Secret to fusion power discovered: diamond bullets

Nuclear fusion is hard. But Chinese scientists say they've figured out a way to make it happen using miniscule diamond bullets fired into crystallized methane. There's one big problem with that, though: those 1mm diamonds will need to be fired at a speed of 2,232,000 mph to start up the fusion reaction.

A bullet smashing into methane crystals at that speed would create a tremendous amount of kinetic energy, and the resulting shockwave and high pressure would bring the temperature up to a high enough level to start a nuclear fusion reaction.

How do they know this? Well, they didn't try it in the real world, but the scientists say their computer simulation of this mind-boggling operation assures them it would work. The next step? Figuring out how to keep that fusion reaction going beyond the ignition phase.

Even though it sounds like it would require tremendous amount of energy to get the reaction going, the researchers say it will produce a net energy gain. Looks like they're on the right track, and if they're successful, the world will have the cleanest and most efficient energy source yet.

Via Popsci

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