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XJTU team paves new path for development of 'artificial sun'

January 09, 2024
  L M S

Controllable nuclear fusion, often compared to an "artificial sun," is a key technology at the forefront of low-carbon research in China. The latest research achievement from the research team at Xi'an Jiaotong University (XJTU) has aided in the development of metallic materials required for controllable nuclear fusion.

The term "artificial sun" refers to a device that utilizes the principles of light and heat emission from the sun to continuously and controllably generate energy. Therefore, the metallic materials for this device need to withstand extreme conditions such as ultra-high temperatures and intense radiation.

Currently, the scientific community considers tungsten, a metal with a high melting point, low sputtering rate, and low hydrogen retention, as the preferred material for the artificial sun device.

To address tungsten's brittleness at room temperature, scientists have introduced the metal element rhenium to tungsten. However, the latest research results from the XJTU research team indicated that this low-rhenium alloying approach struggles to reduce the tungsten's ductile-to-brittle transition temperature.

After nearly five years of continuous research, the research team has identified the key factors constraining the ductile-to-brittle transition of metallic materials. This discovery provides a new direction for their research, laying a theoretical and research foundation for the preparation and design of room-temperature, high-toughness tungsten alloys.