Plasma cutter in a sheet metal shop

Plasma – one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being solid, liquid, and gas). Heating a gas may ionize its molecules or atoms, turning it into a plasma, which contains charged particles: positive ions and negative electrons or ions. Ionization can be induced with a laser or microwave generator.

Plasma cutting – a process that is used to cut steel and other metals of different thicknesses (or sometimes other materials) using a plasma torch. In this process, an inert gas (in some units, compressed air) is blown at high speed out of a nozzle; at the same time an electrical arc is formed through that gas from the nozzle to the surface being cut, turning some of that gas to plasma. The plasma is sufficiently hot to melt the metal being cut and moves sufficiently fast to blow molten metal away from the cut.

  • industrial
  • artistic

Engineering ideas

  • inert, compressed air, electrical arc, plasma, molten metal