Xpeng Stock – TECHNOLOGY – The National
Plasma at work in our universe
By MICHAEL JOHN UGLO
Physics of plasma and technology
WELCOME on board, the general populace out there reading these Technology articles.
You are sparing your K2 just for the Friday’s Technology articles and that speaks volumesy. I am generating information of a kind that kindles and rekindles a lively, very vibrant atmosphere filled with awe and tidings.
This now opens up our discussion in what may seem a very technical topic but you know I am ever ready always to simplify it for your understanding and its application in the world today.
Plasma physics are two words for plasma is state of matter and then, physics you know is a subject taught in the grades eleven to twelve sciences and then proceeds on to the tertiary institutions such as universities.
Physics is the study of matter and energy and their interactions with each other. Such interactions include the physical forces of the matter and energy in gravity, electromagnetic forces, and nuclear forces of the sub-atomic particles as well as the nuclear forces that holds the nucleic particles together.
Plasma physics basically looks at the total matter in the form known as the plasma. We knew there are three stages of matter which are solids, liquids and gases and now the fourth matter you can add to the list is plasma.
Like specialty terms for any field of study you are engaged in, plasma was one of the first science terms I have learnt while doing Grade 11 at Sogeri National High School in the Central Province of PNG in Biology. Plasma we knew was a medium that transports the corpuscles of the red and white blood cells together with germs as a medium of flow through a blood vascular tube. The name actually was adapted from this medium of flow as a thermo-ionic flow to a filament of electrons and ionized gas seen as a plasma flow.
Now in technology, for ever always, man is at the art of questioning and inquisitively navigating into unexplored areas to find resources to tap into and use to ameliorate self. One discovered is the plasma. Plasma is an ionised medium of a gas that is to mean that an ever-present subatomic particle called an electron is displaced from its orbital by a strong temperature or heat and or by a strong electromagnetic force. You know the earth’s orbital is around itself on its axis and revolves around the sun at the same time. The electron can be likened to the planet earth revolving on a mega scale.
When one or more than one electron is removed from their orbitals or positions, then the neutrality condition of an atom is destabilised. Therefore, a new condition or state is created known as the plasma state whereby the ionized state of the gas in the middle while the electrons are displaced and take the outlying positions of the new state of the plasma. This new state is highly conductive because the ions in the plasma state and the electrons are charged particles which can conduct electricity and at the same time can be affected by the magnetic field or magnetic effect from far distances. However, the extent to which they show magnetic flux density and electric charge, electric effect and current are minimal as they form Debye sheaths which is an electric dipole moment or measure of electric polarity to demonstrate that they maintain a near neutral state just like any other state of the matter like solid, liquid or gas. Also, they are highly sensitive to attain a near thermodynamic equilibrium to state that the electrons as measured in kelvin and electron-volts dissipate heat to heavier species such as the ions, atoms and molecules whereby heat is equally spread in such a manner.
Applications in technology
The presence of plasma in nature are basically the lightning that strikes from the sky, the solar wind from the solar system that all ionised gasses like helium ion is swept away from the sun due to a high heat and expansion and then an electromagnetic attraction from a critical point along the theoretical string in nature.
Trapping of these plasma are seen in the intergalactic locations such as the nebulae. Most obviously what goes on inside the sun is composed of plasma and concurrently all stars compose of plasmas because they are at an exceedingly higher temperature that ionise hydrogen gas from deuterium and tritium atoms into a plasma medium whilst when given a relaxed state form the nucleus of the helium atomic gas.
They then proceed to combine in triplicate to form a carbon nucleus which is the basic building block for all living things on earth. Most conspicuous is the fire when ionised with a high enough energy is manifested in a flame of plasma. Also, naturally you have a mercury vapour lamp when the electrons at 10,000 Kelvin are able to light up while leaving the mercury ion in a plasma state still at room temperature.
Scientists have tapped into this huge potential by creating artificial plasma in technology to enhance life with creative and innovative products. Such products will include the smelting of the aluminium ores with a very high temperature plasma arcs that break up aluminium oxide (Al2O3) to obtain the aluminium metal.
We are aware that plasma results form a very high temperature and very high magnetic field that dislocate electrons from their respective energy levels. However, a non-thermal or cold plasma that involves a very long wave radiation emission is a promising technology whose uses are explored commercially.
Including such uses, plasma displays in TVs and plasma displays of fluorescent tubes that provides lights and illuminations are a common scene with electric arcs which are an illuminating plasma as a by-product of longwave radiation emissions.
Semiconductor fabrications are done with plasma technologies to etch as well as atom alignments in the formation of integrated circuits.
Also, the rocket exhaust produces plasmas from its very hot engine as can be seen from the rocket emissions as they pass over you in the sky with the white cloud which is not a cloud or water vapour but rather is an ionized exhaust gas. Magnetically induced microwaves are produced from plasma at very long wave lengths.
There are also further uses in medicine to inactivate harmful bacterial cells with plasma produced from the low atmospheric pressures and microwaves to safeguard people. It can be applied to any harmful viral, bacterial or fungal cell as a therapy using the plasmas when the microbes’ livelihoods are inhibited. This is an emerging field in the plasma medicine studies.
Current trends in plasma physics
Among the many uses of this potential of the plasma resource, there are emerging beneficial technologies that can be accrued. Just by looking at the artificial plasmas, where a difference in the temperature for electrons to have a very high temperature range and the ions as the remaining plasma component in a normal room temperature can be employed to produce many things as we have alluded to. More uses given this potential are available such as making huge supersonic or hypersonic flights, using as missile guidance system, surface cleaning, chemical depositions to make products, metallurgy industries for cutting, shielding and so on. The power sources used to generate the radio wave frequencies and the microwave frequencies, using both alternative currents and direct currents holds an immense future for plasmas for its production and uses in industries such as the electronics industries as well as health and agriculture. We are using a basic life support system in the form of an energy weapon to render control on all areas of life to as far as biochemical levels as well as electromagnetic fronts.
Furthermore, we are using electromagnetic manipulations to come up with electronic products such as coatings and electronic and electrical pathways that involve striations and filamentations. These are the pathways for such as a very tiny plasma medium in a charged particle like a positron can travel to find an ending. Such depictions are seen in the interstellar nebulae blasts and can also be seen in an event like the lightning. It can also is evident in the polar winds and the auroras in polar lights and the southern lights on the planet earth.
Plasma as a matter containing electrons and ions due to a higher temperature and technology intervened to use at a level of cold plasmas, has vast uses such as doing cleaning to removing oil and grease to very tiny nano-levels.
Industrial investors and education funding is greatly needed to advance into this technology as more innovations can be made in the plasma technology.
You see, when the world is looking for resources to help the earth’s citizens to enjoy living on this bluish green ball called the planet earth that rotates freely in space, technology has now come to our rescue with this huge resource as the entire universe is made of it.
Studies are currently underway to determine the morphology of the universe in the black hole together with dark energy which works to disintegrate the universe while the dark matter acts as a cosmic cement to hold it together in unity and harmony.
Next week: Electromagnetism in technology
- Michael Uglo is the author of the Science textbook Science in PNG, Pacific, Asia & Caribbean and a lecturer in avionics, auto-piloting and aircraft engineering. Please send comments to [email protected]
Chinese robot cars set the record for longest driverless distance
TESLA competitor XPeng has completed a record-breaking road trip along China’s east coast with its autonomous cars in a bid to show how robot systems perform in the real world.
The Chinese start-up used a fleet of its electric P7 models to cover the 3,670km route from Guangzhou to Beijing in one week. The cars visited 10 cities in six provinces.
The route includes a range of complex and busy highways and for 2,900km the company’s NGP (navigation guided pilot) was in charge. The driver on board each car seldom had to intervene, achieving an average of 0.71 human driver interventions per 100km.
This sets a new benchmark for long-distance autonomous driving by mass production passenger vehicles. The NGP system uses 14 cameras, five radars, 12 sensors and sophisticated, high-definition mapping.
Experts say everyday autonomous driving is still a way off but the tests shows how well robot cars can cope with difficult conditions such as driving through rainstorms and in mountain areas.
Xpeng said the average success rate of the cars for lane changing and overtaking was 94.4 per cent, with similar figures for highway ramp entering and passing through tunnels.
“The expedition has fully challenged the robustness and reliability of the NGP function,” said Xpeng chairman He Xiaopeng at a press briefing.
In regular electric mode the P7 electric can cover up to 700km on a single charge.
Chinese internet giant Alibaba has been investing heavily in XPeng and it also has a substantial stake in Zhiji Motor, the electric offshoot of state-run SAIC Motor. – dpa