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Re: starship-design: plasma sources

The hottest thing I recall seeing was a plasma torch, used to cut heavy stainless
steel plate. It used three kinds of gas, and I'm not positive what they were; I
think one was inert (argon most likely) and another might have been nitrogen (!).
This thing used a large welding machine for a power supply, likely pulling from
300 to 600 amps, and the welding arc created the plasma. Again, I'm uncertain,
but I'd guess at nozzle temps above 7000 F. Ceramic nozzle, water-cooled head
assembly. Call a welding supply shop for details. Oh, and get some good ear
protectors; these things make a hellish racket. Hope this helps you.


"N. Lindberg" wrote:

> Fred,
>         I'm no expert on plasma physics, but here are some ways that
> immediately spring to mind:
>         1) Spark gap + RF heating of the air.  Plasmas couple very well to
> RF, and most of the energy gets turned into heat.
>         2)High temp combustion + RF.  Sometime, bend a toothpick so that
> it stands with one end pointing up, light that end, and put it in your
> microwave. I think they're kind of pretty.  Also, the Oxy-Acetylene
> reaction is the hottest type of combustion I know of, at a few thousand
> degrees,  Kind of dangerous stuff though.
>         3) In general, the more rarified the air, the lower the
> temperature required for ionization.  Maybe run the air though a throat at
> high speeed.
> On Thu, 19 Aug 1999, Fred Reyes wrote:
> > I would greatly appreciate it if anyone can give me a list of ways to
> > convert plain ordinary air into plasma.  It does not have to be really high
> > temperature originally, I can take care of that myself.  However, the power
> > required to convert air into plasma has to be kept as low as possible.  If
> > it is not possible to convert regular air, some alternatives would be nice.
> >
> > Thank you,
> > Fred Reyes
> >
> >
> >
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