assume that our space 
faring technologies will be inplace by the time fusion power becomes a 
reliable energy source to replace depleated fossil fuel reserves in the mid 
twentyfirst century than to simply use radioactive D/T reactions. 

Re: What is required to initiate a fusion reaction.

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