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What is Plasma Cutting and How Does it Work?
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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Since the plasma cutting is not a pedestrian process, we will try to explain the concept in layman terms. Plasma is essentially the fourth state of matter. In general, the assumption made for all intents and purposes is that there are three states of matter i.e. solid, liquid and gas.

Matter is prone to alterations when exposed to energy such as considerable heating. This is precisely what causes the processes of condensation (gas to liquid) and evaporation (vice versa). For instance, if heat levels are augmented, it may incite water to turn into gas. If the heat levels are augmented further, the gas will become ionized and electrically conductive. In other words, it will turn plasma in nature.

What is Plasma Cutting

A plasma cutter will use the aforementioned electrically conductive gas to disseminate energy from a power source to any conductive material. The outcome is a smooth and expedited process, especially in comparison to oxyfuel.

Basically, the procedure of plasma cutting is a profile piercing method that can make an incision through any conductive metal. Examples include steel, aluminum, titanium and copper among others. The density of the metal is immaterial in this regard.
Moreover, the execution of plasma cutting can be done by hand, using a hand held plasma torch. These are also referred to as plasma guns or simply plasma cutters. There is a variety of plasma guns available on the market and their use is determined by the thickness of the metal.

The process of plasma cutting has considerable industrial application as well and common exercises include CNC plasma cutting, which is when a profile from a digital file is grazed onto sheets of metal. Plasma cutting ensures precision and the outcome is meticulous.

Besides the exact nature of the process, another reason plasma cutting is preferred is courtesy of the lower costs involved. The process is cost effective when compared to alternate metal piercing procedures. When done properly, it is not time consuming either.

How does it Work?

The actual process of plasma cutting involves the passing of a fast jet of scorching plasma through conductive metals, which ends with a laceration being made. An electric arc is typically guided through a gas like nitrogen or oxygen. This introduces plasma into the equation, which is then coerced via a small incision and the metal is pierced.

In general, plasma cutting is considered safer as opposed to using a saw for instance. It is the preference of many metal workers worldwide.

When is it used?

The process is used to cut all kinds of metal fabrication projects. In general, workers use plasma energy in on-site construction or in salvaging yards as well. On the other hands, designers and artists also used plasma cutting in signage and sculpture oriented exercises. Additionally, in various steel products, plasma cutting is employed in combination with metal finishing like powder coating to provide a colored finish.

To learn more about how plasma cutting is used to alter steel, visit the Action Stainless website.


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