Plasma has applications for power generation, defence and weaponry. This article focuses on the lattermost. The application of the electromagnetic and/or thermal properties of plasma as a weapon. Most often in ranged instances but some cases of melee uses exist. In all cases, whether the plasma is exhausted directly out of its source device, or unleashed upon impact as is the case with a plasma shell, to create the plasma a coiled or toroidal fusion reactor is used.
Plasma weapons can be fed from dedicated gas reserves, or vent in atmospheric gas as a fuel source. At the scale of individual personnel or small groups, plasma chaff is the ideal countermeasure against plasma charges.
Directed plasma weaponry Edit
The most common form of weaponised plasma. The fuel source (a variety of pure or mixed gases may be used) is entered into the internal fusion reactor where it is passed through a series of intense electromagnetic fields until the gas is stripped of its electrons and becomes a plasma. Because plasma dissipates quickly in non-ionised mediums such as the atmosphere, directed plasma weaponry is often limited in range, accuracy or both.
Coil reactors EditWith coil reactors, the fuel gas enters at one end of the coil, is converted into plasma as it spirals up or along the reactor, and is released at the opposite end. Because all the gas needs to be converted into plasma and/or achieve sufficient energy levels for its given application, coil reactors can vary greatly in the radius and number of coils in the reactor.
Plasma blades and similar weapons most often include the coil reactor in the handle, plus a telescoping spike to give the weapon a sense of physicality when striking the environment or targets.
Toroid reactors EditToroidal reactors save space compared to their coiled cousins, but have their own limitations as well. Instead of a limited series of coils through which the gas can be accelerated and ionised, a closed circuit allows the gas to be accelerated as much as is needed without concern for running out of reactor length or space. Toroid reactors also allow plasma weapons to have charges ready to fire, because the plasma can be kept continuously cycling in the reactor.
Toroid reactors can be loaded from a distinct input point, or have a continuous stream of gas enter the reactor chamber. In the former case, the reactor chamber must be empty of plasma before the input opens to receive more fuel, otherwise plasma will exit the reactor in the wrong direction, potentially injuring the user and damaging equipment.
With continuous-feed toroid reactors, small holes along the reactor's internal wall allow small amounts of gas to be fed into the reactor without plasma backfiring. However, because the soup of plasma particles might be energised to different levels, continuous-feed reactors have a much less consistent output power, but avoid the need for opening the reactor itself any more than is necessary.
Plasma warheads Edit
Shells or drones carrying plasma loads can use either coil or toroidal reactors. What significantly differentiates them from directed plasma weaponry is the fact that, upon impact, the expensive and delicate fusion reactor is destroyed. As such, plasma warheads are only deployed if a shot is sure to hit its mark.