Plasma is often called “the fourth state of matter”, alongside solid, liquid and gas. It is referred to in this way thanks to its unique properties, mirroring the way that other states are able to change form from one to the other.
For example, a solid, when heated, can melt into a liquid, and a liquid brought to a boil changes into a gas. When a gas is heated it will form a plasma, which is made up of positively and negatively charged particles known as ions.
Because it is made up of charged ions, plasma is an electrically conductive matter, that responds well to magnetic and electric fields – although it has no overall charge of its own. Some plasmas can be generated to have an overall charge (positive or negative), and these will be made up of pure electron, ion, positron or antiproton plasmas.
Although not always the case, most plasmas will be created by heating a gas to intense temperatures. Scientists at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider set a record in 2012, creating a plasma that reached 5.5 trillion degrees Celsius (9.9 trillion degrees Fahrenheit). For context, the temperature at the centre of the Sun is thought to be around 9 billion degrees Celsius.
This heat-generated plasma can be found in everyday life in a range of places including:
However, not every plasma is hot.
Cold plasma is made up of the same elements, but the temperature of the individual parts are different from each other. Electrons are always at an extremely high temperature, but the neutral atoms remain at room temperature in this case. With cold plasma, the amount of electrons in the plasma is far lower than the density of the neutral atoms, leaving the overall temperature low.
To illustrate, a fluorescent bulb (made up of standard plasma) contains electrons that are very hot (around 20,000 kelvins). However, the lamp is not hot to the touch because the number of electrons in the lamp are far less than the volume of the air at room temperature. This principle is how cold plasma works..
As briefly mentioned before, heat-generated plasma is used in neon signs and fluorescent lights, as well as in televisions.
Cold plasma has a wide variety of applications, in a range of different fields. It is used in air and water purification, as well as in food production and packing within the food industry.
Biomedicine utilises plasma for the treatment of teeth and skin, as well as to sterilise medical instruments and devices. Cold plasma requires only a very low heat capacity, ensuring its continued preference in various industries and applications.
Air purification is one of the most popular and effective uses of cold plasma. It works by separating ions into negative and positive, energising them to attract their opposite due to the laws of polarity.
Sent out into any space, these ions will latch onto airborne contaminants as they snap back together, changing them at a cellular level so that they are no longer dangerous.
This process is extremely effective, neutralising up to 99% of all indoor allergens, bacteria, viruses and VOCs, without the harmful generation of ozone.
It is common knowledge that it is difficult to clean indoor air effectively, and that spaces without adequate ventilation tend to be a hotbed of airborne pollutants that can be damaging to the health and wellbeing of inhabitants.
Large buildings full of people (such as schools, offices, hospitals and retail stores), often have hefty air conditioning systems to control the climate and keep people comfortable. But these systems just compound the problem, circulating the air around from room to room, and effectively spreading these contaminants around.
Whilst HEPA filters can be added to these systems to reduce the number of pollutants in the air, it is not very effective. The filter catches and holds bacteria, viruses and VOCs, making removal of filters difficult, and the air has to pass through the filter first before it can be cleaned.
This means that people coughing, talking or otherwise bringing contaminants in from outside are able to spread these through the room before the filter can take care of them.
Cold plasma is an active way of purifying the air, as when the ions leave the device and circulate in the air, they neutralise contaminants on contact and ensure a safe living space for everyone in the vicinity.
Cold plasma is also safe for uninterrupted use in any environment. Where UV air purifiers are notorious for producing dangerous ozone and formaldehyde as by-products of the process, cold plasma ion generators do not.
The Airius PureAir Plus is the ideal air purifier for large buildings, combining Bi-Polar Ionization (BPI), a targeted form of cold plasma purification, with a highly efficient fan to quickly disperse ions throughout the room, ensuring far more effective cleaning of the air.
Airius has a wellbeing-focused approach to air purification, creating a process that uses cold plasma methods to recreate the way that nature cleans the air. Negative ions are found in nature in places like mountains and by the ocean, and it is this clean, refreshing air that the Airius PureAir series is designed to produce in any environment.
The active process means that the air is cleaned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on a continuous basis, and research trials found that not only can the purifier keep the air clean, but virus particles from a sneeze could be stopped within three feet.
For any business, home or retail environment, the Airius PureAir Plus is the ideal choice to manage the health and wellness of customers, staff and family.
To find out more, or if you have any questions, please call us on 01202 554 200 or visit us at www.airius.co.uk.