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Plasma Heating: An Advanced TechnologyThe Mercury and Apollo spacecraft shields were designed to protect astronauts from high friction temperatures (well over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) when re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. It was necessary to test and verify the heat shield materials on Earth before space flight. After exhaustive research and testing, NASA decided to use plasma heating as a heat source. This technique involves passing a strong electric current through a rarefied gas to create a plasma (ionized gas) that produces an intensely hot flame. Although NASA did not invent the concept, its work expanded the market for commercial plasma heating systems. One company, Plasma Technology Corporation (PTC), was founded by a member of the team that developed the Re-entry Heating Simulator at Ames Research Center (ARC). Dr. Camacho, President of PTC, believes the technology has significant environmental applications. These include toxic waste disposal, hydrocarbon, decomposition, medical waste disposal, asbestos waste destruction, and chemical and radioactive waste disposal.
Document ID
Document Type
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: Spinoff 1994
Subject Category
Plasma Physics
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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