Author Options:

What is the cheapest way to make plasma? Answered

I want to be able to shoot plasma out of a coilgun, but I want to know the cheapest way to generate it and other factors involved in doing this ( I.E. would it melt my gun and how to prevent this.).
Any relevant information is welcomed.



Best Answer 7 years ago

I am building a low cost ( only had to buy the torch handle and a small air pressure regulator ) plasma 1/4" thick metal cutter this year.for an ible
to be tied to a good contest if at all possible.
A plasma arc is started inside a ceramic torch tip and air pressure fans
the arc away from the torch towards other metal where the plasma strips
atoms of the target metal away hotter then the sun but a greatly less UV
then a heliarc welder.

Plasma unlike a welder is 300-400VDC and 30-50ADC...
That means touch the wrong thing and you DIE !!!

While a welder is 50V AC DC and 0 - 250A AC DC.
I have survived getting zapped by my welder !


How ever you make the plasma, you'll have to run an electric current through it and use an electromagnetic pulse to fire the plasma

Focusing a high intensity laser can produce plasma.

The cheapest way to make plasma is to scuff your feet on a carpet and touch a doorknob. The spark will briefly ionize the air it passes through, heating it to a temperature above that of the surface of the sun (which is why it flashes white). That's a plasma, though a tiny amount thereof.

Generating any significant amount of plasma for any significant amount of time requires a LOT of energy. I don't think "shoot plasma out of a coilgun" is going to be possible.

Even if you could spray plasma, the charge would cause it to rapidly dissipate; you would *not* get a beam, but something more like a cloud ... which might well ground itself to you, come to think of it.

Sorry, but it just isn't going to happen.

Our US gov tried to make plasma ocean ship weapons at one time.
The process was to create a 3" to 5" dia beam in a vacuum that was then
exposed To ambient sea level pressure. The plasma was somehow able to shield an inner core to act as though still in the originating plasma chamber.

This plasma tube, I understand could extend over a thousand feet ( impressive ).
But aiming or directing the beam ( did you imagine it was straight ) was as likely to U turn back on the plasma generating ship as to meander toward the target.

In those early decades they ( US gov ) didn't have lasers to pre-ionize a straight target trail for a plasma to follow as has been demonstrated in our large spark chambers.

All this was long before the WWeb and the patents, books and references
have long since been cleansed.

Why would you want a slow plasma fire weapon when an exocet missile can tag you over the horizon at the speed of sound anyway.


Exactly. The operative word here is "tried". And that's for a device which can be allowed to weigh tons and cost megabucks even before you add the power supply.

If it was easy enough for an amateur to build, an off-the-shelf version would almost certainly already exist.

I'm not saying impossible; I am saying that you can pretty much forget any possibility of being handed a working solution. If you really want to build this, plan to spend a decade or so on high-energy physics research and hope you are indecently lucky.

(One of my favorite quotes from the Star Wars period: "Would _you_ risk buying a particle-beam weapon from a man who advertised himself as Ronnie Raygun?")

... at least not over any significant distance.

As iceng noted, plasma cutters are a different matter. But they operate almost in contact with the metal; there isn't space or time for repulsion to scatter the plasma.

(I've told that plasma cutter heads are the only commercial use of irridium.)

Your answers are all in the wiki page.  You should learn more about it before trying to create and manipulate it.

Why do you want to know the cheapest way to do "this"?
Without having a budget, why does it matter?