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Helium microwave experiment

  1. Aug 20, 2014 #1
    For a science fair experiment me and my partner are working on creating plasma in a microwave.Our hypothesis is that if the manipulability of plasma is affected by the type of gas used, then plasma will react to magnetic fields differently depending on the gas that has been ionised. Because gases with a higher atomic number (more electrons) will - upon ionisation - affect the versatility of the plasma when exposed to magnetic fields. Our methedology is as follows:
    1. Light a match and place it on a small raised surface inside a microwave
    2. Fill a glass bowl/beaker with Helium, upside down so it doesn’t escape (because helium is lighter than air).
    3. Cover the match with the bowl/beaker, leaving a slight gap so air can ventilate the match.
    4. Close the microwave door and turn it on for 15-20 seconds
    5. Place electromagnet directly outside the microwave door
    I was wondering if this experiment was safe and do-able since it worked whenidny fill the beaker with helium.
    Thanks in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 21, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Helium is inert, so you should be just as safe using it as you are using normal air. I assume you've already done this experiment with regular air?
  4. Aug 21, 2014 #3
    Yes we have done the experiment with air, and it worked brilliantly just as we had expected
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
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