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Plasma Jet Technology
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION WASHINGTON DC
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Arcs and arc processes have been used since the turn of the century in a myriad of applications ranging from welding to chemical synthesis. However, no concerted research effort was carried out in this field until the 1950s when first the Department of the Navy and then the Army and Air Force saw fit to fund a number of research endeavors. More recently, NASA has enter the field both in its own laboratories and through contract research support, and the entire arc and plasma field has progressed remarkably since this support became available. With the advent of the missile and space age, a need became apparent for a method of producing reentry conditions in the laboratory in order to investigate the many phenomena that missiles and spacecraft encounter as they travel back to earth. The effort to produce these conditions has led to the development of large arc heaters and plasma jets which can be controlled precisely to give the exact parameters desired. Small, compact and low power thrustors have also been developed, leading to small cutting and welding torches and high intensity light sources.
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