How Do Plasma Cutters Actually Work?
A plasma cutter is an object that can pass through even the ferrous of materials like metals and steel and that is because of the contribution of the unique properties of plasma.
Prior to us continuing the discussion about plasma cutter and how it works, let us first define what plasma really is. Plasma, defined by wikipedia, is one of the four fundamental states of matter (other being the solid, liquid and gas) and is also known as an ionized gas which consists of positive ions and free electrons in proportions that results in more or less no overall electric charge, typically at low pressures (can be observed in the upper atmosphere and with fluorescent lamps) or at very high temperatures (like the stars and nuclear fusion reactors). Before, many schools teach about the state of matter having only three which are the solid, liquid and gas but the truth is that, there really is four of them and the fourth one being the plasma. As what is being mentioned in the previous statement, a plasma define as an ionized gas in which sufficient energy is being provided to free electrons coming from atoms or molecules and also, it is the one that enables the coexistence of ions and electrons. If you are curious as to how plasma are made, you can try boosting a gas to an extremely high temperature and you will get plasma. If the has is being boosted into an extremely high temperature, it will cause the energy to break the gas molecules apart and also, the atoms will start splitting. Apart from that, the fast moving electrons will also collide with the other electrons and ions thus releasing an enormous amount of energy. The amazing cutting power of plasma is caused by the enormous amount of energy being released by the collision of electrons and ions.
Plasma cutters actually works by sending an electric arc through a gas which is passing through a constricted opening. You can find in the middle of the channel a negatively charged electrode. Once you apply any power to the negatively charged electrode, and you touched the tip of the nozzle to a positively charged metal, what will happen is that a connection will be made and it creates a circuit and a very powerful spark as well. Plasma will be produced once the has that has been passing through the channel will be heated by the spark until it reach its fourth state form, so to speak. Once the temperature of plasma reached an amazing level of thirty thousand degree Fahrenheit, it became capable of cutting through almost anything, even metals and steels.
Aside from the ones being mentioned above, plasma cutter can also work by creating a high velocity plasma flow between the negatively charged electrode and the positively charged one.