The use of plasma for chemical processing provides a new and powerful tool for carrying out a number of chemical reactions at high temperatures. This book brings together much significant material on the basic characteristics, the generation, the diagnostics, and the application of plasmas to a wide variety of chemical systems. These specific topics are covered in an integrated fashion, so that all important aspects of plasma processing are seen in their proper context. The material presented is directly usable by the research chemist as well as the engineer. The approach presupposes a basic knowledge of physics and chemistry but does not require any prior experience in the plasma field.
The availability of continuous gas streams at very high temperature has made possible the development of a number of techniques for chemical syntheses and material processing, illumination, simulated re-entry, and other severe-environment studies. A summary of the latest work in these and other areas is given in the nine chapters of this book.
The first chapter discusses the physical properties of various types of plasmas and presents quantitative relations describing plasma phenomena of particular importance to chemical processing. Other chapters describe the three types of plasms systems: arc plasmas, radio-frequency plasmas, and microwave plasmas. Methods for producing arc plasmas are outlined, together with scaling relationships that can be used to translate pilot operations to large-scale devices. The application of arc techniques to nitrogen fluoride synthesis is the subject of two-separate chapters. The use of radio-frequency plasmas is illustrated for several chemical systems. Diagnostic techniques for characterizing plasma are outlined. One chapter is devoted to the nature of microwave discharges and to the applications of microwave plasmas. Another discusses the thermodynamic and kinetic relations for the important graphite-hydrogen system. Throughout the presentation a balance of treatment is maintained, so that the insights and experience gained in one application are made available in useful form to those considering others. The book thus provides a solid base for further developments in these fields.