A plasma globe is a must-have item for any aspiring weekend physicist. A variety of interesting demos are possible using the swarming streams of ionized particles produced by conducting a high voltage spark through a partial vacuum. There are many informative web sites about plasma physics (see sample links below), so this instructable just provides construction details with a minimal focus on theory.

The most challenging step when building a plasma globe is the evacuation of a glass container on the cheap -- vacuum pumps can be pricey. However, a good quality glass jar w/a narrow neck, a rubber sink stopper, a threaded bolt, a suitable high voltage power source (such as a Tesla Coil), tap water, some hardware and epoxy as well as access to a freezer are what you will need to assemble this simple project. If you can boil water, this project will be will be a breeze. :>D

Of course, use common sense and always keep safety in mind while operating the globe. This project involves electricity and water! If you accidentally connect with the high voltage circuit, the resulting shock can really ruin your weekend plans.

For Further Info

Step 1: Prepare Stopper & Assemble Discharge Electrode

     First, locate a glass container with a volume anywhere from .25  to 1.00 liter. If you can find one, a round bottom, boiling flask makes the best container. Next, locate a sink stopper that's the correct size. Make sure that the stopper fits tightly into the neck of the jar or flask. I used a 1.00 liter flask found in a box of discarded university lab supplies and a 1-1/2 inch stopper from a local hardware store.

     Drill or punch a hole in the stopper's center just large enough to accept a threaded bolt. Secure the bolt in place w/a washer and nut on each side as shown. The bolt, which will be the discharge electrode, should be long enough so the head is positioned near the center of the flask.

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