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Thursday, August 20, 2015

PLASMA

Ordinary matter can exist in four states, three are most commonly observable to us. The three states that we commonly observe are solid, liquid and gas.

However there exists a fourth state of matter and it happens to be the most common state of ordinary matter in the entire universe, but it is not commonly observed by us on earth. That state of matter is called plasma. 99% of the ordinary matter in the universe is in plasma state. So on earth's surface we are essentially living in an island that is free from matter that is in plasma state. 

In the plasma state of matter is a combination of highly ionised atoms and free electrons. The sun and other stars comprises of hydrogen atoms in plasma state of matter i.e. there is no electrons moving around the nucleus of those atoms they are all positively charged.

High temperatures in the core of the sun, more than 1 million degree Kelvin, results in combining of two Hydrogen nuclei into a Helium nucleus. The mass of the Helium nucleus is slightly less than that of the combined mass of the two Hydrogen atoms, the mass that is disappeared is converted into energy. The magnitude of this energy is equal to 

      Energy = (change in mass)X(velocity of light in vacuum)X(velocity of light in vacuum)

This reaction is called nuclear fusion reaction and the entire energy of the sun and other stars are produced in this way. So although matter in plasma state is not available on the surface of the earth it is important to us. Actually high temperatures at the core of the sun is the reason because of which matter goes into plasma state. Even the thunderbolt of lightening is plasma. 

On earth a small amount of plasma matter can be created by subjecting gases to high magnetic or electric field. Scientists are highly interested in plasma state of matter and lot of research is being done in this direction. 

What we see is not exactly what we get, if you are watching stuff on earth you will be deluded to thinking that matter has only 3 states solid , liquid and gas. But once we searched the universe we found , no that's not correct most of the matter is in plasma state. We don't know how many more secrets that the universe has that we are yet to discover. This search will be an exciting journey for humankind.

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