Z machine melts diamond to puddle
As capsule for nuclear-fusion fuel, even diamonds aren’t forever
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 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.
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.