Plasma Discharge in Liquid: Water Treatment and Applications, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Plasma Discharge in Liquid

Water Treatment and Applications, 1st Edition

By Yong Yang, Young I. Cho, Alexander Fridman

CRC Press

210 pages | 99 B/W Illus.

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Plasma methods that effectively combine ultraviolet radiation, active chemicals, and high electric fields offer an alternative to conventional water treatment methods. However, knowledge of the electric breakdown of liquids has not kept pace with this increasing interest, mostly due to the complexity of phenomena related to the plasma breakdown process. Plasma Discharge in Liquid: Water Treatment and Applications provides engineers and scientists with a fundamental understanding of the physical and chemical phenomena associated with plasma discharges in liquids, particularly in water. It also examines state-of-the-art plasma-assisted water treatment technologies.

The Physics & Applications of Underwater Plasma Discharges

The first part of the book describes the physical mechanism of pulsed electric breakdown in water and other liquids. It looks at how plasma is generated in liquids and discusses the electronic and bubble mechanism theories for how the electric discharge in liquid is initiated. The second part of the book focuses on various water treatment applications, including:

  • Decontamination of volatile organic compounds and remediation of contaminated water
  • Microorganism sterilization and other biological applications
  • Cooling water treatment

Drawing extensively on recent research, this one-stop reference combines the physics and applications of electric breakdown in liquids in a single volume. It offers a valuable resource for scientists, engineers, and students interested in the topic of plasmas in liquids.


"The approach and selection of topics are relevant to the technology for effective water treatment. The book can be useful to the researchers and students in this field, and can provide practical solutions for water treatment technology. In addition this book may aid knowledge in usage of plasma technology in other liquid domain."

—Rupak K. Banerjee, PhD, PE, Fellow ASME, University of Cincinnati and Kallol Bera, PhD, Applied Materials, Inc., California, USA

Table of Contents



Plasma Generation in Nature and in the Laboratory

Needs for Plasma Water Treatment

Conventional Water Treatment Technologies


In-Line Filters

Pulsed Electric Field

Ultraviolet Radiation


Plasma in Liquids

Mechanisms of Plasma Discharges in Liquids

Application of Plasma Discharges in Water

Generation of Plasma in Liquid


Partial and Full Discharges in Liquid

Thermal Breakdown Mechanism

Production of Reactive Species, UV, and Shock Wave by Electrical Discharges in Liquid

Underwater Plasma Sources

Direct Discharges in Liquid

Bubble Discharges in Liquid

Bubble and Electronic Initiation Mechanism


Electrical Breakdown in Gas Phase

The Townsend Breakdown Mechanism

Spark Breakdown Mechanism

Electron Avalanche for Electrical Breakdown in Liquid Phase

Dense Gas Approximation

Semiconductor Approximation

"Bubble Theory" for Electric Breakdown in Liquid

Bubble Formation: Interface Processes

Bubble Formation: Joule Heating

Bubble Formation: Preexisting Bubbles

Streamer Propagation

Electrostatic Model

Thermal Mechanism

Stability Analysis of the Streamers

Electrostatic Pressure

Surface Tension

Hydrodynamic Pressure

Nanosecond and Subnanosecond Discharge in Water

Fast Imaging of Nanosecond and Subnanosecond Discharge in Water

Ionization of Liquid by E-Impact

Chance of Voids Formation

Decontamination of Volatile Organic Compounds


Conventional Technologies

Mechanism of Plasma Treatment of VOCs

Decomposition of Methanol and Ethanol

Decomposition of Aromatic Compounds

Decomposition of Chlorine-Containing Compounds

Decoloration of Dyes in Wastewater

Decomposition of Freons (Chlorofluorocarbons)

Cleaning of SO2 with Nonthermal Plasma

Acidic Water Case (pH < 6.5)

Neutral and Basic Water Cases (pH > 6.5)

Biological Applications

Plasma Water Sterilization

Previous Studies of Plasma Water Sterilization

New Developments in Plasma Water Sterilization

Plasma Species and Factors for Sterilization

Comparison of Different Plasma Discharges for Water Sterilization

Blood Treatment Using Nonthermal Plasma

In Vitro Blood Coagulation Using Nonthermal Atmospheric Pressure Plasma

In Vivo Blood Coagulation Using DBD Plasma

Mechanisms of Blood Coagulation Using Nonthermal Plasma

Cooling Water Treatment Using Plasma


Self-Cleaning Filtration Technology with Spark Discharge

Calcium Carbonate Precipitation with Spark Discharge

Effect of Plasma on Cooling Water

Effect of Spray Circulation on Hardness of Cooling Water

Mechanism of Plasma-Induced Calcium Precipitation

Economic Analysis of Plasma Water Treatment

Application for Mineral Fouling Mitigation in Heat Exchangers

Fouling Resistance: Validation Study

Visualization of the Calcium Carbonate Particles

Cycle of Concentration



About the Authors

Dr. Young I. Cho has been a professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia since 1985. Prior to joining Drexel University, he spent four years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, as a member of the technical staff. His research interest includes fouling prevention in heat exchangers, physical water treatment using electromagnetic fields, hemorheology, and energy. Currently, he is developing methods of applying low-temperature plasma technology to prevent mineral and biofouling problems in cooling water.

Dr. Alexander Fridman is Nyheim Chair Professor at Drexel University, Philadelphia, and director of the A. J. Drexel Plasma Institute. He develops novel plasma approaches to material treatment, fuel conversion, hydrogen production, aerospace engineering, biology, and environmental control. Recently, significant efforts of Dr. Fridman and his group have been directed to development of plasma medicine, which is a revolutionary breakthrough area of research focused on direct plasma interaction with living tissues and direct plasma application for wound treatment, skin sterilization, blood coagulation, and treatment of different diseases, not previously effectively treated.

Dr. Yong Yang has been an associate professor at the College of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan, China, since 2011. Prior to joining HUST, he spent five years at Drexel Plasma Institute, Drexel University, pursuing his PhD degree. His research interests include low-temperature plasma discharges in liquid and atmospheric gas and their applications in environmental, medical, and energy-related fields.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Chemistry / Physical & Theoretical
SCIENCE / Physics
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / Water Supply