How Does a Plasma Ball Work?

Plasma is one of the most common states of matter in the Universe. It is a gas that consists of positive ions and negative electrons in equal quantities. We can say that it is the fourth state of matter apart from solid, liquid and gas. Children are introduced to states of matter from an early age so that they understand the basics of physics in order to acquire scientific knowledge. You can teach them about plasma and conduct science experiments for kids so that they can understand the concept of a plasma ball easily. How does a plasma ball work? Are your children aware of this phenomenon? If not, explore science project ideas related to a plasma ball to teach how a plasma ball works to children. 


A plasma ball consists of an electrode with 2 to 5 kilovolts at a frequency of 35 Hertz at the center of the glass filled with noble gases. These are found in stars, lightning, Earth’s ionosphere, etc. How does a plasma ball work? Most kids might want to know how a plasma ball works and the reason behind the colorful tendril lights that exist. You can conduct science activities for kids at home so that they can gain knowledge and enhance their learning experience at the same time. 

What is a Plasma Ball? 

A plasma ball is also known as a plasma globe, lamp or dome. It is a glass filled with noble gases with an electrode placed at the center. When the electricity is supplied to a plasma ball, there is a beam of colorful light that occurs. This was first invented by Nicola Tesla, which is why the electrode is also known as the Tesla coil. The electrode emits a high voltage electric current that flows through the plasma filament to produce colorful lights. How does a plasma ball work? This can be one of the interesting science project ideas for kids to learn about a plasma ball. 

These plasma balls were considered to be novelty items. The glass ball consists of gases such as argon, xenon and krypton. If you keep your fingers on the glass, you will provide a spot for energy to flow. It is believed that the human touch becomes more polarized around the electrode because of the better conductivity of electricity. These plasma balls are used as a toy to see the colorful lights by kids. Children can learn this phenomenon by conducting a simple experiment at home.

Fun Facts about How Does a Plasma Ball Work?

  • It is a clear glass container.
  • It consists of noble gases inside the glass lamp or a dome. 
  • Plasma filaments are responsible for beams of colored light. 
  • A plasma ball was invented by Nicola Tesla.
  • It is driven by approximately 35 kHz.
  • Keeping fingertips at the top of the glass gives an attractive beam of light.
  • 99% of the matter consists of plasma.

Easy Science Project: How Does a Plasma Ball Work?

To enhance your child’s interest in learning, you can give them exciting science projects that enable them to learn the subject in an engaging way. It brings out the creative side of children and, at the same time, creates an engaging environment to learn science. To make them learn what plasma is and how a plasma ball works, you can demonstrate and ask them to perform the experiment. Sometimes, children would have come across a plasma ball but do not know how it works. You can make it happen by encouraging them to perform these DIY science experiments at home using a plasma ball. How does a plasma ball work? To know more about this, let us check out the simple experiment given below. 

How Does a Plasma Ball Work?

Aim of the Project 

To observe how a plasma ball works using fingertips or a pencil. Children can also use other materials available at home or in the classroom to check the conductivity of electricity. You can give them easy and clear instructions on how to perform the experiment in a fun and creative way. 

Materials Required 

  • A plasma ball
  • A table or a stool
  • A pencil


  • Take a plasma ball and place it on the table.
  • Turn off the light in your home or classroom. 
  • Switch on the plasma ball.
  • You can see the plasma ball glowing.
  • Then, touch the plasma ball using your fingertips and observe the lights.
  • Then, take a pencil and keep it on the glass to observe the lights.  
  • Finally, compare and observe which has the highest conductivity of electricity, 


Plasma is created when there is a lot of high temperature in the glass. When you give a lot of temperature to the atoms, they collide and throw electrons.  The electrons and ions in the glass are plasma. There is an electrode at the center of the glass ball that emits a high voltage electric current which flows through the plasma filaments resulting in colorful lights. Therefore, if you touch any side of the plasma ball with your fingertips or any other materials such as a pencil, the electricity is conducted towards you or to the object. It is observed that the fingertips attract more electricity compared to the pencil. 

Benefits of Learning How Does a Plasma Ball Work? 

Some of the benefits of learning how a plasma ball works are mentioned below:

  • Develops curiosity among children to learn and understand about the plasma ball. 
  • Increases knowledge on atoms, electrons, ions, gases, electricity, etc., in children. 
  • Creates a fun and engaging learning atmosphere for children.
  • Develops problem-solving and critical thinking skills in children. 
  • Increases knowledge about the materials that have the highest conductivity of electricity as it creates colorful tendrils of light when it comes closer to the plasma ball. 
  • Develops interest to learn science by performing simple experiments at home. 
  • Enhances the learning experience of children.
  • Enables children to know interesting facts about a plasma ball. 
  • Develops understanding of basic concepts of physics among children. 

To know more information, explore science games for kids, STEM activities for kids, science activities for preschoolers in the kids learning section at Osmo.

Frequently Asked Questions on How Does a Plasma Ball Work?

How does a plasma ball work?

A plasma ball is a lamp or a globe filled with noble gases and an electrode placed at the center. When the electricity is supplied, the plasma, which consists of positive ions and negative electrons emits electric current to create colorful tendrils of light. The colors observed in the plasma ball are due to neon, argon, krypton and xenon gases.

What are the benefits of learning how a plasma ball works?

The benefits of learning about a plasma ball are that it imparts scientific knowledge to children about the concept of plasma. Additionally, It enables them to develop the curiosity to perform science projects and experiments for better learning outcomes.