How do you make Plasma?

  1. Firstly, I want to do this for a science fair project. I want to create a magnetic force field with plasma also.

    Second, I would like to know how dangerous it is to make and handle.

    Third, is it illegal in Canada?

    Fourth how do you make plasma cheaply? What parts do I need, ect.

    Thank you!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    It is relatively easy to create plasma on a small scale.
    A standard plasma ball has a vacuum of about 0.01 atmospheres of helium, neon, or other noble gas. The gas is excited by a 2-5 Kilovolt 35 KHz electrical supply.

    For your project you would need something to contain the plasma and hold the gas in the vacuum, an electrode, a high voltage power supply, and applicable connecting equipment such as wires and pipes and such. You could use some simple electromagnets outside of the vacuum container to inflence the plasma.

    The most dangerous issue here is the high voltage. Fortunantly you can get high voltage at a small current to reduce the hazard. I don't believe this would be illegal in Canada, as it isn't posing a hazard to anyone other than yourself if you screw up.

    It seems that you don't know too much about electricity and the associated hazards, so I HIGHLY recommend getting an adult to assist you. Also rememer that this would NOT be a simple project. You will be required to learn and understand many concepts you probably wouldn't learn and apply them appropriately. You would also have to aquire parts. While you can buy used parts for relatively cheaply, if you don't know what you are doing you could be getting bad parts that pose a hazard.
     
  4. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,128
    Gold Member

    Easy. You've got about 5 pints inside you right now. :biggrin:
     
  5. Thank you!
     
  6. PAllen

    PAllen 5,425
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Actually, I did this in high school with air, the vaccuum achievable by a good water aspirator, and a big capacitor with flat copper connections apply a sudden voltage. Plasma existed and flashed only for a moment with this set up. I wasn't trying to maintain or control the plasma - just see a flash as it got created in a tube.
     
  7. Well i need it long enough to survive for as long as i like ;D
    what i am trying to achieve is a magnetic force field to hold the metal, then with a flip of the switch, plasma melts the metal.

    Also would you think that this science fair idea has some merit to win a prize like a scholarship or something?
     
  8. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    Hrmm. I think melting a plate with plasma is a bit different than simply creating plasma. Your best bet would be a plasma cutter, but that is way more difficult. Also, a magnetic field cannot hold uncharged metal. You would not be able to keep it in place.
     
  9. Generating a plasma does not ensure at all that you can melt metal with it.
    The plasma in a fluorescent tube does not seem to melt the glass of the tube.
    And this is an easy way to make plasma. It's legal in Canada, they sell the tubes in all hardware stores.
     
  10. Well I want to make plasma that is able to melt metal, like the high voltage and high temperature kind.
     
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