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PLASMA The Fourth State of Matter Presented By: Margaret Milligan July 8,2004 SCE 6103 Review of Matter Quick Review Three States of Matter Solid Liquid Gas Physical ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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  • The Fourth State of Matter

Presented By Margaret Milligan July 8,2004 SCE
Review of Matter
  • Quick Review
  • Three States of Matter
  • Solid
  • Liquid
  • Gas
  • Physical Changes
  • Substances can change from one state to another
  • Ex Ice ? Water ? Steam
  • Interesting Fact Water is the only material on
    Earth that is found as a solid, liquid, and gas

The Fourth State of Matter
  • First three states of matter are commonly known.
  • Fourth State of Matter is known as plasma.
  • Consists of positive ions and free electrons
  • Exists only at high temperatures
  • Not common in everyday life but is the
    predominant phase of matter in the universe
  • Good Conductor of electricity

What is Plasma?
  • Continued heating of a liquid causes the
    molecules to separate into atoms.
  • When temperatures exceed 2000C the atoms will be
    shaken apart.
  • We now have a gas of positive ions and free
  • Acts like a gas but it conducts electricity and
    is affected by magnetic fields.

A soft X-ray image of the sun
Where can I find plasma?
  • Substances that are in the fourth state
  • Fluorescent lamps
  • Advertising signs
  • Sun and other stars
  • Intergalactic matter
  • The aurora borealis
  • High altitude gases in the northern sky are
    transformed into glowing plasmas by the
    bombardment of charged particles
  • Plasma cutters

Plasma Cutter
  • Plasma cutters work by sending an electric arc
    through a gas that is passing through a
    constricted opening.  The gas can be shop air,
    nitrogen, argon, oxygen. etc. This elevates the
    temperature of the gas to the point that it
    enters a 4th state of matter.  We all are
    familiar with the first three i.e., solid,
    liquid, and gas.   Scientists call this
    additional state plasma.  As the metal being cut
    is part of the  circuit, the electrical
    conductivity of the plasma causes the arc to
    transfer to the work.  The restricted opening
    (nozzle) the gas passes through causes it to
    squeeze by at a high speed. This high speed gas
    cuts through the molten metal.  The gas is also
    directed around the perimeter of the cutting area
    to shield the cut.

Teaching Plasma
  • High School
  • Research uses of plasma. Choose an item that is
    made of plasma or uses plasma and explain what
    causes it or how it works. Report back to the
  • Distribution of Charge activity (see handout)
  • Students will be able to see ionized air (plasma
    state) in the form of tiny blue beams between the
    dome of the generator and the rod.
  • Plasma Ball Demo (see handout)
  • Using the principles of plasma to explain and
    demonstrate charges and electricity.

Text References
  • Cunningham and Herr. Hands-on Physics Activities
    with Real-life Applications West Nyack NY The
    Center for Applied Research in Education, 1994
  • Gibilisco, Stan. Physics DeMystified Chicago IL
    McGraw-Hill, 2002.
  • Hewitt, Paul. Conceptual Physcis Glenview IL
    Prentice Hall, 2002.
  • Serway and Faughn. Physics New York NY Holt,
    Rinehart, and Winston, 1999.

Internet Resources
  • Plasma Ball demo http//
  • 20Ball/PlasmaBall.pdf
  • How a Plasma Cutter works http//www.plasma-cutter
  • How a Van de Graaf Generator works
  • Plasma Physics and Magnetohydodynamics
  • Plasma, Plasma, Everwhere http//