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Please explain about the plasma ball.
- 5B students
Washington School, Monticello, IL USA
As you have probably learned in school, like charges will repel each other and unlike charges will be attracted.
can think of the plasma ball in the following way: Lots of charges of
one kind are put onto the small ball in the center of the sphere, while
the outer glass sphere is attached to "ground" (which just means that
any charges that get end up on the outer glass sphere have a place to
go). Since they are all alike, the charges at the center want to get
away from each other. They do this by jumping out to the glass. We can
see the jumping electrons (the pretty blue light-streams) since there
is a special gas inside the glass sphere that glows wherever the
electrons are jumping.
The glowing blue light-streams are
called a "plasma", which is why the ball is called a "Plasma Ball". A
plasma is actually a fourth state of matter (not a solid a liquid, or a
gas) but that's probably a topic for another question.
(published on 10/22/2007)
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