Project Description

We constructed a device that created a glowing plasma and gave us motivation to learn about fusion. Fusion is the process responsible for the diversity of elements in our universe. It is what enables the combination of two nuclei. Stars, like the sun, are the most common sources of fusion in the universe. We followed the directions from Make Magazine’s “Star in a Jar” [1] project to make our own demonstration fusion device. By running a high voltage through a vacuumed down chamber we were able to ionize some of the remaining gas left within the chamber.  These ions along with the added energy of the applied voltage result in high energy collisions.  We estimate that molecules in our chamber are moving as quickly as 754m/s. If the collisions occur with the correct conditions–angle, velocity, etc.–then fusion could occur! These collisions are what create the beautiful purple glowing plasma that we are able to visualize when running our device.

[1] Spangler, Dan, “How to Build a Nuclear Fusor” MAKE, vol 36, pg 90, Oct. 2013.