A plasma cutter is a tool used for cutting metals like steel. It is used to cut metals with varying thickness and materials by using a torch made of plasma. An inert gas and an electrical arc will be blown out of the nozzle at the same time towards the metal surface that is to be cut. The gas will be blown in high speed, turning some of them to plasma. Plasma is very hot. The heat melts metals and blow away smelted metals away from the surface. The result will be metals with the desired specifications.
Metals are very significant in almost all modern industries. Businesses rely heavily on equipment and transportation that are made of metal. They are everywhere. Aircrafts, cars, buses, railways, buildings are made of metals. It is the most effective choice to ensure durability especially for big structures that need to be sturdy. However, because it is very strong and very hard, it is also very difficult to manipulate. It will be extremely difficult to cut them to the needed shapes and sizes.
How plasma is formed
With the use of plasma, they are effortlessly cut with little or no resistance. These are all because of the nature of plasma. Plasma is formed by blowing gas to enormously high temperature. The molecules of gas will be broken apart by the insertion of energy while the atoms split. Normally, the nucleus of the atoms is made up of protons and neutrons, surrounded by electrons that circle around it. But, in plasma, the electrons are detached from the nucleus. Then, heat causes the electrons to be discharged from the atom. The electrons will then be free to move around with tremendous speed. Electrons are charged negatively while the nuclei that are left behind are positively charged. These positively charged nuclei are called ions.
The high speed electrons colliding with other ions and electrons are destined to create large amounts of energy. This energy produced is plasma. The energy it possesses gives it tremendous power to cut through metals that are not just huge, but are also very heavy.
How the cutter works
The cutters are available in several sizes and form. There are cutters that are huge, while there are also compact ones. These handheld units could be bought from a hardware store nearby. Whatever the size and shape, they all function under the same principle and design.
Plasma cutter needs pressurized gas like nitrogen, argon and oxygen. These gases will be sent through a small channel containing electrodes. As power is applied to the electrode and the nozzle’s tip touches the metal, a circuit is created. There will be sparks between the metal and electrodes. The gas passing through the channel where the spark formed will be heated and transformed into plasma. There will then be free flowing of plasma with a temperature of 30,000 Fahrenheit. The 20,000 feet per second power of plasma will convert metal to molten state. The plasma is also a conductor of electric current. As long as power is supplied to the electrode and there is contact between the metal being cut and the plasma, the cycle continues.
These types of cutters are now industry standard. They are found everywhere there are metals. They could be found in auto repair shops and car manufacturing factories. Car manufacturers make use of them in creating car frames and chassis. Companies selling metals or involved in construction use large cutters in fabricating large metal beams and metal sheets. They could always be found in large construction sites where metals are strongly used as foundations and posts; on a smaller scale, they are used by locksmiths in boring holes through vaults and safes.
There is no doubt that the technology of plasma has changed the meaning of speed, precision and the types of cuts that manufacturers could make out of metals. By enabling metals to be manipulated easily, plasma was able to make metal part of man’s daily life with the assurance of durability and strength.