Investigation of the intensity and pattern of plasma movement in an inert gas discharge tube

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



In a multiple plasma beam system such as a plasma ball, random motions were observed. The mechanism behind the motion was of principle interest to our study. We hypothesized that convection was the predominant factor in the observed movement. Since convection is dependent on gravitational forces, we proposed that the role of convection in the movement of the plasma beams could be determined by careful observation in a reduced gravity environment such as that provided by the KC-135. The results from two flights aboard the NASA KC-135 suggest that buoyancy-driven convection plays an important role in the movement of plasma streamers in an inert gas discharge tube but it is not the sole cause of movement. The complex mechanism by which the plasma streamers move is due in part to electrostatic forces existing between individual streamers, which cause repulsion or attraction that could not be followed in this study. © 2003 by John A. Pojman. Published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., with permission.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

41st Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit

This document is currently not available here.