When we look at some of the fundamental research in the world’s scientific community, it is truly mind-blowing. Not that we always understand the detail of what is being achieved but when, from the periphery, we supply ceramic components into some of these colossal projects, we have a vested interest and feel a part of it. In just supplying components for space probes, the names resonate, and your part in it, however small, ties you into the team.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), The Joint European Torus (JET) and the big new project ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), the world’s biggest fusion reactor experiment, are some of the largest and most adventurous projects currently in progress. The ITER Project is based in France but supported and funded by over 35 countries and in size, scale and cost could replace nuclear fission with a cleaner less polluting fusion energy system. https://www.iter.org/proj/inafewlines.
The collaboration of so many nations from all over the world reinforces the level of importance and prestige of this development and some of the statistics are simply mind-blowing: The system runs at up to 150,000,000°C which is hotter than the core of the sun! Contained in an electromagnetic field, the plasma is confined in a giant doughnut shaped vessel and this is by no means science fiction. Currently it is possible, but to become viable, the scale needs increasing and the ITER project is designed to do just this.
Working with some of the world’s brightest minds, all focused on achieving a single goal, is sometimes not easy when you are required to supply some of the biggest and most accurate highest temperature ceramic parts with extreme properties. But despite these exacting standards, the physicists must have what they need which leaves companies like Precision Ceramics stretching the boundaries of what can be achieved.