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The 4th state of matter

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posted on Nov, 19 2006 @ 10:54 PM
This may be a minor conspiracy among industry and/or science, but I think it is a total crock of molasses.

Every person who has a general idea of physical sciences has been taught the concept of 3 states of matter being a solid, liquid, and gas. The main contributors of these are heat, pressure, and density in what makes an element one of the three states.

I work cutting steel using an CNC plasma cutting machine and considered lately the propoganda distributed by the manufacturers that plasma is a 4th state of matter.

I may be wrong here, because of ignorance, and if anyone can tell me what the difference is between how a plasma is different than a gas other than being super-heated then please do so. I would like to learn why plasma is a 4th state of matter, when in fact, a super heated gas is still the same gas just very hot.

Why is liquid oxygen a 2nd state of matter and gaseous a 3rd state, but plasma is a 4th state when plasma is just really really hot oxygen in the third state. Just because it releases energy in the form of light more so than other states does not change the gaseous state into something new.

Besides more than 3 states of physical laws in the physical world goes out of bounds to me in the way most natural laws work IMO.

Can anyone really explain why plasma is some form of new state of matter that will make sense?

posted on Nov, 19 2006 @ 10:58 PM
Because it has characteristics of both gas and liguid I think.

That and it's electrons are stripped.

I was always taught that Plasma was the fourth state of matter,
it's waht is taught in science classes.

Sorry I can't provide a better answer.

posted on Nov, 20 2006 @ 12:25 AM
Not that I know anything about physics, but this links probably explains all you need to know:

I still don't quite understand what it is, but 99% of our solar system is made up of it

Fire is a form of plasma.

posted on Nov, 20 2006 @ 12:37 AM
I'm pretty sure fire is not plasma, just highly heated, reacting gas molecules. An easy way to check is to bust out your compass and point it at the fire. It's a reacting flow which means electrons are moving around, but I don't believe it's hot enough for plasma. Basically in plasma you can't have molecular bonds for any length of time save fusion (Ex: A star/the Sun). The electrons get enough energy to leave their parent molecules and just meander through the matter. That means you have a lot of moving charge meaning you have a lot of magnetic and electrical fields flying around. If you can find a chemistry book or even just a random chemistry teacher that would explain it better than any of us would.

99% of solar system is made of plasma because of the sun. It's something like 99% of the mass of the solar system and it's 90% hydrogen.

[edit on 20-11-2006 by LordOfBunnies]

posted on Nov, 20 2006 @ 01:48 AM

Originally posted by ben91069
I may be wrong here, because of ignorance, and if anyone can tell me what the difference is between how a plasma is different than a gas other than being super-heated then please do so. I would like to learn why plasma is a 4th state of matter, when in fact, a super heated gas is still the same gas just very hot.

Plasmas are composed of charged particles (electrons and ions) rather than atoms (gases are composed of atoms and not electrons.) Plasmas form at high temperatures when the electrons fly away from the central atom -- as happens in stars. They have unique physical properties that are very distinct solids, liquids and gases. For example, plasmas can conduct electricity -- but gases can't, of course:

There's atually a 5th state of matter.. the quark-gluon "matter."

posted on Nov, 20 2006 @ 02:09 AM
Plasma is considered to exist as mix of different states of matter. It can be gas/liquid, liquid/solid, or gas/solid. There was an experiment many might remember learning in Middle School, where the creation of a plasma substance named "gooyak" (or something similar to the name). The substance would turn liquid when cooled, and solid when touched, and when placed back into a container, it would be solid again.

Some of the most common states of plasma occurances occur as lightning.

posted on Nov, 20 2006 @ 05:41 AM
It's been fairly well summed up, but seeing as I actually know a bit about plasma, I'll throw my two cents in anyway. You are correct that a plasma is much much hotter than a gas, but that is not the only difference.

A gas is composed primarily of atoms. When enough energy (heat) is applied to a gas, the electrons separate from the nuclei and you then have ions and electrons as the primary entities in the plasma.

Byrd is also correct that plasmas conduct electricity (actually quite well). Gases are typically insulators (I can't think of any conductive gases offhand) although given enough power, even a gas can conduct. (example: lightning)

Plasmas also give off photons (light). I know this because I was lucky enough to work with plasma in a lab in university. The particular mixture we had was glowing a brilliant bluish white that hurt the eyes to look at. (that plasma also wrecked two weeks of work, as it ruined my silicon wafers!)

Plasmas also behave MUCH differently in the presence of magnetic and electric fields than gases do. Typically those fields will do nothing to a gas, but they will strongly affect the behaviour of a plasma, since the fields will exert forces on the ions and electrons. (the fields don't really do anything to neutral atoms like those in gases) Since plasma is ionized, the ions will move in the presence of these fields. In fact, putting a voltage across a plasma actually results in some rather strange behaviour. (look up 'faraday dark space, crooke's dark space, and you will see what I mean)

I think the confusion arises from the fact that if you look at a gas or a plasma, it is difficult to tell the difference on a macroscopic scale, at least by looking at it. Contrast this with the completely obvious differences between solids and liquids and those with respect to gas and plasma. Also, due to the temperatures required, plasma is not a part of the average persons life, whereas the other three states of matter are everywhere on earth. (yes, the solar system is mostly plasma due to the sun, but on earth, the opposite is true) Also, at least in my experience, I don't think I had even heard of plasma as a state of matter until university; certainly, it does not receive the detail of the other three states.

posted on Nov, 20 2006 @ 05:41 AM
This post brought to you by the Accidental Duplication of Over-Lengthy Dragonsdemesne Above Top Secret Postings Society.

[edit on 20-11-2006 by DragonsDemesne]

posted on Nov, 20 2006 @ 07:39 AM
I used to wonder what happened to a solid at absolute zero, when stripped of all of its kinetic molecular energy, and whether it still behaved just the same as a normal solid. I don't wonder it so much now, better things to do, but thought I'd post anyway.

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