Step 1: Plasma at Home
Plasma isn't that rare anyway, it's all around us, biggest example is the sun, and going down to lightning, fluorescent light bulb, neon sign, electric welding etc.. Yet I managed to directly create plasma, exposed and close, and here you need to realize the dangers of this act, plasma emits large amount of dangerous radiation mainly UV which could damage your eyes, this is why a protective mask should be wore while electric welding, other wise you'll get flash burns or known as Welder's flash, or worse, get your retina permanently damaged.
Step 2: Getting Started
We will be ionizing air molecules and creating plasma using high DC voltage, this can be obtained in many ways, specific circuit board with transformer fed by AC voltage from the mains, connecting many batteries in series ( I do not recommend this though ), or my favorite way, using solar panels. The thing I like about solar panels is that they never run out of energy, just constantly giving DC voltage as long as the sun is up, they're like infinite batteries, collecting energy from space and giving it to you in the form of a DC voltage, how amazing is that!
Step 3: Set Up
Materials and work are very simple, all you need is:
• a set of solar panels ( I used 20 80w )
• some thick connecting wires
• two carbon rods/ thick metal screws
Simply connect your solar panels in a way to obtain considerable current ( 3A or more is good ), and high voltage ( 200v or more ) at the same time ( I connected them all in series since each already gave 4.65A , total voltage was 460v ), then using long thick wires connect to solar panels set, and at the other end firmly attach the two carbon rods/ thick metallic screws, and you're done!
Step 4: Creating Plasma
Please pay attention, in such set you're going to deal with extremely dangerous voltage and UV radiation, use isolated gloves and UV goggles while working and never touch the screws at the end.
To create the plasma arc strike the two screws together and pull them apart slowly, an extremely bright arc of light will be formed between them, this is the plasma, 19,460 °C right right between your hands, it'll be deviated upwards because of its temperature.
When you strike the two screws together a spark is made, and air molecules between get sudden energy shock which produces the spark, but since you have considerable current, this spark will be used by the electrons to cross from one screw to another, and so more and more air molecules get broken and ionized, until you get the constant fire-like stream of bright plasma, but and it can be blown off by the wind because it's just a stream of ionized and broken molecules of air so pick a non windy day to do it, longest length I reached was 18cm.
By the way the solar panels will not be damaged by this act ( please correct me if I'm wrong ) since it has high internal resistance, I've been doing this for long time and they seem just fine. now it's time to have some fun..
Step 5: Experiments
I did many experiments with this set up, I melted and boiled metals, glass, and even rocks and concrete! I found that when glass and rocks are at high temperature they become conductors ( since atoms become free and high energetic ). The photos illustrate how the concrete was molten and boiled, last three photos are for a piece of rock after being slightly molten, and the black thing is a stretched drop of lava after cooling..
Step 6: Notes
Never stare at the stream of plasma with bare eye or else you'll get flash burns, ask me about them, I tried it ( when I wanted to check if plasma emits UV ) and it wasn't nice, later the day you'll get an extreme pain in your eyes like they're filled with rough small wooden pieces, very painful it was.
And when you're done pack everything back you don't want someone to accidentally touch the wires, I also done that accidentally one day :p, the good thing is that the sun was setting so the amps were low, it's DC voltage so your muscles won't shake and contract rapidly, they'll just contract as strong as they can, the way I was holding the wires made my hand contract throwing it away, lucky I was that day :p
This project might be of a high budget but you can simply reuse the solar panels for what they're made for, charging batteries and powering your house.