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The Z machine fires a very powerful electrical discharge (several tens of millions of amperes for less than 100 nanoseconds) into an array of thin, parallel tungsten wires called a liner (pictured here). The high electrical current vaporizes the wires, which are transformed into a cylindrical plasma curtain. Simultaneously, the current density induces a powerful magnetic field, and their combination creates Lorentz forces that radially compress the plasma into a z-pinch process. The imploding plasma produces a high temperature and an X-ray pulse that can create a shock wave in a target structure. The target structure is placed in a cavity inside the wires called a hohlraum. The powerful fluctuation in the magnetic field (an “electromagnetic pulse”) also generates electric current in all of the metallic objects in the room (see picture at upper right). The vertical cylinder’s axis is conventionally termed the z-axis, hence the name “Z machine”.
Originally designed to supply 50 terawatts of power in one fast pulse, technological advances resulted in an increased output of 290 terawatts, enough to study nuclear fusion. Z releases 80 times the world’s electrical power output for about seventy nanoseconds; however, only a moderate amount of energy is consumed in each test (roughly twelve megajoules)—the efficiency from wall current to X-ray output is about 15%.Marx generators are slowly charged with energy prior to firing.
Sandia announced the fusing of deuterium in the Z machine on April 7, 2003. This application could result in an efficient method to ignite a nuclear fusion reaction starting from a small capsule of deuterium.[dubious ] Unfortunately many technical difficulties—for instance the small quantity of deuterium that can be contained in the hohlraum and the practical impossibility of transferring the compressed capsule to a larger nuclear fuel reservoir—prevent the machine from being used this way.
Besides being used as an X-ray generator, the Z machine propelled small plates at 34 kilometres a second, faster than the 30 kilometres per second that Earth travels in its orbit around the Sun, and three times Earth’s escape velocity. It also successfully created a special, hyperdense “hot ice” known as ice VII, by quickly compressing water to pressures of 70,000 to 120,000 atmospheres (7 to 12 GPa).
At the beginning of 2006, the Z machine produced plasmas with announced temperatures in excess of 2 billion kelvins (2 GK, 2×109 K) or 3.6 billion °F, even reaching a peak at 3.7 GK or 6.6 billion °F. It was achieved in part by replacing the tungsten wires with thicker steel wires. This temperature, which enables a 10% to 15% efficiency in converting electrical energy to soft x-rays, was much higher than anticipated (3 to 4 times the kinetic energy of the incoming wires on axis). The Guinness Book Of Records listed it as the highest human-achieved temperature,, which has, however, been exceeded by the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The origin of this extra energy still remains unexplained, but it has been theorized that small-scale MHD turbulence and viscous damping would convert magnetic energy into thermal energy of the ions, which then would transfer their energy to the electrons through collisions.
This fucking Bluejay won’t leave me alone!
Almost two years ago exactly Joshua Kidder sold me a 25+ year old road bike and gave me back my life. I have spent time on it nearly everyday. I have kicked out any love I might be lacking. I have forged a bond with my machine that has transformed nearly every aspect of my life. He tagged me today when he posted this. This kid and I understand each other.
“ My brothers, who were two and three years older than me, used to take part in these races. I would go by bike to watch. Sometimes I would ride home with the winner of the race, his winner’s wreath on the bag on his back. In my head, it was me; the winner. I also wanted to race. I also wanted to bring bouquets home with me. That’s what drove me. As soon as I was old enough, to the great disapproval of my mother, I went in for races. She was afraid of crashes. So when they happened, I never mentioned them. Unfortunately she found out when she found my bed sheets stained with blood. ”