Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Z Machine Melts Diamond To Puddle In Experiments On Capsule For Nuclear-fusion Fuel

Date:
November 3, 2006
Source:
Sandia National Laboratories
Summary:
Sandia's Z machine, by creating pressures more than 10 million times that of the atmosphere at sea level, has turned a diamond sheet into a pool of liquid, in an experiment to better understand the characteristics of diamond under the extreme pressure it would face when used as a capsule for a BB-sized pellet intended to fuel a nuclear fusion reaction.

Sandia's Z machine, by creating pressures more than 10 million times that of the atmosphere at sea level, has turned a diamond sheet into a pool of liquid.
Credit: Image courtesy of DOE/Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia's Z machine, by creating pressures more than 10 million times that of the atmosphere at sea level, has turned a diamond sheet into a pool of liquid.

Related Articles


The object of the experiment was to better understand the characteristics of diamond under the extreme pressure it would face when used as a capsule for a BB-sized pellet intended to fuel a nuclear fusion reaction.

The experiment is another step in the drive to release enough energy from fused atoms to create unlimited electrical power for humanity. Control of this process has been sought for 50 years.

Half a bathtub full of seawater in a fusion reaction could produce as much energy as 40 train cars of coal.

Results of the fusion reaction also will be used to validate physics models in computer simulations used to certify the safety and reliability of the US nuclear weapons stockpile.

Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration facility.

The problem for two giant machines that would use this method -- the National Ignition Facility in Lawrence Livermore National Lab, which asked for the experiment, and Sandia's Z machine -- is that the outer shell of the pellet must transmit pressure evenly into its interior. Diamond as a solid will do that. Diamond as a liquid will do that. But diamond that is partially both and exists between 6.9 million atmospheres and 10.4 million atmospheres provides uneven pressures. This in-between phase would create instabilities that would ruin the implosion, like a hand squeezing a water balloon that allows portions of the balloon to exit through spaces between the fingers.

So, if diamond is used as a capsule, the energies involved must be tailored to avoid landing in this zone.

Why use diamond at all? It was hoped that diamond would help smooth out the applied pressure loads and keep the capsule implosion symmetric.

Wouldn't a more flexible material like vinyl be better?

"At the pressures we're interested in, everything is compressible," said capsule designer Mark Herrmann, a Sandia researcher.

Because of limited time to run the experiments, due to the shutdown of Z for renovations that should increase its power by 30 percent, Sandia lead experimenter Marcus Knudson found a predictive use of a quantum-molecular simulation program developed at Sandia by Mike Desjarlais very helpful in pinpointing the pressures at which diamond would begin and finish liquefying.

In the experiments, the applied pressure came from shock waves passing through the diamond. The waves were created by impacting the diamond with tiny plates hurled using Z's huge magnetic fields at about 20 times the speed of a rifle bullet.

The results were the subject of an invited talk given this week at the American Physical Society's Division of Plasma Physics in Philadelphia.

Sandia National Laboratories' World Wide Web home page is located at http://www.sandia.gov.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Sandia National Laboratories. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Sandia National Laboratories. "Z Machine Melts Diamond To Puddle In Experiments On Capsule For Nuclear-fusion Fuel." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061103104056.htm>.
Sandia National Laboratories. (2006, November 3). Z Machine Melts Diamond To Puddle In Experiments On Capsule For Nuclear-fusion Fuel. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061103104056.htm
Sandia National Laboratories. "Z Machine Melts Diamond To Puddle In Experiments On Capsule For Nuclear-fusion Fuel." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061103104056.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins