Plasma - 4th State of Matter

Ontario Science Centre

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Most people view electricity
in the following way ...

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Batteries don't supply the electrons
 that flow through the wire.

Instead, they create an electric field that 'pushes on'
the electrons that are already in the wire.






Alessandro Volta's electric battery prototype

(18 century)




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Print these Fill in the Blank Notes

Electric Current

- stream of electrically charged particles passing through a given area (movement of electrons in a wire


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A) Conductivity of Solids

1) Metals - contain many free electrons (good conductors)

2) Glass, fused quartz, rubber - good insulator

Few free electrons

Insulators have a High Resistivity (Structural resistance to electrons flow)


3) Semiconductor - a material with a resistance between conductor and an insulator


B) Conductivity of Liquids


1) pure liquids don’t conduct


2) liquid with dissolved ions conduct

(electrolyte solution)


(ion movement transfers charge
 not electrons)


Ions transfer charge in living things

How this works




C) Conductivity of Gases

Gases conduct when ionized (charged) when exposed to:


a) high energy radiation


b) OR electric field


c) OR with collision with high speed particles




Charge in a gas is transferred by ions and electrons 




Plasma–very hot ionized gas


  • 4th state of matter


  • make up stars









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