Looking for a neat trick to do with your Tesla coil? [The Action Lab] uses his coil to make a metal plasma — in particular, sodium. You can see the results in the video below.
To create a metal plasma, you need a metal vapor and sodium can create a vapor at a relatively low temperature, especially in a vacuum. The resulting glow is pretty to look at, but you will need a bit of lab gear to pull it off.
Plasma — sometimes referred to as the fourth state of matter — is matter that is so hot that the electrons are pulled away forming an ionized gas. That sounds exotic compared to gasses, solids, and liquids, but it turns out that over 99% of the visible universe is plasma. Things like lightning, the sun, and neon signs are all forms of plasma. Making plasma from metal vapor is a bit unusual, though, and the sodium experiment is pretty interesting and a fun use of that Tesla coil in your closet.
This is similar to a sodium vapor lamp, and he shows one of these, also. Sodium vapor lighting is on the wane, due to LED lights. Need a Tesla coil? We’ve seen them from the near-perfect to the simple.