Plasma deep drilling technology is one of several different variants of recently explored new drilling technologies which would be able to substitute conventional, contact-based rotary systems. These new technologies, including plasma deep drilling, water jet, hydrothermal spallation or laser, are matter of active research. Only a very small number of companies have embraced plasma-drilling method, e.g. GA Drilling, headquartered in Bratislava, Slovakia.
High-energetic electrical plasma is a technology currently being developed in deep drilling applications to address many issues related to drilling in water environment or in the production of boreholes with a wide range of diameters.
An electric arc is an electrical breakdown of a gas that produces an ongoing plasma discharge, resulting from a current flowing through normally nonconductive media such as air or gas. An arc discharge is characterized by a lower voltage than a glow discharge, and relies on thermionic emission of electrons from the electrodes supporting the arc. The electric arc is influenced by factors such as: the gas flow, inner and outer magnetic fields, and construction elements of the chamber which confine the arc. The development of highly effective plasma torches to be used as a source of the thermal plasma, demands a deep understanding of a wide spectrum of the processes taking place in the discharge chamber.