Theory, experiments and calculations related the physics of plasmas, i.e., matter constituted by ionized atoms.

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Aftermath of Plasma Arc

You have a chamber with constant amount of gas (say either helium or argon). You create the plasma with an arc and turn it off. How much of the gas used to create the plasma returns back to helium or ...
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What happens when a slow wave reaches lower hybrid resonance?

Lower hybrid resonance occurs when $n_{\perp}^2$ goes to infinity, and it occurs only for the slow wave solution, not the fast wave. Since $n_{\perp}$ is proportional to $k_{\perp}$, and $k = \frac{2 ...
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Physical reason for magnetic mirroring?

I understand the mathematical derivation of magnetic mirroring, which usually starts from the conservation of the magnetic dipole moment (e.g. in a plasma). But physically: a mirrored particle is ...
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74 views

Why does the majority of smoke leave when flames appear?

When I burn wood, paper, or other plant matter, where there is a flame, there generally isn't too much smoke, but it I blow the fire out, smoke starts billowing up. It billows thicker and thicker as ...
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What materials are used in non thermal plasma?

While reading about non-thermal plasmas, I came across their ionization potentials(~1%), and other capabilities, such as their non Maxwellian energy distributions. At what temperatures, and pressures ...
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148 views

What are the conditions around Sgr A* for a space ship trying to plunge into the central black hole?

The possible problems for a space ship near an active galactic nucleus are the following: tidal forces, hot plasma accreting into the black hole and "jetting" out, radiation, and magnetic fields. If I ...
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1answer
31 views

Formula for Electrical Arc Length

I was playing with some High-Voltage the other day, when a question popped into my head. Can you calculate length of an electrical arc? It probably would be proportional to :- 1. Voltage of the source ...
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5answers
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Is the plasma state always visible?

All the examples of plasma I have come across are visible. Is there any plasma which is not visible? For example, during a dark lightening we don't see the radiation because its gamma radiation. Is ...
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Why do we deal only with large scale magnetic fields in astrophysics, and not electric fields?

In astrophysics there is a lot going on about strong, large scale magnetic fields: in stars (prominences), magnetic dynamos, compact accretors collimating jets, etc. There's even a special ...
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Are Mach Diamonds radially symmetrical?

Videos like this show a form that suggests a radial symmetry in the gas jet. The same is reinforced by schematic illustrations. But other images, like this, look like there is a twisting structure ...
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443 views

Is it true that gravitational lensing only occurs for objects made of plasma?

The question concerns this video: It says that the Gravitational Lens effect is an illusion, meaning it's not caused by gravity but by change in density of a plasma atmosphere. It claims further ...
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58 views

How do I modify a 3-D simulation grid to be 2-D?

I am creating a particle in cell simulation that models an electron plasma in a cylindrical container. Part of this process is assigning charge density to grid points based on the position of each ...
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32 views

Poynting Vector between Capacitor - With electrons in between!

Consider a capacitor with voltage $V = V_0 cos(\omega t)$, radius $a$ and separation $d$. Electrons are distributed uniformly with number density $n$. I want to find the poynting vector between the ...
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68 views

Plasma Question: Expression for electron temperature in terms of the voltage of each prong of a triple Langmuir probe?

So I am trying to derive an expression for electron temperature based on the voltages on a triple Langmuir probe. I have pretty much been following the triple Langmuir probe derivation on wikipedia ...
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1answer
44 views

Absorption of waves in a plasma

Suppose a plasma has characteristic frequency $\omega_p$. Since $$n = \sqrt{\left(1-\frac{\omega_p^2}{\omega^2}\right)} $$ For $\omega<\omega_p$, the refractive index will be imaginary - which ...
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1answer
63 views

What's the relationship between glow and arc discharge?

I'm trying to understand the differences between an arc and glow discharge. Most texts I have found on the Internet only describes the observed differences but doesn't really explain what happens on ...
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1answer
36 views

How a plasma reacts with an AC electromagnet

Any metal conductor such as aluminium or copper is a conductor because of the free electrons in such metals. Plasma also has free electrons so I would like to know if you can repel plasma the same ...
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1answer
25 views

plasma pressure initial condition

The authors in the paper below did a simulation of plasma plume evolution from a laser heated metal target. They used compressible transport equations and ideal gas EOS for Ar. I am having difficulty ...
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118 views

How hot can plasma get?

I remember reading about an experiment where fine rods of tungsten were super-heated with millions of amps of electricity, melting them into ionised gas and were then compressed (by magnetic fields?) ...
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1answer
70 views

Magnetic hot air balloon [duplicate]

Normally, hot air balloons are limited to 60,000 ft (related question), the limits being the mass of the physical structure containing the air, and the heat source. If one constructed a magnetic ...
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Dielectric Tensor vs. Conductivity Tensor in (Cold) Plasmas

I'm studying Waves in Cold plasmas right now, but I guess my question is generalizable. It's about the 4th Maxwell Equation in polarizable / conductive media: $\nabla \times H = \frac{1}{c} ...
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146 views

Child-Langmuir Space Charge Law for Non-Zero Cathode Potential (Non-Zero Initial Electron Velocity)

I'm trying to reconcile some conflicting results that I've found in publications that address the idea of the current in a vacuum diode in the case where the cathode has a non-zero potential, in other ...
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2answers
64 views

How do you integrate an expression over a variable in the limit of an integral?

I am trying to follow the steps to solve the integro-differential equation that arises from a plasma sheath problem given in this paper. This is the step I can't follow: ...
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4answers
932 views

How can a star emit light if it is in Plasma state?

I understand that star is in Plasma state (all nucleus and electrons are not bound to each other and moving around freely) Photon is emitted when an excited electron moves back to lower orbit. So in ...
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183 views

Tokamaks and the reason they are not efficient

I'm curious about why tokamaks are inefficient as generators. In laymans terms, what is the main reason(s) tokamaks still cannot be used as generators? My limited understanding of tokamaks tells me ...
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263 views

Conserved quantities and total derivatives?

I am having a bit of a crisis in understanding of the physical meanings of total derivatives. When a quantity $\rho$ (be it a vector or a scalar) is said to be conserved, then (mathematically) ...
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1answer
38 views

Simulating electrical sublimation of aluminium foil

When i apply high voltage (through a capacitor bank) across an aluminium foil, it gets converted into plasma. I want to simulate this process and study the properties of the plasma produced ...
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477 views

Camp Fire Crackle

I was sitting around the camp fire and there was a periodic sound of cracking and pieces of the burning wood flew off. My question is what is the mechanism for the cracking of the wood? I was thinking ...
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1answer
46 views

Radiofrequency attenuation in cold plasma

The missile plume can be considered a cold plasma. If a radio signal passes across the plume it's attenuated. Obviously the attenuation depends on the frequency of the signal. Where can I find some ...
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107 views

metastable energy levels

can someone give me a good definition of "metastable energy levels" in a helium plasma (glow discharge). Am I right when I say : "by adding some neon in my helium plasma, I will obtain a molecular ...
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135 views

Why do noble gases stabilize plasma discharges?

In the plasma literature, noble gases—usually helium or argon—are frequently said to 'stabilize' plasmas. For instance in this patent, the inventor states that the plasma can be stabilized "by adding ...
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46 views

What happens to the electrons that escape an atom when matter is converted to a plasma state?

Lets say we have a device that generates plasma fields; if this device creates plasma by heating a gas, where do the electrons that escaped the "orbits" of the atom go? Would the electron physically ...
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1answer
45 views

What will happen if we will be able to produce a quark-gluon plasma and the we cool it down?

Lets assume that we can produce a quark-gluon plasma and then we try to cool it down, what will happen to it ?
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76 views

Does the 1-D poisson's equation have monotonic potentials if $\rho=\rho(\phi(z))$?

I am solving the 1-D poisson equation: $$\frac{d^2 \phi}{dz^2}=-4\pi\rho(\phi)$$ with the additional requirement that $\rho(\phi(z=0))=0$. If I start by multiplying each side by $\frac{d\phi}{d z}$ ...
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What jobs can you get in the field of physics? [duplicate]

What good, fun and reasonably well paid jobs can you get in the field of physics?
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Using a Plasma Globe to generate real random numbers

I have been thinking how to easily generate real random numbers when I cam across the small USB-powered Plasma globe. My idea would be to place it in front of an light sensor and read the sensor's ...
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1answer
56 views

Convective derivative of oscillating fluid with bulk motion?

I have a fluid $u$, which comprises a zeroth order constant motion $u_0$ as well as a first order oscillatory motion $u_1$. The convective derivative is $$\frac{\partial u}{\partial t} ...
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113 views

Geiger meter affected by plasma lamp

Whilst testing a geiger meter I took it near a plasma globe (the type sold in party/toy stores). The meter showed 0.13 mcSv/h. Then I turned the lamp on and low and behold the meter jumped to 0.89 ...
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Characteristic waves in a plasma

What does "characteristic wave" mean in the context of plasma waves? For example, when propagating parallel to the plasma magnetic field, the characteristic wave is circularly polarized. Does this ...
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50 views

Minimum number of interacting particles to form a plasma

After reading this question What is the minimum number of electrons necessary to propagate a plasmon? I began to wonder what is the minimum number of particles needed to have a plasma? I figure that ...
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1answer
134 views

Why do many books say quasineutrality is needed for a plasma to exist?

Many books on plasma physics (Chen, Goldston, Lieberman) say that quasineutrality must be satisfied for the matter in question to be a plasma. Yet, we know that non-neutral plasmas exist. So why do so ...
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63 views

Why is the collision term negative in the equation of motion for a fluid of electrons in a plasma?

The fluid equation of motion for electrons in a cold plasma is \begin{equation} m_en_e\frac{d\textbf{v}}{dt} = -en_e(\textbf{E}+\textbf{v}\times \textbf{B}) - m_en_e\nu\textbf{v} \end{equation} where ...
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460 views

Is there a phase transition between a gas and plasma?

Does a phase transition occur as a gas is heated to create a plasma? If so, is this a first or second order phase transition? Also, does the presence of a phase transition depend on the pressure or ...
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1k views

Can plasma turn back into gas, solid, or liquid?

I wanted to know if, since basic chemistry teaches you that states of matter can be changed, I was wondering particularly about plasma. I know that virtually all of the Sun is plasma, so I was ...
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Why is lightning considered a plasma?

I was wondering why a lightning bolt is coined as "plasma", or a "spark" from an electrical wire/device is as well, yet flares, molten lava, and burning buildings are not(flares are pyrotechnic, ...
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129 views

Max temperature that can be obtained from radiation source when nonlinear interaction with matter is important?

Using a black body radiation as furnace it is usually said that the max achievable $T$ is limited to the T of the source. So a source of 3000K can not be used to heat a body above 3000K. A long ...
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3answers
388 views

Is a plasma a distinct phase of matter?

Long ago I learned that a plasma was a distinct state of matter after solid, liquid and gas, and also that it was achieved by imparting heat to a the matter. But most references describe a plasma as ...
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635 views

How to tell theoretically whether an electron behaves as wave or particle

I have seen many questions on SE on the dual nature of electrons behaving in certain circumstances as particles and as waves in some other circumstance. There is one thing I couldn't get a clear ...
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98 views

plasma frequency in non-neutral plasma

Is it possible to see the oscillations with plasma frequency in a gas of particles of the same charge (not mixture of positive and negative charges)?
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Is it practical to slow down a plasma to with a spiral confinment to inrease direct plasma converter efficiency?

Instead of using tokomak/torus shaped tubing to confine plasma and slow it down to "useable" speeds. Is it practical to slow down plasma (with a magnetic field) over a long path using a spiral shaped ...