what are the differences between plasma and ionized gas?
Ionized gas is one example of a plasma. The interior of the sun is another example.
For plasma to exist, ionization is necessary. The term "plasma density" by itself usually refers to the "electron density", that is, the number of free electrons per unit volume. The degree of ionization of a plasma is the proportion of atoms that have lost or gained electrons, and is controlled mostly by the temperature. Even a partially ionized gas in which as little as 1% of the particles are ionized can have the characteristics of a plasma (i.e., response to magnetic fields and high electrical conductivity). The degree of ionization, α, is defined as α = ni/(ni + na) where ni is the number density of ions and na is the number density of neutral atoms. The electron density is related to this by the average charge state <Z> of the ions through ne = <Z> ni where ne is the number density of electrons.
Couldn't a gas inside a closed conducting container be ionized by adding or removing charge from the container (and the enclosed gas) without requiring temperature related effects?
interesting question by rcgldr , i too would love to hear the answer:)
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