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Energy to create Plasma

  1. Sep 4, 2012 #1
    How much energy does it take to make plasma?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2012 #2


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    We would need to heat a material up to around 5,000+ kelvin. The exact energy needed to do so depends on what the material was and how much of it there is.
  4. Sep 4, 2012 #3
    Is there a formula to determine the amount of energy needed?
  5. Sep 4, 2012 #4


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  6. Sep 4, 2012 #5


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    Roaringdragon, Welcome to Physics Forums!

    Drakkith is correct, plasma can be made by heating gas. But that's only one kind of plasma. In Nature and in the laboratory there are many different kinds of plasmas. It would be helpful to learn the definition of the term "plasma" to begin with, and then get and idea of the different types. For instance, the Wiki page defines plasma and lists these:

    • Those found in plasma displays, including TVs
    • Inside fluorescent lamps (low energy lighting), neon signs[4]
    • Rocket exhaust and ion thrusters
    • The area in front of a spacecraft's heat shield during re-entry into the atmosphere
    • Inside a corona discharge ozone generator
    • Fusion energy research
    • The electric arc in an arc lamp, an arc welder or plasma torch
    • Plasma ball (sometimes called a plasma sphere or plasma globe)
    • Arcs produced by Tesla coils (resonant air core transformer or disruptor coil that produces arcs similar to lightning, but with alternating current rather than static electricity)
    • Plasmas used in semiconductor device fabrication including reactive-ion etching, sputtering, surface cleaning and plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition
    • Laser-produced plasmas (LPP), found when high power lasers interact with materials.
    • Inductively coupled plasmas (ICP), formed typically in argon gas for optical emission spectroscopy or mass spectrometry
    • Magnetically induced plasmas (MIP), typically produced using microwaves as a resonant coupling method
    • Lightning
    • St. Elmo's fire
    • Upper-atmospheric lightning
    • The ionosphere
    • The polar aurorae
    • Some extremely hot flames[citation needed]
    • The Sun and other stars (plasmas heated by nuclear fusion)
    • The solar wind
    • The interplanetary medium (space between planets)
    • The interstellar medium(space between star systems)
    • The Intergalactic medium (space between galaxies)
    • The Io-Jupiter flux tube
    • Accretion discs
    • Interstellar nebulae

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_(physics [Broken])

    As for the energy to produce these, there is a very wide range, and probably each one could be calculated, but you'd need to specify which one you're interested in.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. Sep 4, 2012 #6
    I think ionization potential will get you closer to the answer than heat capacity.
  8. Sep 5, 2012 #7
    Thanks for all the replies!
    As for the specific type of plasma, I'm doing a project about Star wars blasters and the energy it takes to power them, so I'm assuming it would be laser produced plasmas?
    and @Antiphon I was thinking that too, however, I wasn't sure what element to use
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