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Can all gases be ionized to make a plasma?

  1. Apr 13, 2016 #1
    I sort of new to the states of matter, so please use English (explain what all the big words mean). First of all what does ionizing even mean? second every type of matter of 4 states?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 13, 2016 #2
    Yes, any gas can be turned into a plasma. Ionize means to break apart some or all electrons from the nucleus of an atom or molecule. Of course, if you fully ionize a molecule by taking away all the electrons, it will cease to be a molecule since there's nothing holding the elements together. A plasma is a fluid made up of ions.

    There are many more than four states of matter. But the basic ones are solid, liquid, gas, and plasma.
  4. Apr 14, 2016 #3
    Thank you so much. So just to clarify you do get plasma by ionizing gas. Do you ionize something by super heating it? Thank you so much!
  5. Apr 14, 2016 #4
    That is one way to ionize something. You can also use high voltage or ionizing radiation. It is easier to form a plasma at low densities, since there is less recombination between the electrons and positive ions.
  6. Apr 14, 2016 #5
    Thank you, are there solid and liquid forms for all gasses too for example is there a liquid form for carbon?
  7. Apr 14, 2016 #6
    A gas will condense to form a liquid and vice versa, a liquid evaporates to form a gas. There is a triple point where you can have all three in equilibrium; solid, liquid and gas. Some solids do not melt to form a liquid, but will sublime to form a gas.
  8. Apr 29, 2016 #7
    Thank you but I didn't really understand. Can you explain for a amateur to understand?
  9. Apr 29, 2016 #8
    Oops, I didn't really answer your question. It is possible to have liquid carbon at extreme pressure, I think. Almost every gas can be made into liquid and solid. But I am not sure if it is possible for every gas.
  10. May 1, 2016 #9
    The point I was trying to make is that some solids will sublime to form a gas, and can exist in equilibrium between solid and gas. I think carbon sublimes rather than melts, but might be liquid at high enough pressure.
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