How to Catch Plasma

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Since early childhood everyone knows that substance can exist in three states: solid, liquid and gas. A perfect example of it is ordinary water. We can observe it in all the three states in our daily life (especially in a kitchen). However, there exists another state which is called plasma…

The Novosibirsk Institute of Nuclear Physics is one of the world’s leaders in studying plasma. They have some very interesting setups, so-called “plasma traps”. Let’s see how they work and what they are needed for.

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The substance in a plasma state is gaseous but gets an additional property – electrical conductivity. That means a current is able to pass through it.

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And this may be very dangerous! If the air was in a state of plasma, we would easily get an electric shock standing near a simple plug or any other source of energy (even without touching it!).

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But this property of plasma may be effectively used for generating energy. That’s for plasma traps were created. They allow to study the properties of plasma, its behavior and possible ways of its keeping.

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There is a very high radiation level near these machines, so all the workers must use dosimeters here.

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Now these traps are purely experimental. But in the future they may become an important part of our lives…

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Location: Novosibirsk

via fima-psuchopadt

21 thoughts on “How to Catch Plasma”

  1. Okay, it takes much machinery to catch the plasma. How much have they caught? What do they do with it? Do they release it when they are finished?

    • It dissipates. Unless it is contained in a strong magnetic field it violently reacts with the surrounding area and releases the energy which it is comprised of.

      Plasma is a very highly energized state of matter and it is difficult to sustain the reaction that forms it.

      I suspect some research into the phenomena known as “ball lightening” may hold some promise for improving the handling of plasma.

      Currently it is (plasma) of great use in the production of semi-conductors, I suspect it may also be interesting to see if it can be used to produce some highly exotic metal alloys for the use in the aero-space industries.

  2. wanna see some plasma? look at the sun, over 99% of the solar system mass is plasma. and if air was ever to turn to plasma electric shock would be the least of your problems. pretty much any substance melts, evaporates and then the gas turns to plasma if you heat it up enough. you need to ionize air for it to turn to plasma and that requiers lots of energy. besides heat it can also be achieved by very high levels of radiation. thats where the idea that radioactive metals glow comes from, and the glow is blue not green as in simpsons. only very radiactive materials are energetic enough to ionize air around them enough for the glow to be visible. lastly you can ionize air with large electric potential, 1kV per mm is requiered for breakdown. again you see a blue electric glow as in lightning

  3. States of matter. There are other states; this post only pertains to baryonic matter, which is only around 4-5 per cent of the Universe. And we know only some things about baryonic matter. The unknown dark 95 per cent of the Universe is really “the last frontier” of science.


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