Plasma Chemistry and Plasma Processing

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 875–917

Analysis and Review of Chemical Reactions and Transport Processes in Pulsed Electrical Discharge Plasma Formed Directly in Liquid Water

Review Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11090-012-9403-y

Cite this article as:
Locke, B.R. & Thagard, S.M. Plasma Chem Plasma Process (2012) 32: 875. doi:10.1007/s11090-012-9403-y


Electrical discharges formed directly in liquid water include three general cases where (a) streamer-like plasma channels form in, but do not span, the electrode gap, (b) spark discharges produce transient plasma channels that span the electrode gap, and (c) arc discharges form plasma channels with relatively longer life times. Other factors including the input energy (from <1 J/pulse to >1 kJ/pulse) as well as solution properties and the rates of energy delivery affect the nature of the discharge channels. An understanding of the formation of chemical species, including the highly reactive hydroxyl radical and more stable molecular species such as hydrogen and hydrogen peroxide, in such plasma requires determination of temporal and spatial variations of temperature, pressure, plasma volume, and electrical characteristics including current, voltage (electric field), and plasma conductivity. In spark and arc discharges analysis of the physical processes has focused on hydrodynamic and thermal characterization, while only a limited amount of work has connected these physical processes to chemical reactions. On the other hand, the most successful model of the chemical reactions in streamer-like discharges relies on simple assumptions concerning the temperature and pressure in the plasma channels, while analysis of the physical processes is more limited. This paper reviews the literature on the mathematical modeling of electrical discharges in liquid water spanning the range from streamer-like to spark and arc discharges, and compares the properties and processes in these electrical discharges to those in electron beam radiolysis and ultrasound.


Pulsed electrical discharge Liquid water Streamer-like discharge Arc discharge Spark discharge 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, FAMU-FSU College of EngineeringFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringClarkson UniversityPotsdamUSA

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