Plasma on space shuttle

  • Thread starter Swankie
  • Start date
  • #1
15
0
How exactly is plasma generated when space vehicles reenter earth's atmosphere? How do the ions show up? I get how the air drag creates the initial heat, but from there I do not know. Have been searching the net for about 30min and came up with nada.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
boneh3ad
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
3,144
819
When you get that hot, diatomic gases like oxygen and nitrogen begin to dissociate and you end up with with a bunch of ions floating around.
 
  • #3
15
0
Can someone confirm this? I was under the impression that the pressure, not the heat was the initiator
 
  • #4
boneh3ad
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
3,144
819
You need energy for a gas to ionize. Pressure itself doesn't provide that sort of energy. However, the extreme compression that exists near the nose (and a few other areas) of hypersonic vehicles causes the gas to heat up and the heat leads to ionization. It is true that it gets that hot as a result of pressure changes, but it is the heat itself that causes ionization.
 
  • #5
15
0
Awesome, thanks for the clarification!
 

Related Threads on Plasma on space shuttle

  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
7
Views
4K
  • Last Post
4
Replies
82
Views
9K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
37
Views
9K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
Replies
3
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
24
Views
14K
Top