Microwave Plasma Chamber – Part 3 – What is Plasma? Experiments planned

Photos of plasma being created in a microwave oven from 2 experiments I conducted in the past
Photos of plasma being created in a microwave oven from 2 experiments I conducted in the past

Most people are familiar with 3 states of matter being solid, liquid, and gas but a lot of people are not familiar with the 4th. The fourth state of matter is plasma defined as an ionized gaseous mixture consisting of highly charged positive ions and free electrons (negative charge) that result in little or no electric charge. The amount of energy in each state of matter increases as you progress. Plasma is typically created at low pressures or at very high temperatures. Believe it or not plasma is the most common form of matter in the universe. [taken from definition, wiki, and general knowledge]

Examples of plasma are neon signs, CFL bulbs, lightning strikes and probably what I’m most interested in Fusion (the sun). Uses of plasma can be found in the manufacturing of electronic components such as semiconductors, metal plating of glass/silicon/etc, mineral extraction, ion propulsion and one day a very clean and efficient energy source.

Plasma conducts electricity and can be manipulated with a magnetic field. These properties are at the core of what I want to accomplish with the plasma chamber.

Experiments for the chamber

  • Small scale plasma accelerator
  • Plasma sputter plating of metals on to glass
  • Ion drive simulation
  • Magnetic containment fields
  • Effect of plasma being pushed through a coil
  • Plasma being formed with various gases and/or particle filled gases
  • Custom waveguide antennas to concentrate energy for various applications
  • Effect of electricity being applied across plasma
  • Effect of shooting electrons through plasma
  • Find a way to manipulate power and frequency of RF signal

 

Microwave Plasma Chamber Part 1 & Part 2

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Microwave Plasma Chamber – Part 1 – The Plan

Normally I throw together a project with rough notes, research along the way, then after half attempts/failures I get around to cooking that down to a post on here. This time you will get everything. With this project I will be posting my ideas, planning, results of research and the project in stages. Here’s my initial idea written out and some really rough ideas thrown on paper. This has been a project I’ve been wanting to do for some time now and have been talking about it forever.

Roughed together a drawing of my ideas and what I think will work for this project. No measurements in mind while throwing ideas on paper.

What I want is a chamber with viewing windows to see the plasma when it’s created. In addition to the view windows and enclosure I will need a power supply to drive this thing.

 

 

Took my drawing and opened SketchUp with considerations for what measurements I do have. As I type this staring at my digital drawing already considering separating the power supply making it usable for other projects in the future. It would be cool to have a high voltage isolation transformer for things like a Jacobs Ladder or an arc furnace.

Regardless of the power supply what I have in mind here is the plasma chamber with viewing windows which are 12 inches square. I plan to have a microcontroller monitor and remotely turn on or more importantly off the chamber.

 

The main chamber will have the magnetron from a microwave mounted inside of it with a metal housing around it and it’s electronics to protect them. The antenna portion of the magnetron will rest inside a waveguide (horn) that points at the center of the chamber. This directed energy will excite particles creating plasma. I probably need to consider a way to draw a vacuum inside the chamber for later experiments.

I plan to use parts of the original microwave casing and sheet metal for the housing. If I need more material I might scrap old PC cases. To help minimize RF leakage I am considering using aluminum duct tape and angled aluminum.

Magnetron Wiring

Need to look at the manufacturer specifications and double check my work but I think this how the magnetron wiring is done minus the existing controls.

PreRelease Late Night EditRemember how I said I’d share everything? Well do you see where on the capacitor I have an element leading to an X? I think I already screwed up and that is supposed to be a diode going to chassis ground. 

I also have this crazy idea in the back of my head thinking of using pulse width modulation to have greater control of the RF output. That may be total non-sense but the implications could maybe be cool.

RF meters will be needed to monitor interior and exterior RF levels. I plan to build at least 2 of them and will post that project soon. I will post more about the RF energy in my next post of this project.

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Microwave Deathray

Magnetron
There is something called a Magnetron, not to be confused with Megatron,  inside your microwave. This is the primary component that vibrates the molecules of what you are heating in your microwave to generate heat. Mmmm in the words of Jim Gaffigan Haaaot Pocket!

Ok so it’s not necessarily a death ray but I wouldn’t want to put my junk in front of one. Ever heard of a herf gun? A herf gun is a directed energy weapon. Boeing’s CHAMP recently put on a show taking out targeted computers using one. Supposedly a crude herf gun can be built attaching a waveguide or horn antenna to the output of the magnetron.

Original video was pulled from Youtube updated 7/10/2016

Someone else’s crazy project

Note from wiki “a 1.1 kilowatt input will generally create about 700 watts of microwave power”

What I’d like to do

  • Build a Faraday cage so that I can safely perform testing
  • Get one of these powered up with an inline dimmer switch so that I can control the output
  • Build a horn antenna to attach to the Magnetron so that I can control the direction of output
  • Use some equipment to measure the emitted power with in controlled area
  • Use a frequency counter to get a reading of what range is play
  • Cook food from a distance
  • Light up bulbs in a field
  • Destroy some electronics

Related Projects on Instructables

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