Blog

A blog of Python-related topics and code.

Breeding tritium for a fusion reactor

The most feasible nuclear reaction for a "first-generation" fusion reaction is the one involving deuterium (D) and tritium (T): $$ \mathrm{D} + \mathrm{T} \rightarrow \alpha (3.5\;\mathrm{MeV}) + n (14.1\;\mathrm{MeV}) $$ Tritium is not a primary fuel and does not exist in significant quantities naturally since it decays with a half life of 12.3 years. It therefore has to be "bred" from a separate nuclear reaction. Most fusion reactor design concepts employ a lithium "blanket" surrounding the reaction vessel which absorbs the energetic fusion neutrons to produce tritium in such a reaction.

Wa-Tor World on a torus

The population dynamics simulation known as Wa-Tor was described in a previous post. When carried out on a grid with periodic boundary conditions, the Wa-Tor "universe" is topologically equivalent to a torus, as depicted below using the code provided here.

Diffusion on the surface of a torus

An example in Chapter 7 of the scipython book describes the numerical solution of the two-dimensional heat equation for a flat plate with edges held at a fixed temperature.

An object-oriented SVG torus

The code below, torus.py, defines a class Torus for drawing an SVG image of a torus. The Torus class itself is a subclass of Shape, a more general class for depicting 3D objects in an SVG image, defined in shape.py. A usage example is given in the code of draw_torus.py, which creates this image:

Non-linear least squares fitting of a two-dimensional data

The scipy.optimize.curve_fit routine can be used to fit two-dimensional data, but the fitted data (the ydata argument) must be repacked as a one-dimensional array first. The independent variable (the xdata argument) must then be an array of shape (2,M) where M is the total number of data points.