Plasma cutting has been around since the 1980s as an effective way to cut metal. Its advantages include being faster, more accurate, and providing cleaner edges. Here is everything you need to know about plasma cutting.
What is Plasma?
There are four states of matter, and the fourth one is plasma. It’s thought to be the most common matter in the universe! Plasma is a state of highly energized gas wherein the electrons broke free from the atoms but are still with the nucleus.
What Are Plasma Cutters?
Plasma cutters harness the power of plasma to cut through materials such as steel, aluminum, brass, stainless steel, and copper. They can easily cut through electrically conductive materials, making this tool an ideal choice in manufacturing automotive repaid, industrial construction, and fabrication shops.
How Do Plasma Cutters Work?
Plasma cutters work by first producing an electrical arc into gas, which exits through a small opening. The most commonly used gases are argon, nitrogen, or oxygen (depending on the type of metal being worked with.) The extreme temperature makes the gas so hot that it’s converted into plasma. Plasma cutters work up to 45,000°F! To put this in perspective, the sun’s surface temperature is only about 10,000°F.
This jet of hot plasma can pass through almost any material. Small torches can easily slice material up to one and a half inches thick, whereas more robust, computer-controlled cutters can cut steel that’s half a foot thick.
Safety in Plasma Cutting
Working with temperatures this hot is extremely dangerous. It’s essential that workers use appropriate PPE such as goggles since looking into the flame can cause permanent eye damage. Although temperatures can get four times hotter than the sun, these extreme conditions aren’t always necessary for the project. It also takes a lot of electricity to produce that amount of heat. Be sure to clean away any water or moisture in the workspace as this can cause the plasma to be inconsistent.
After you learn everything you need to know about plasma cutting, you can decide if a plasma cutter is suitable for your business.