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Arc produced orange lightweight gas? Answered

EMERGENCY: I have been arcing through everyday air in an enclosed container.  An orange gas formed at the top and I am not sure what it is.  The container is plastic and has had a small amount of melting in a top part, but very minimally.  My electrodes are aluminum foil layered over a couple times, melting has occurred slightly on the electrodes.  
10kv 30mA transformer.

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kelseymh
kelseymh

Best Answer 7 years ago

Are you sure it's still a gas? If you invert the closed container, does the orange material move to the new top, or does it stay at the original location? It is possible that your plastic has been discolored by heat.

Do not open the container if you suspect that it is a gas.

Nitrogen dioxide is reddish-brown, and looks "vivid orange" at low concentrations. It is extremely toxic even at low concentrations (3-5 ppm is the industrial limit), and can be fatal.

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jj.inc
jj.inc

Answer 7 years ago

yes, it is a gas. At first I thought it was just discoloration of the plastic through reaction with ozone or atomic oxygen. I turned the container over and it slowly moved up again.

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Jack A Lopez
Jack A Lopez

Answer 7 years ago

Well, I guess it's just like my Grandmama used to say, "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade."

So I think the analogy for your setup is:  if your arc gives you nitrogen oxides, then make nitric acid!   ;-)  Stop me if you've already heard of this one:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birkeland%E2%80%93Eyde_process

BTW, Kelseymh's advice about avoiding breathing those gasses is very wise.