This is the continuation of looking into plasma part 2 and how plasma can be used in today’s society as well as what has been happening in the research fields.
Previously in the first post we discussed what plasma actually is and how it was in a physical state above a gaseous state, with free elections and ions.
It was briefly mentioned at the end of the post the broad spectrum of the applications plasma could be used in. Which leads us to this post.
So Germany has done it again as they try and find new ways to help the environment and finding alternatives to produce energy.
Which just recently through their Wendelstein 7-X fusion device. Which has managed to produce its first hydrogen plasma.
So the Wendelstein 7-X is a stellarator fusion device. Now a stellarator is just the term in which hot plasmas can be confined and with the aid of a magnetic field it can control a nuclear fusion reaction.
The goal with this machine is to be a power plant, which does not harm the environment or climate and is a suitable alternative to other power plants. As the press release mentions the Wendelstein will not be producing energy but can show that it is effective at being a power plant. With it’s main source being plasma.
As society continues to advance, power plants using plasma are not the only option. As seen in University of Maryland there have been many advancements with materials.
For example there has been research going into sterilising medical instruments and equipment. Which means that tools and instruments can be more effective, as the low intensity plasma can remove biomolecules and toxic proteins.
This addresses a few problems with medical equipment, pointed out by EurekAlert “These molecules are not always inactivated by conventional sterilization.” Which furthers the risk of medical problems.
Although one issue that the University found was that using the plasma and cleaning the equipment can lead to damaging reduce their performance due to the harsh reaction with plasma.
Furthermore, there has been excitement over this from the university and the researchers, as it only requires electrical energy and furthermore can operate in atmospheric conditions
Making it portable as well as being able to tackle infections that may be resistant to antibiotics.
Both EurekAlert, and the universities are mentioning that more research needs to be done and explored into using this type of plasma.
Yet their desired outcome is to be able to improve medical sterilisation against harmful toxins and bacteria, which may not be removed by basic methods.
It is encouraging to see the amount of effort that has been explored into using plasma, which can be seen from phys.org and the constant research to increase the efficiency of machines.
Who knows what might happen in the future and where plasmas could actually take us, as society keeps innovating and improving upon what we know.
All I can say is stick around for the next post, as we will look at what could be install for our future in plasma.
Milch I 2016, Wendelstein 7-X fusion device produces its first hydrogen plasma, Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, retrieved 2 May 2016, <http://www.ipp.mpg.de/4010154/02_16>
Science X network 2016, Plasma Physics, Phys.org, retrieved 2 May 2016, <http://phys.org/physics-news/plasma/>
The Department of Materials Science and Engineering 2016, Materials Science and Engineering: Plasma, University of Maryland, retrieved 2 May 2016, <http://www.mse.umd.edu/whatismse/plasma>
The Department of Materials Science and Engineering 2016, Plasma for Disinfection Study Wins DOE Grant, University of Maryland, retrieved 2 May 2016, <http://www.mse.umd.edu/news/news_story.php?id=5167>
American Institute of Physic 2011, Redefining ‘clean’, EurekAlert, retrieved 2 May 2016, <http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-10/aiop-r103111.php>
LoganArt 2014, Sun, Image, Pixabay, retrieved 8 May 2016, <http://pixabay.com/en/sun-heat-planet-solar-system-space-581377/>