Nuclear fusion: achieved

In May, three Missouri S&T physics seniors achieved nuclear fusion of deuterium into helium as part of the final project in their senior research laboratory class. This nuclear fusion reaction is the same process as the one that powers the sun.

Brock Ebert, Sheldon Harper and Jaykob Maser constructed an inertial electrostatic confinement where two deuterium, a type of hydrogen that has an extra neutron attached to the nucleus, were heated to the point that their nuclei overcame electrical repulsion, collided and fused. The collision bound them together to form a new nucleus of helium and a stray neutron.

Working under the supervision of Greg Story, associate professor of physics, the students confirmed that they had achieved fusion by detecting the production of the neutrons. Their work followed a semester-long research project in collaboration with the nuclear engineering department and the Missouri S&T Nuclear Reactor.

“I never thought it would happen because the experiment is so complicated,” says Story. “It is an incredible accomplishment for undergraduate students who built their apparatus entirely on their own. Their next goal is to try to optimize the process by adjusting things like the pressure of the gas in the plasma.”

Around the Puck

Q&A: Miners got game

What was the most memorable sports team during your time on campus? As part of his research for the S&T 150th history book, Larry Gragg, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science, asked you to share your memories. Here are a few of your answers.

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Honoring new academy members

In October, 12 alumni and friends were inducted into Missouri S&T academies. Academy membership recognizes careers of distinction and invites members to share their wisdom, influence and resources with faculty and students. Some academies hold induction ceremonies in the fall, others in the spring.

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Boosting cyber-physical security

A wide array of complex systems that rely on computers — from public water supply systems and electric grids to chemical plants and self-driving vehicles — increasingly come under not just digital but physical attacks. Bruce McMillin, professor and interim chair of computer science at Missouri S&T, is looking to change that by developing stronger safeguards […]

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MXene discovery could improve energy storage

In spite of their diminutive size, 2-D titanium carbide materials known as MXenes are “quite reactive” to water, a discovery S&T researchers say could have implications for energy storage and harvesting applications such as batteries, supercapacitors and beyond. Their findings were published in 2018 in the American Chemical Society journal Inorganic Chemistry.

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A faster charge for electric vehicles

One drawback of electric vehicles (EVs) is the time it takes to charge them. But what if you could plug in your EV and fully charge it as quickly as it takes to fill up a conventional car with gasoline? Missouri S&T researchers, in collaboration with three private companies, are working to make speedy charging […]

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