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Is Plasma a real state of matter?

Is Plasma a real state of matter? Can it be achieved through any element? What are the molecule bonds within plasma like?
Cameron Jones from Glasgow (Age: 5-14)

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One Response

  1. Whether plasma is real state of matter is an interesting question; it hinges on what a plasma is. The common answer is yes!

    A plasma is usually defined as a state of matter where electrons are no longer bound to the atomic nuclei. The standard way to make a plasma is to heat ordinary matter to extremely high temperatures, while keeping it in a limited space. In that case the motion due to temperature shakes the electrons loose from the nuclei, and we get a plasma. Since all electrons are bound in the same way, but not all equally strongly, different elements loose there electrons at different temperatures, but all will do so if the temperature is high enough.

    If we apply heat, we are thus moving from “ordinary matter” to a “full ionised” plasma, where charged electrons and nuclei float around independendently. In such a plasma there are no atoms, and thus no molecules, and thus no bonds.

    In the intermediate stage, where some of the electrons are still bound, we may have some formation of charged molecules.

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