[TCML] Would a Tesla coil work in a vaccum?
alice33 at arczip.com
Sat Apr 17 22:30:43 MDT 2010
Hi Bill, Greg and all,
I have been asking around a lot about this. I was wondering why all the
varieties of color. Someone told me the purple/violet colors are the weaker
sparks. Every time I see a color photo or film of someone having sparks
shoot off their finger tips this is the case. In the case of a nice big
coil, the bolts look blue/white when they hit the ground. They tell me
those are the ones that are the most powerful. The kind of gas/air makes
the color, which, has made me wonder, what color would the sparks be if a
Tesla coil was sitting on the surface of Mars? Could one even work on Mars
in its ultra thin atmosphere? This raises another question, is gravity an
issue? If someone brought a Tesla coil to try out at the International
Space Station, would the zero gravity affect it?
----- Original Message -----
From: "G Hunter" <dogbrain_39560 at yahoo.com>
To: "Tesla Coil Mailing List" <tesla at pupman.com>
Sent: Saturday, April 17, 2010 3:48 PM
Subject: Re: [TCML] Would a Tesla coil work in a vaccum?
> From: Bill Noble <william_b_noble at msn.com>
> sparks can only be visible when
> there is matter in the intervening space to be
> ionized. In a perfect vacuum, there would be no
> visible sparks or plasma
Interesting stuff, which raised still more questions in my slowly
calcifying, middle-aged brain. For example, why are Tesla coil sparks the
color they are? Presumably, ionized air contributes the color. But if
that's all there is to it, why aren't all TC sparks the same color? Even in
my own coils, I've observed discharges of violet, violet-white, purple,
blue, and various shades of blue-white. Likewise, Jacob's ladder sparks are
orange and flaming, while TC spark gap sparks are intense blue-white. How
can an ionized 80/20 Nitrogen/Oxygen mix at 1 atm glow at so many different
colors? Is it just a matter of temperature? What about impurities? I
suppose the JL uprights might contribute metal ions and metal vapor, which
could explain the dramatic color difference.
Oddly, what the camera sees and what I see don't always agree. Sparks that
look blue-white to me may render as violet in photographs, or vice-versa.
This is troubling as my cameras and I tend to agree very well on the colors
of other subjects. Why the disagreement on the color of TC discharges?
Regarding the ultra-high vacuum situation: what about a thermionic electron
tube? Is a visible discharge inside such a tube possible? I'm assuming the
answer is "no", but what about a very high current through a hard vacuum?
Still invisible? I guess I'm just fishing around for an answer to the
ultimate question: What color is an electron???
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