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Chapter 497: STAR Stellarator!
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
The days quickly pa.s.sed by, and soon, it was already April.
The construction of the STAR Stellarator Research Inst.i.tute went even faster than planned. The construction team used five or even ten times the manpower to finally complete the construction project.
After Regiment Commander Dai gave Lu Zhou the scissors to cut the red ribbon, he solemnly raised his right hand and gave him a military salute.
Even though Lu Zhou wasn’t a soldier and that he didn’t know what the salute meant, he could still see the eager expectation in Regiment Commander Dai’s eyes.
At the same time, the WEGA Stellarator, which was disa.s.sembled and packaged, followed the visiting team’s footsteps and entered the port of Haizhou.
€500 million was almost 4 billion yuan.
Even though this wasn’t Lu Zhou’s own money, he still felt a little heartbroken when he saw this money disappeared.
However, he knew that this money was definitely well spent.
Even though the WEGA machine had been shut down for more than five years, during these five years, the Max Planck Inst.i.tute for Plasma Physics didn’t just let it rust and collect dust, they still did regular maintenance on the machine.
Also, once they added up the cost of research and development, the Germans spent more than €1 billion on this machine.
Thinking about it this way, he actually got a discount.
After all, the worth of SG-1 wire technology was nowhere near €1 billion.
With coordination from the Suzhou provincial government, the WEGA Stellarator machine quickly arrived at Jinling and was sent to the STAR Stellarator Research Inst.i.tute near Purple Mountain.
As Academician Pan stood in the laboratory that was under the mountain and looked at the pile of valuable equipment and parts, he was full of excitement.
But suddenly, the excited old man sighed.
“Unfortunately, we had to buy it…” Academician Pan shook his head as he said, “If only we have the ability to build one completely from scratch…”
When Lu Zhou heard him, he nearly choked on his own saliva.
We just bought the thing and now you’re already thinking about making a counterfeit?!
Isn’t this a bit greedy?
Lu Zhou wasn’t an engineer, so he couldn’t evaluate the engineering difficulty of the tokamak. However, from an outsider’s perspective, he could tell that the stellarator was much more difficult than the tokamak in terms of the engineering requirements.
Honestly, even the Americans, who designed the Stellarator, couldn’t produce one themselves. They gave up half-way through the production of their C type stellarator and decided to follow the Russians by working on the tokamak instead.
Therefore, not being able to create a stellarator was nothing embarra.s.sing.
Specialization of fields didn’t only exist in academia; it also existed in the industry.
Lu Zhou gently coughed and said, “We just started, so it’d be fantastic if we can just follow the steps one-by-one. We don’t have to make every step perfect; we just have to make sure the crucial steps are done properly.”
Academician Pan shook his head and said, “Even though you put it like that, it feels like we’re inferior to them in some way. It just doesn’t sit well with me.”
After hearing Academician Pan, Lu Zhou went silent for a while.
Because he didn’t know how to reply.
After all, not everything could be solved with an engineering blueprint.
Otherwise, that wouldn’t be considered a problem.
Sheng Xianfu stood next to Lu Zhou as well, and unlike Academician Pan who was going through a roller coaster of emotions, he was so excited to the point that he began to rub his hands together.
“Do we start a.s.sembling now?”
After receiving more than a month of training in Germany, now was finally the time for him to show his skills.
Lu Zhou looked at Sheng Xianfu and nodded.
“Yeah, you can start now.”
“Also, for the time being, don’t install the external coils. We’ll replace them with new ones when the time comes.”
According to their original plan, after WEGA arrived in China, it would be officially renamed as STAR Stellarator.
With the staff and equipment in place, the stellarator research project had officially entered its next phase.
So far, Lu Zhou had completed two parts of the controllable nuclear fusion demonstration reactor puzzle.
One was the “eye”, which was his atom probe He3 technology. The other was obviously the “torso”, which was the STAR Stellarator.
In fact, since STAR Stellarator was the prototype for the Wendelstein 7-X, it had most of the crucial components. Lu Zhou was confident that he could update the components in such a way that STAR Stellarator could go toe-to-toe with the Wendelstein 7-X.
The key to all this was the completion of the third controllable nuclear fusion blueprint puzzle piece, the “legs” of the reactor—the superconducting magnet.
Actually, Lu Zhou already completed half of this puzzle piece.
After the SG-1 wire synthesis technology was completed, the “superconducting magnet based on carbon-based superconducting material” project had begun.
Just like Lu Zhou had expected, the superior thermal conductivity of the SG-1 wire could greatly reduce the size of the liquid helium refrigeration unit. The data on the blueprint showed that, when compared to copper oxide coils, it would decrease 20% of the engineering footprint.
And what did this 20% decrease in engineering footprint mean?
This meant that he could make STAR Stellarator’s magnetic field strength double that of WEGA’s field strength!
On the other hand, due to the 500 million yuan order and pressure from the state, Baosheng Group had been continuously expanding its SG-1 factory production capacity.
The wires they produced were directly sent to the STAR Stellarator Research Inst.i.tute, where they were then modified by the STAR’s engineering team into cl.u.s.ter coils around an arm’s thickness and 3 meters in length.
These coils had a conduit that allowed liquid helium to pa.s.s through, and this maintained the SG-1 material to be below superconductivity critical temperature.
In order to produce a stable output of the magnetic field during the energization of the coil, a st.u.r.dy insulator holder was also mounted on the outside of each set of bundled coils. After all, for a sophisticated instrument like this, even a millimeter movement in the wire could lead to serious experiment accidents.
Also, the temperatures inside the stellarator were as high as the temperatures inside the stars…
Lu Zhou spent his days in the laboratory at the STAR Stellarator Research Inst.i.tute as he overlooked this project in person.
After more than a month of hard work, on the first week after Labor Day, the team of STAR engineers finally completed the a.s.sembly of the last set of coils.
Lu Zhou stood in front of the reborn STAR Stellarator and wiped off the beads of sweat from his forehead.
Even though he didn’t personally drill in the screws, he was involved from day one, from the design of the superconducting magnet. He knew exactly how many difficulties he had to go through to get to this step.
But thankfully, this work was finally completed.
All they had to do now… was to test his hypothesis!
Lu Zhou smirked as he looked at Sheng Xianfu, who was standing next to him. He then ordered him, “Check the installation status of each component. If there are no problems, get ready to connect the power source!”