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20 September 2013

At http://phys.org/print298706437.html … plasma is a hot gas where molecules become ionised – in effect, charged particles. Plasma is abundant in the universe but on Earth is confined to lightning bolts, flames, and aurora. Plasma, in recent years, has been used by industry – plasma reactors for example (yet to become commercially viable), solar cells, flourescent lights, display screens (including TVs), and air tight packaging. It is used in metallurgy, plasma spraying and coating, micro-electronic etching, metal cutting and welding, and in aerospace engineering.

 It is a versatile substance – and is a potential source of power. Problems exist with reactors however as plasma has a tendency to reach high temperatures that ignite spontaneously if it is not stopped quickly enough. Researchers now think they understand what happens and hope they will be able to avert problems. See also www.iopscience.iop.org/0963-0252/22/5/055006/article

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