Define plasma and give its general characteristics.

The fourth State of Matter – The Plasma

The fourth State of Matter

“A unique state of matter containing a significant variety of electronically billed contaminants (a variety adequate to impact its electric qualities and behavior) is called plasma.”
Plasma is the fourth state of matter. It was identified by William crooks in 1879. He obtained it by heating molecular gas changing into the atomic form and then to ionic form at the higher temperature.

                                     (Molecular gas —– Atomic gas —– Ions)

  • At a higher temperature of 104 to 105 K. electrons are removed from the atoms to form ions.
  • Plasma is studied in the atmosphere of the sun and stars and in the researches on nuclear fusion.
  • Plasma is composed of a mixture of un-ionized gas, free electron, and positively charged particles.
  • Most of the universe contains matter in the plasma state (about 99%). All shining stars are made up of plasma. On our planet earth, plasma does not exist in the free state.

Properties Of Plasma

It is a substance in which many of the atoms or molecules are ionized effectively allowing charges to flow freely. It takes place at a very high temperature. Plasma has the following properties:

  1. Plasma consists of neutral particles, positive ions, and negative electrons.
  2. Plasma may also be called as free electrons in a metal.
  3. Plasma is strongly influenced by both magnetic and electric force.
  4. Plasma shows a characteristic glow depending upon the gas present in the discharge tube e.g. oxygen gives a red glow, hydrogen green, and Nitrogen purple or pink glow.

Effect of Heating Gases to Extremely High Temperature (Applying)

The fourth type of matter i.e plasma State is formed when an extremely high temperature is applied to a molecular gas. The molecular gas is first converted to atomic gas and ultimately to ions.
                               Molecular gas —– Atomic gas —– ions 
Resulting plasma consists of ions, positive or negative. The negatively charged ions i.e electron are mostly called plasma.

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