Plasma Thruster Experiment

In this Plasma thruster experiment, high voltage arcing creates a current path through plasma flowing from the bottom of the image toward the top of the image (electrode to electrode).  There is a large square NdFeB magnet beneath a Teflon insulator with its North face up/toward camera.  Current in a uniform magnetic field produces a force perpendicular to the field and the current direction. The force on the plasma is right-to-left, toward the paper.  The H20 in a plasma state is forced linearly along the electrodes.  H20 in a plasma state quickly falls back to a gas and liquid state in cool air in the form of steam.  The Propelled steam has just enough force to flicker paper. This process occurs at 10-30 kHz and thus appears to be a "solid" field of plasma. This experiment was done during the early stages of digital cameras, a high speed video capture would show individual arcs traveling from right to left. 

Those interested in what they see may know more about how this works.  The fundamental equations that describe the force created in this experiment is the Lorentz force equation.  In a rudimentary form its basically:



(Force in Newtons) = (i is Current in amps) * (B is Magnetic field in Tesla) * (l is Length of conductor in magnetic field in meters)

The reality is that the Lorentz force equation is actual a vector cross product where the resulting force is the cross product of the Current vector crossed with the Magnetic field Vector, multiplied by a magnitude length.  But boil the math down, and using the assumption that the magnetic field is perpendicular to the current flow, and you can drop all the complicated cross product vector math.  If you are interested in how rotation motors work, its the same principals, just rolled into rotation instead of laid out flat like in the thruster experiment.


I don't supply the list materials because the use of High Voltage is extremely dangerous and unless one applies themselves with enough dedication to learn the principals well enough to source your own materials and supplies, that person might endanger themselves or others for the sake of curiosity.. its best to learn to walk before you try to run... this metaphorical comparison isn't intended to belittle, its more literal.  Imagine running without a proper understanding of what your feet are doing, tripping up could result in injury and even death.