How does plasma cutting actually work? How it is that plasma is able to cut through such a hard material as metal? The following is a brief overview of some of the basic science behind plasma cutting technology, how it works, and why it is so tremendously powerful:

The Plasma

Plasma cutters operate by sending pressurized gas through a small channel. The pressurized gas that is used for HVAC applications is compressed air. Since they are concentrated through such a narrow space their pressure is increased significantly. At the center of this opening there is a negatively charged electrode which passes an electric current through the gas. The stimulation of the gas atoms produces both negatively and positively charged ions, that continue to collide together until the very hot state of plasma is created.

Creating the Current/Connection

When power is applied to the negative electrode a circuit is created between itself and a positive electrode. The metal sheet being cut acts as the positive electrode and attracts the plasma energy toward it. If power is continued to be supplied, and contact is maintained with the metal then the electric current that the plasma conducts will continue to exist.

Making the Cut

Due to the extreme heat directed at the sheet of metal by the plasma torch, (as much as 30000 degrees Fahrenheit), the metal is melted. This leads to the achievement of an effective cut in the material.


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