Some processes cannot be reproduced in laboratories, but to create a simulation of a process for a better understanding of physical and other phenomena by scientists can do. Want to see supernovae explode? Visit the Georgia Institute of Technology, where they just launched a “car” to simulate supernova explosions.
Georgia Tech researchers created a laboratory setup for the practical study of explosive propagation of a mixture of light and heavy gases. Similar processes accompany supernova explosions. Nuclear fusion in the nuclei of stars fades, and gravity wins the battle with the buoyancy forces of synthesis. The gas shell of collapsing stars is compressed and a supernova explodes with a turbulent discharge of gases and matter. As a result, beautiful nebulae appear in the sky, the appearance of which is a consequence of the propagation of gases of various densities around a neutron star or black hole – all that is left of the star.
The presented laboratory setup simulates the explosion process in a small sector of a star’s layout. The installation resembles a slice of pizza 1.8 m high and up to 1.2 m wide. In the center of the installation there is a transparent window through which the processes are recorded using high-speed shooting. The installation is filled with gases of various densities, similar in composition and state to those that fill the shell of stars. A nuclear explosion is simulated by two explosives: the main one is hexogen and, as a detonator, pentaerythritol tetranitrate.
Explosion of explosives pushes low-lying heavy gases through layers of less heavy gases and fancifully swirls the gas mixture. According to scientists, this is not only beautiful, but also useful in terms of measuring the speed of gases of different densities.
Laboratory experiments with a “supernova machine” can give astronomers data to more accurately calculate the formation of space objects such as nebulae. Finally, an understanding of certain phenomena may provide a hint for creating a thermonuclear reactor on Earth.
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