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Plasmas are sometimes known as the 4th state of matter. In the temperature range, it succeeds to the 3 classical states (solid, liquid and gas). We distinguish very numerous types of plasmas (with physical properties slightly different) depending on pressure and current intensity of the discharges. Their state is mainly characterized by the electron energy and their population number density. In this document, we mainly focus on thermal plasmas.

Thermal plasmas are partially ionized gases composed of a great number of chemical species: ions, electrons and excited species (atoms-molecules) obtained at temperatures going from 5000K to 20000K, and which can be generated by a DC or high frequency electrical discharge at atmospheric pressure or above. The temperature of the heavy particles (ions, neutral atoms, molecules) is close to the temperature of the electrons. They are characterized by an electronic density between 1013 and 1016 cm-3 (even above if pressure increases) and high values of thermal conductivity and viscosity.

The use of plasma in industry is now the source of various experiments. Indeed, plasmas can reach very high temperatures (more than 5000K) and concentrate the thermal energy in volumes (100MW.m-3). They use electricity as source of energy and can be substitued to classical flames generators. Over the past few years, a rising interest has been developed for the plasma technology because of its important potential in industrial applications in various fields.

Industrial applications

Circuits Breakers, Switchgears
Melting application
Electrical discharges in lamps
Plasma spraying
Plasma Sources
Synthesis of nanostrutures
Waste treatment


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Les Arcs électriques

Presentations - CAEXII Conference - Clermont-Ferrand

- Configurations, Challenges and constraints of the electrical networks and HVDC equipmentsLes Configurations, enjeux et contraintes des réseaux et matériels HVDC (Wolfgang Grieshaber, ALSTOM)