Monday, August 07, 2006

Extreme Heat

Sandia's Z machine exceeds two billion degrees kelvin.
The 'arcs & sparks' formed at the water-interface travel between metal conductors.

photo by Randy Montoya

Temperatures hotter than the interiors of stars

Sandia’s Z machine has produced plasmas that exceed temperatures of 2 billion degrees Kelvin hotter than the interiors of stars.

The unexpectedly hot output, if its cause were understood and harnessed, could eventually mean that smaller, less costly nuclear fusion plants would produce the same amount of energy as larger plants.

The phenomena also may explain how astrophysical entities like solar flares maintain their extreme temperatures.

The very high radiation output also creates new experimental environments to help validate computer codes responsible for maintaining a reliable nuclear weapons stockpile safely and securely — the principal mission of the Z facility.

Read more about Sandia from hottest output
Quote of the Day: Most of the things worth doing in the world
had been declared impossible before they were done. Louis D. Brandeis