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A TEACHER'S GUIDE TO PLASMA SCIENCE RESOURCES

Introduction | Basic Information | Plasmas in Nature | 
Man-Made Plasmas | Resources for Students | 
Resources for Teachers | Plasma Outreach Near You 

MAN-MADE PLASMAS

A. Neon and Fluorescent Lamps

How Stuff Works - Neon vs Fluorescent Light: Explains the difference between neon and fluorescent lights. Simple and informative. No mention of ionized gas as plasma. Site allows you to search for plasma-related questions.

The Fluorescent Lamp: As part of the "Exploration of the Earth's Magnetosphere" site, this one page gives a basic overview of how a fluorescent light works, and how it involves plasma.

B. Fusion

Applied Superconductivity and Cyroscience Group (ASCG): The ASCG of the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy takes a broad, multidisciplinary approach to applied superconductivity research. The work includes the synthesis of superconductors, the design and fabrication of conductors and their characterization. Superconductivity (there is a plasma and fusion section featuring Darren Garnier and Joe Minervini from the PSFC).

CPEP, Contemporary Physics Education Project: CPEP offers a number of helpful charts, with topics that include Fundamental Particle and Interactions, Nuclear Science, and Plasma Physics and Fusion. The website helps explicate the charts and provides helpful links to related material.

Culham Center for Fusion Energy: This site provides a good introduction to fusion, both written and video. A brochure that can be downloaded and used as a resource in the classroom. Although most of the information is available elsewhere, check out educational resources for some unique instructions on how to build a paper replica of a fusion machine. There is also a workbook for high-level students, but it is focused on preparation for a visit to the Culham Center.

EUROfusion Classroom: This site provides information about energy, atoms, electromagnetism, light, and fusion. It's multiple videos include visits to inside the Joint European Torus (JET) site (an operational fusion experiment capable of producing fusion energy) along with excellent demonstrations, and interviews with the actual scientists working on the experiment. Teaching videos are accompanied by teacher resources, including a summary of the content, and relevant pre- and post-video questions, FAQs, and links to relevant content in Fusion Science pages. Additional resources can be found in the glossary and the FAQs. Be sure to investigate the Multimedia Link or go to https://www.euro-fusion.org/downloads to download brochures, CDs, posters, animations and more.

European Commission Research - Fusion: Excellent content information, but not activity oriented. In the sidebar, click “Under the Microscope” to access Plasma Physics and more.

FusEdWeb: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's FusEdWeb provides an entry to fusion science on earth and in the galaxy, including links to other important fusion education sites.

Fusion FAQ - Environmental: Revised in 1995. Text only. Explores interesting questions about the environmental impact and political consequences of fossil fuel based economies, and the promise of fusion.

General Atomics Fusion Education: The site provides excellent downloadable high-school level materials, though some links need improvement. Provided on this site are: a one-page explanation of fusion; limited downloads of curricula, posters on plasma science and fusion; a fusion workbook, presentation downloads, instructions on building a vacuum chamber, an "Ask the Wizard" link, and more. Some of the links have pop up warnings or security alerts.

IPPEX: The Interactive Plasma Physics Education Experiment: This site contains interactive plasma physics topics, ranging from electricity, magnetism, energy, and fusion. Please visit the "Virtual Tokamak" and our "Virtual Magnetic Stability Module" to learn about Plasma and Fusion confinement.

RGDX Online LAB – Remote Glow Discharge Experiment: The Remote Glow Discharge Experiment is housed at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. The experiment allows you to create and observe a plasma in a glow-discharge tube, in real time. You can control the current and the magnets, to get an idea of how researchers control the plasma in a fusion device. Links provide excellent explanations of plasma, pressure, electrode voltage, electromagnets and more.

Science Action: How does a plasma contribute to a fusion reaction?: A team of Princeton University students created this video to explain the role of plasma in fusion and the distinct ways engineers control it to optimize the rate of reaction.

The Internet Plasma Physics Education eXperience (IPPEX): Excellent basic introduction to plasma and fusion energy, with educational interactive tutorials. The viewer can operate a virtual tokamak and analyze data. Explains pros and cons of fusion vs. fossil fuels. Very responsive to e-mail questions.

C. Plasma Processing

Plasma Etch, Inc.: In educating their customers about plasma, this site does a good job of explaining some basic benefits of plasma processing, including electronic, industrial and medical applications.

Thermal Spraying Process: This describes/illustrates a commercial process of using plasma for durable unique coatings.

Torchmate (Plasma Cutter): Torchmate (Plasma Cutter) is a commercial site, but has one or two pages of educational materials, discussing plasma and how a cutter works.

D. Plasma Propulsion in Space

Ad Astra Rocket Company: Ad Astra Rocket Company (AARC) is a rocket propulsion company dedicated to the advanced development of plasma rocket propulsion technology. It is developing VASIMR (Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket) and associated technologies. The site provides a good explanation of plasma and how it works in rocket propulsion. It includes models and videos.

Franklin Chang Diaz - Ask the Expert (NOVA): A former NASA astronaut answers questions about plasma rockets. Franklin Chang-Diaz answers questions from students of all ages and provides links to the PBS video of the astronaut talking about plasma and rocket propulsion. Also see video about Plasma Rockets.

How Stuff Works - Fusion Propulsion: This site is an encyclopedia of how things work and how things will work. "Fusion Propulsion" includes an explanation of how fusion technology will be applied in the future to rocket propulsion. It links to other "How Stuff Works" sites, including rocket engines, NASA, the sun, stars, etc. Students have opportunities to visit this site and seek further explanations whenever they find unfamiliar terms. This site also runs distracting adds for cell phones, etc.

Ions in Action: The experiment of rubbing a balloon on your hair to pick up confetti segues into a discussion of ions. Although it does not mention plasma directly, it does state that in an ion propulsion engine a charge is given to xenon gas. This is supplemented by Deep Space I Engine Facts, fact sheet on ion propulsion. Elementary level. Part of the larger web site: The Space Place.

E. Plasma Displays

How Stuff Works - Plasma Displays: In this site students will see evidence of "Science and technology," "Science as a human endeavor," etc., because these applications of plasma technology have become available to consumers during students' lifetimes.

 

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