Research Topic

Thermal and Non-Thermal Plasmas at Atmospheric Pressure

About this Research Topic

One of the typical classifications of plasma systems identifies two major categories: thermal and nonthermal plasmas.

Thermal plasmas technology has evolved over the past decades due to the increasing attention in aerospace, microelectronics, automotive, material treatment and processing, melting and welding of metals, plasma chemical synthesis and vapour deposition, plasma and arc spraying, waste destruction. Typical atmospheric plasma devices are realized by means of arcs or radio frequency (RF) inductively coupled plasma discharges, where main phenomena involved are Joule heating and thermal ionization.

Modelling these phenomena requires the knowledge of thermodynamic properties and transport coefficients of plasmas, which are of relevant importance, not only in equilibrium conditions. Numerical codes reliably evaluating these data can assist the designing and optimizing phases of plasma-based devices. Over the past decades, several numerical approaches have been developed to investigate plasma behaviours and commercial multi-purpose codes are often used due to the complexity of systems. These numerical codes are based on the fluid dynamics approach, describing realistic discharge geometries.

The main drawbacks of thermal plasmas are represented by low excitation selectivity, very high gas temperature, serious quenching requirements and electrode problems result in limited energy efficiency and applicability of thermal plasma sources. For these reasons, nonthermal plasmas such as low-pressure glow and RF, microwave discharges, dielectric barrier discharges, laser-produced plasmas, have been used due to their high selectivity in plasma chemical reactions, operating effectively at low temperatures and without quenching. More recently non-thermal atmospheric pressure plasmas have been studied for a variety of industrial and medical applications such as sterilization, ozone production for water purification, pollution control applications, car exhaust emission control, volatile organic compounds removal, and polymer surface treatment in order to improve properties such as wettability, printability and adhesion.

The aim of this Research Topic is to present a comprehensive overview of the subject and to highlight the perspectives on thermal and non-thermal plasmas at atmospheric pressure, giving a guide on critical topics for the progress in the field.

Contributions on thermal plasmas will focus on plasma sources, diagnostic and modelling, deepening also on approaches used to produce plasmas, to measure and to calculate their properties. Manuscripts investigating applications of thermal plasmas are encouraged, both on experimental, theoretical and numerical aspects. Contributions on non-thermal plasmas will focus on investigating physical and chemical behaviour of discharges, such as corona, dielectric barrier, gliding arc, spark discharge and laser-produced non-thermal plasmas.

We welcome Original Research and Brief Research Reports, as well Reviews and Mini Reviews. Experimental investigations and theoretical and numerical modeling are welcome, focusing attention on industrial and medical applications.


Keywords: Plasma discharge, Thermodynamic properties, Transport coefficients, Numerical plasma modeling, Atmospheric pressure plasmas


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

One of the typical classifications of plasma systems identifies two major categories: thermal and nonthermal plasmas.

Thermal plasmas technology has evolved over the past decades due to the increasing attention in aerospace, microelectronics, automotive, material treatment and processing, melting and welding of metals, plasma chemical synthesis and vapour deposition, plasma and arc spraying, waste destruction. Typical atmospheric plasma devices are realized by means of arcs or radio frequency (RF) inductively coupled plasma discharges, where main phenomena involved are Joule heating and thermal ionization.

Modelling these phenomena requires the knowledge of thermodynamic properties and transport coefficients of plasmas, which are of relevant importance, not only in equilibrium conditions. Numerical codes reliably evaluating these data can assist the designing and optimizing phases of plasma-based devices. Over the past decades, several numerical approaches have been developed to investigate plasma behaviours and commercial multi-purpose codes are often used due to the complexity of systems. These numerical codes are based on the fluid dynamics approach, describing realistic discharge geometries.

The main drawbacks of thermal plasmas are represented by low excitation selectivity, very high gas temperature, serious quenching requirements and electrode problems result in limited energy efficiency and applicability of thermal plasma sources. For these reasons, nonthermal plasmas such as low-pressure glow and RF, microwave discharges, dielectric barrier discharges, laser-produced plasmas, have been used due to their high selectivity in plasma chemical reactions, operating effectively at low temperatures and without quenching. More recently non-thermal atmospheric pressure plasmas have been studied for a variety of industrial and medical applications such as sterilization, ozone production for water purification, pollution control applications, car exhaust emission control, volatile organic compounds removal, and polymer surface treatment in order to improve properties such as wettability, printability and adhesion.

The aim of this Research Topic is to present a comprehensive overview of the subject and to highlight the perspectives on thermal and non-thermal plasmas at atmospheric pressure, giving a guide on critical topics for the progress in the field.

Contributions on thermal plasmas will focus on plasma sources, diagnostic and modelling, deepening also on approaches used to produce plasmas, to measure and to calculate their properties. Manuscripts investigating applications of thermal plasmas are encouraged, both on experimental, theoretical and numerical aspects. Contributions on non-thermal plasmas will focus on investigating physical and chemical behaviour of discharges, such as corona, dielectric barrier, gliding arc, spark discharge and laser-produced non-thermal plasmas.

We welcome Original Research and Brief Research Reports, as well Reviews and Mini Reviews. Experimental investigations and theoretical and numerical modeling are welcome, focusing attention on industrial and medical applications.


Keywords: Plasma discharge, Thermodynamic properties, Transport coefficients, Numerical plasma modeling, Atmospheric pressure plasmas


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

08 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

08 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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