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Plasma balls and Fluorescent Bulbs

  1. Apr 14, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I know about Plasma Balls (generally) from this site:
    http://www.4physics.com/phy_demo/plasma1.htm

    But I need to somehow explain what is occurring in this demo where a fluorescent bulb is lit up when in the vicinity of the plasma ball:


    2. Relevant equations
    None that I know of.

    3. The attempt at a solution
    My limited knowledge leads me to guess that the free electrons that are accelerating towards the outer sphere, and are then entering the bulb and exciting the atoms int he fluorescent bulb?

    My only issue with this solution is that the original site
    (http://www.4physics.com/phy_demo/plasma1.htm)
    states that there is an
    "oscillating electric voltage on the electrode. (Changing electric fields produce changing magnetic fields.) This alternating electromagnetic field helps to contain the plasma when it forms and to keep the free electrons from the cathode spiraling inside the globe."

    So, does this mean that the plasma tendril is maintained by electrons that are oscillating between the inner and outer spheres (like AC current?) or are they accelerating towards the outside (like DC).

    Or is there something else that is occurring?

    TIA
    Jamal
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  2. jcsd
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