What is Fusion?
- Fusion: When two atoms are pushed
together hard enough they can join (fuse) and make a larger,
heavier atom. However, the mass of the new bigger atom is less
then the sum of the mass of the two old atoms. This extra
"missing" mass has become energy by
Einstein's famous Equation E=mc2
- Plasma: The Fourth State of Matter.
Most materials have three well known "states of matter",
Solid, Liquid and Gas. Normally, a material
changes from a solid to a liquid and then to a gas when heated.
For example ice melts and changes to water when heated and water
boils and changes to steam when heated. When a gas is heated it
can change to the "Fourth State of Matter" a Plasma. A plasma is
an "Ionized" gas which is a material which is so hot that the
atoms lose some of their electrons and become electrically
- Fusion verses Fission: In Fusion, two light (less massive)
atoms, like hydrogen, join together to make a heavier (more
massive) atom, like helium, while in Fission a heavy atom splits
apart into two lighter atoms. To get energy out of the fusion
reaction the atoms joined together have a fairly low mass. Fusing
heavier atoms takes more energy then it gives. Fission is just the
opposite, very massive atoms, uranium for example, give energy
when splitting while a lighter atom would take energy to split.
We would like to thank the
DIII-D Fusion Education team
for allowing us to use some of their figures.
This was last changed on 11 Nov
This page is maintained by David