Ok, Ive been wondering about this for some time. How to make plasma?

Alright How do make plasma? like the kind thats on the sun.  I here you can make plasma by puting so much electricity into the gas.  How much is that and how can I produce that number?

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lemonie6 years ago

Pumping things with RF works, it's a difficult build but probably your best bet:


I''ve got a RF source in my kitchen! 

Video below is from the Is-It-A-Good-Idea-To-Microwave-This? series:

I'll not post the "er"'s because there would be a lot of them,  interesting stuff - what was that shield-thing?

I think the "shield" is an ordinary door with a bunch of aluminum foil taped to it.
Plasanator6 years ago
I make plams cutters so I make plasma all day long. You can listen to this crap on here or go to my site and get it done. End of story. http://theplasmacutterman.com/index.html
For anyone reading this page who wants to know what the difference between plasma in a fusion reactor, or the center of a star, and other plasma like, plasma in a fluorescent tube,  or plasma in a candle flame... the difference is mainly a matter of electron temperature and density.

Fusion plasma is both hot and dense.  Achieving both temperature and density is tricky because heating a gas(plasma or the ordinary kind) naturally makes it want to expand, and become less dense.  To achieve both high temperatures and high density requires some sort of confinement, more here:

Most of the stories I have encountered of people actually building a fusion reactor in their garage or workshop, are variations on the Farnsworth-Hirsch fusor, an electrostatic inertial confinement device.
there's no way you can make plasma. it's like making fusion in your backyard, witch even today might take an other year. plasma is probably not what you think it is. it's often confused with other stuff.
Re-design6 years ago
When you don't Reply to someone's Answer, it's hard to tell which answer you're ignoring.
Kalrag (author) 6 years ago
Ok The gas would be hydrogen the spark gap is 1 millimeter and the pressure would be a vacuum. Hows that?
In your replies to other answerers, you keep mentioning voltage. There is sort of a critical voltage, or electric field strength (voltage divided by distance), below which a gas is an insulator, and above which the gas breaks down and becomes a conductive plasma.  This is Paschen's law, here:


The breakdown voltage depends on the gas being used,  its pressure, and the length of the spark gap.
Kalrag (author) 6 years ago
thanks that really helped. But I wont deam it best answer till more come in.
Kalrag (author) 6 years ago
Well than how does a tokamak plasma reactor work then its doing the same thing that you are describing.
Websearch will answer that: A tokemak confines the plasma in a magnetic bottle. It doesn't attempt to spray the plasma. Nor, in most real-world laboratory tokamaks, is there actually all that much energy in the plasma, simply because there isn't all that much MASS in the plasma -- the magnetic bottle's needed partly to keep it away from the walls so it doesn't immediately quench itself.

It should be noted that very few tokamaks make any attempt to be "reactors" -- they're research tools for studying the behavior of plasma. The ones which do try to actually reach a high enough temperature and pressure to achieve some fusion are large-room-sized.

Your hypothetical gun is neither large enough (by several orders of magnitude), nor does it have enough of a power source, nor does it have any way to actually direct a jet of plasma while keeping it concentrated and heated ...

You're mistaking plot devices for real-world devices. It's easy in a story, where one can cheat by assuming technologies and materials that don't yet exist and may never exist. Making something actually WORK is a heck of a lot tougher. Making something work that nobody has ever made work before is much, much, much tougher than that. Making something work that you can't even advance a plausible theory for is still more difficult.

I won't say impossible. I will say that if the experts can't do it, you probably shouldn't expect to do so... at least not without a heck of a lot more knowledge than you're going to find here on Instructables, a heck of a lot more money than you expect it to take, a heck of a lot more time than you expect it to take, and one blippity heck of a lot of luck.

If you're serious, the place to start is by getting a degree in high-energy physics. I'd recommend checking out MIT, since I know they've done a significant amount of work in the field of plasma. They used to host the National Magnet Laboratory, which included Alcator, which is the largest tokamak I, personally, have seen.
Actually, an even better citation for your purposes: Look up "plasma cutters". These are real-world tools which use a jet of plasma as a cutting element. Note the limits on how far that jet can reach before it and/or the heat it carries have dissipated.

Sorry, but it's Really Hard to beat the inverse square law. Especially when there's other matter (eg, atmosphere) in the way.

You can also look up some of the proposals that were thrown around back in the Star Wars days -- and the explanations of why they wuldn't work. ("Would _you_ buy a particle-beam weapon from a man called Ronnie Ray-Gun?")
Kalrag (author) 6 years ago
Ok heres some specifics. Im useing hydrogen gas and the distace of the gap is 1 millimeter. And if you really need to know the perpose im trying to develope a plasma gun and need plasma that could like really burn you. I mean HOT!
Producing a hot plasma is easy -- that happens every time you produce a static electricity spark. SUSTAINING heat is harder, but an electric arc such as a welder will certainly do that. Keeping the gas hot while moving it somewhere else? Science fiction. Unless you've got a supply of unobtainium and sixty'leven other things not yet known to science, your plasma gun Ain't Gonna Happen Nohow. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that's the facts, kid.
orksecurity6 years ago

Depends on the gas, and depends on exactly how rarified the gas is, and depends on how far apart the contacts are. (More distance, more resistance, more voltage to obtain the same current.) And depends in part on the waveform being applied, I believe; for example, you may need a surge to strike the arc, but thereafter be able to lower the voltage.

Every neon (and other gasses) advertising display out there is producing a plasma. On a smaller scale, I think the NE1/NE2 neon bulbs used as pilot lights in many devices will start lighting up somewhere around 40V.  Gas discharge tubes of other sorts exist; I have an Edison-base Argon bulb which was made for use as a relatively early UV source, and they're a standard classroom physics demonstration since the spectra of light emitted by different gasses will differ, due to different electron orbitals being excited.

Of course, the plasma in these isn't very much "like the sun" -- it's tremendously lower temperature, there's no fusion taking place, etc. It's just ionized gas, and generally not _fully_ ionized gas.

So: I've given you one answer: 40V, over a very short distance, will work for neon. Does that help?
Kalrag (author) 6 years ago
ignoring re-design
Kalrag (author) 6 years ago
I know about all of that the confinment the temps everything I just want to know what amount of voltage turns gas into plasma in a vacuum. Ive done tons of research and came here for help.
If it's a vacuum there IS NO gas.
Kalrag (author) 6 years ago
The thing is I want the VOLTS I keep saying it. How many volts does it take to make plasma?
frollard6 years ago
The microwave cut grape experiment works -- but I'd advise against using a good microwave.
g-one6 years ago

Have a look to this video:
kelseymh is right. You will not be able to generate this kind of plasma.
Kalrag (author) 6 years ago
What I meant was the kind on the sun not like cold plasma and i meant voltage. But thanks anyway
kelseymh Kalrag6 years ago
Did you even try doing a Web search? There is plenty of useful information on how to make high temperature plasmas -- it's more than just voltage, you need magnetic fields, physical enclosures, vacuum, all kinds of stuff. If you don't know that already, and are unwilling to do the research you need to do, then you are unlikely to be successful.
kelseymh6 years ago
Your terminology implies that you don't actually know what you want to do (and I'm ignoring the spelling and grammar).

"Putting electricity into gas" -- do you think you're talking about voltage? Current? Power?

"Plasma like the kind 'on' the Sun"  -- the entire solar volume (not just the surface) is plasma.  Do you really think you want to make a multi-million degree fusion plasma?  And do that without a billion dollar facility?

Producing low-temperature plasma is not that difficult.  Try starting with the Wikipedia article on plasma. Then try typing "plasma" into the Instructable's search box.  You'll find plenty of examples.