QNP Quasi- Neutral Plasma


99.999% of the observable universe is in a plasma state.  Tragically, plasma is not a superconductor;  although it is a very good conductor, it does have some resistance.

If plasma were a superconductor, with 0 resistance, electrical fields could not exist in it – they would be instantly neutralized.  Many astrophysicists still get this fact wrong and assume that plasma is a perfect conductor in cosmological equations.

Non-trivial electrical fields can and do exist in “quasi-neutral” plasmas.

I mention this for two reasons, the first mundane and the second, well, less so.  Plasma seems to me to be a viable candidate for almost lossless transmission of power.  Consider plasma beams conducting electricity from the generating point to the distribution grid and to substations, where it is transfered to conventional metal conductors.

The second application is the dynamic generation of electrical fields in plasma in the vacuum of space.  Although fields are produced routinely in nebulae and associated star system components, they are not doing and usable work (from a human perspective), other than sometimes creating pretty visible light.

Given the quasi-neutral behavior of large-scale plasmas, discrete electrical fields can be formed between points in a plasma, and employed to do anthropomorphic work, notably to generate electromotive force.

Simply by orbiting a very large scale metallic conductor around a planet (say, Earth) through a region of “charged” plasma at high relative velocity, would be capable of generating many MW of usable power.

Various science fiction writers (and even physicists) have calculated the power generated from this type of system, and its efficiency.  The drawbacks are many, scale and practicality being two, but one is certainly the mistaken precept that plasma is a superconductor and by definition cannot generate electrical fields.

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