Tuesday, 21 October 2014

KIT Summer School Factfile

From our experience at the KIT Summer School (see the full blog post here) we compiled a list of interesting facts about FUSION that we learnt, and also facts about GERMANY.

 Fusion Factfile 

1. The TF coils in ITER will store over 40GJ of magnetic energy! That’s 15 times the kinetic energy we store in our massive flywheels at JET. 

2. I was surprised to learn that the Lorentz force generated by the maximum current planned for one of ITER’s TF coils would cause them to collapse if they were self-supported. 

3. The assembly tolerances for the ITER vessel and magnets are phenomenally tight. This will be an incredible feat of engineering when they achieve it.

4. Stellarators look freakin’ awesome 

5. The ITER toroidal field coils will contain 150,000km of superconducting strands – enough to stretch over 3 times around the circumference of the earth.   

6. Super conductivity is really clever! But making superconducting magnets seems painfully difficult. High temperature super conducting materials are going to be really important for future fusion devices. 

7. KIT have the largest tritium lab in Europe and are the only lab capable of conducting tritium research for ITER. ITER will weigh 27,000 tonnes (3 times Eifel Tower).
    8. Cryopumps don’t actually “pump” anything! They work by condensing all the gas molecules onto a very cold surface, which periodically has to be regenerated by heating it up  - just like your freezer! This makes long-term continuous operation a big challenge for DEMO.

9. ITER will be testing out 6 different breeder blanket concepts to see which one works best.

10. The Tore Supra tokamak has an 8-metre long ‘Articulated Inspection Arm’ which is fully integrated in the tokamak vacuum. An inspection can be done after every pulse without interrupting the vacuum! 

Germany/KIT Factfile
    1. Karlsruhe’s beautiful palace gardens are open to the public every day; for free! 

    2. If you are not used to Steins, be careful not to drink them like a pint…  

    3. There’s a free shuttle bus between KIT south and north campus, which is very convenient! 

    4. German cycle commuting is awesome! Much better infrastructure for cycling, and European style commuter cycles (rather than sport oriented cycles) are actually a lot better than I had expected – really easy for commuting with.

5. Mike from Mike’s Bikes: what a dude. He will rent you a bicycle for around 10 €/day. Do it. Cycling through the forest, along beautifully smooth cycle paths to and from the KIT campus is sweet. Beats the bus.  

6. Karlsruhe was dreamt up by Charles III William in 1700s during a nap – he designed the city to look like the sun radiating from the palace in the east. 

7. It’s easy to buy really good non-alcoholic wheat beer and non-alcoholic cocktails at almost all restaurants and bars. 

8. Don’t forget to ask for a receipt at the KIT canteen 

9. When you’re packing to go to the KIT summer school leave room for about 2kg of lecture notes and 2 or 3 bottles of souvenir wine. 

10. Three-course meals every night take their toll. Germany is very good at providing individual receipts. 

11. The free KIT wi-fi is also available at the Studentzentrum on the south campus (i.e. where the shuttle bus stops), and in the grounds in front of the palace in the city centre (Karlsruhe Schloss) 

12. “Europabad” is well worth a visit. 

13. Sometimes German transport isn’t on time!

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