Instructables

how can i make a toy plasma thruster that actually works???

I'd like to know how to make a plasma thruster like the one on that one youtube video. If you know how, or you were the one who put up that video, please put up an instructable on it and send me the link. You can reply to this post on my orangeboard on my profile, thanks...

Youtube video: Plasma thruster:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=s_wwEKp6SGk


a plasma thruster? are you insane?

plasma thrusters are highly experimental and DANGEROUS.

you need HIGH density SOLID HEAT RESISTANT METAL. half an inch thick solid burn-proof glass.

you need 2 ICRH antennas (i have no idea where you would get thoes)

a quartz pipe (good luck)

a HIGH amount of hydrogen (is that even legal?) or helium gas.

HUGE magnet coils (superpowered)

a cone with high powered metal sheets around it. (magnetic again)

added to the fact the thing is MASSIVE. you could never make a "toy" plasma engine (thruster) that actually works. its impossible. they are HUGE, they need to be huge.

and the "toy" part. good luck putting that on a TOY.
Er, you know fluorescent tubes?

That's plasma in there...

You might need some of that equipment if you want to study plasma fusion, but most working plasma thrusters are little more than CRTs with no front on the tube.

For instance:

Last summer, for fun, Batishchev’s students successfully assembled a version of the plasma rocket using a recycled glass bottle and aluminum can, instead of the quartz tube and radio-frequency antenna (see video). "This shows that this is a robust, simple design. So in principal, an even simpler design could be developed," he said.
That previous one ran on nitrogen.

This one runs on a plasma generated from water. 
You MIGHT make a case that a plasma cutter is also a type of thruster.
In free-fall, it would probably work.

(With a long enough extension lead...)
notice how he says "plasma thruster"

not a plasma engine, or nitrogen engine.

whatever he might be referencing. is NOT a plasma thruster. google plasma thruster and click image.

http://spacetourismsociety.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/vasimr.png

thats a plasma thruster. they are BIG, and experimental. not used in toys like he suggests.
You're playing semantics. Plasma engines are plasma thrusters are plasma drives. Same thing.

They're tiny compared to equivalent chemical rockets, and they are not relegated to "experimental", they're in regular use. Vasimr is experimental, but there are a dozen or more other plasma-based drives that have been developed. Russian satellite systems have used plasma drives for over 40 years.

As near as I can tell, you joined this site purely to start an argument. Sorry, try some other mug, maybe one who doesn't know what he's talking about, on some other site where attacks are tolerated.

Try YouTube.
Ninjakaib2 years ago
Here I found this: http://myelectricengine.com/projects/mpdthruster/mpdthruster.html
Hope it helps.
hunter5663 years ago
OK So i read this but i got a question, Is the high voltage only needed to start the rocket or is it needed through the entire reaction?
xarlock6674 years ago
My understanding is that you want to make a larger scale plasma thruster, presumably for some kind of rocket. That being the case a plasma rocket motor is easy to construct, but dangerous to operate.

First you need some kind of fuel to ionize. Air is convenient and plentiful. Just having air is not enough. You either need to have a blower, or a compressed air source to keep enough air flowing that the plasma stream won't move and eat your rocket.

Now that you have air, you need a high voltage continuous power source. By high voltage, I mean several hundred volts to start, many plasma torches use 400vdc.

Once you have air and power, you need a nozzle to handle the air and voltage and survive the plasma. If your rocket cannot contain the plasma for any time, it will just catch fire, and maybe explode. In many plasma torches they use an electric spark fired from an electrode into the grounded work surface to create the plasma. Air is injected twice through this nozzle, once through the spark to ignite and create plasma, and once AROUND the plasma to keep it from eating the rest of the nozzle. This also serves to keep the nozzle cool and not melt so fast.

You cannot use that method, as you have no grounded surface to touch. That being the case, you need to create a spark perpendicular (Intersecting at a right angle) to the flow of air. This will cause the air to ignite into plasma, and expand like fuel dumped into a jet engine in afterburn. The longer you can contain this plasma, the more thrust it will provide.

Please understand that plasma WILL try to get away from you. It has high magnetic fields and they are pretty random. This will "Push" the stream in different directions, and so this is inherently dangerous. If the plasma makes contact with any surface, it will eat it rapidly.
acetec4 years ago
 Plasma Thrusters more commonly known in the world of science as Magnetoplasmadynamic Thrusters use the hall effect 
HD Plasma5 years ago
I never knew you could make something as cool as that yourself. I always assumed plamsa referred to a plasma television rather than the negative ion generator above. Quality.
conrad24685 years ago
ok its called a negative ion generator i do believe....here is how it works...i think... the air coming in is + air the current flowing through the generator is a negative thus attracting the incoming air....this is how the ionic breeze works the downside is this produces O3 aka ozone but not enough to do any damage...unless you lock yourself in an airtight box for a week...anyway it barely produces any "wind" whatsoever but is nice to have cause when you turn off the lights it has this cool blue light...here is a link to my friends touching the high voltagehere is a link to my friends touching the high voltage..idiots...actually their my friends
tech-king6 years ago
plasma is a more or less expanding gaz. producing it in a tube with one end blocked produces thrust, albeit not as much as chemical fuel (h2o2). any high voltage source (such as an aic or marx generator) will work.
MrE tech-king5 years ago
Plasma is NOT an expanding gas. It is a fourth state of matter, while there is some small contraction and expansion between different matter states as they change from one to the other there is not a usable amount for thrust. Plasma can used to start reactions for combustibles. However plasma is often misunderstood because of the fact that it often needs a gas reaction environment and a high power source to get going. As further stated by someone else plasma can be used in ion drives but these are meant for long term goals deep in outer space over a period of time, where thrust is cumulative. Hope this helps clear up and misconceptions about plasma vs thrust.
Plasmana5 years ago
Kiteman6 years ago
A pair of electrodes connected to a high-voltage supply arc across a flow of water.

The water is zapped into charged plasma, flowing between the electrodes.

Under the white material (a sheet of PTFE) are a pair of magnets. The charged plasma is pushed by the magnets in exactly the same way as a charge-carrying wire is pushed inside a motor.

All of which you would have found if you had followed the link to the thruster maker's site.

For a similar process that uses lower voltage but achieves vaguely-useful thrust is the magnetohydrodynamic effect (sometimes known as a "caterpillar drive"), which uses water in the place of plasma.

Like this little toy from EMS: