We explain what the plasma state is and some of its properties. In addition, the types of plasma that exist and examples.
What is plasma state or plasma?
It is known as plasma or plasma state to one of the four states of aggregation of matter , along with the liquid, solid and gas. When talking about a substance in plasma state we refer specifically to an ionized gas , or in other words, to a gas whose atoms have been stripped of part of their original electrons , and have been electrically charged (they do not have electromagnetic balance).
This means that the plasma state is, in principle, similar to gas, but with very different properties to those of a cold gas . These include the tendency of plasma to effectively conduct electricity , or its great response to magnetic fields.
Plasma is not a frequent state in everyday life. It can be obtained through a process of ionization of gases, sometimes as simple as heating them to make their particles vibrate faster. Other means for this are magnetization or the application of electricity, and other artificial processes.
Likewise, a plasma can be returned to a gaseous state , by any process of deionization: for example, removing heat from the substance and allowing its particles to recover their lost electrons, gaining stability and becoming a gas again.
There are two known types of plasma:
- Cold plasma , the most harmless to living beings , since it does not cause burns or is harmful, because their particles do not move as fast as they do, instead, their electrons.
- Hot plasma , whose atoms are colliding with each other repeatedly as they move and lose electrons, generating varying amounts of light and caloric energy in the process.
Examples of plasma or plasma status
Some examples of matter in plasma state are:
- The sun . The king star is a large ball of gases in perpetual reaction, whose reactions are so violent and gravity so massive that its particles are compressed and reach the plasma state.
- The fire . It has never been easy to answer what fire is, that flame capable of generating light and heat: it is a hot plasma.
- Plasma lamps . The so-called “plasma balls” or “plasma spheres” are decorative or playful devices invented by Nicola Tesla in his experiments with high frequency electricity. It is nothing more than a mixture of low pressure gases in a transparent container, into which high frequency and high voltage electricity is injected, achieving an electric field.
- Neon lights . The so frequent neon lamps or bulbs use this element (a noble gas) to achieve a bright and cold plasma, which is quite safe, unreactive (since it is neon) and very functional.
- Lightning . Fast and very hot (27,000 ° C) lightning bolts are forms of plasma that arise in the atmosphere , when the gases in it are electrically charged during the hydrological cycle, and thus generate a decompensation of the electromagnetic field, which through a discharge violent tries to restore the balance.