Imagine the high torque and lateral stress that router cutting generates. If you apply the same principles over time to plasma cutting, it will produce an amazingly smooth, clean cut. But how does this work?
Most plasma cutters function on the same principle, built around the same design. They work by sending a pressurized gas (nitrogen, argon, or oxygen) through a small channel. In the middle of this channel, a negatively charged electrode exists. When applying power to the negative electrode, and connecting the tip of the nozzle to the metal, the bond creates a circuit.
This will generate a powerful spark, created through the electrode and metal bond. As the gas passes through the channel, the spark boosts the temperature of the gas until it reaches the fourth state of matter called plasma. This reaction creates a stream of plasma, approximately 30,000F moving at 20,000 feet per second, reducing the metal to molten slag.
It is the plasma itself that conducts electrical current. The phase of creating the arc is continuous if the power is supplied to the electrode and the plasma stays connected with the metal that is being cut. In order to maintain the connection, it is pivotal to protect the cut from oxidation. This will regulate the impulsive nature of plasma. The cutter nozzle has a second set of channels that release a constant flow of shielding gas around the area being cut. Essentially, the pressure of this gas flow will control the radius of the plasma beam and provide control in your cutting.