DIY Ball Lightning

From:  bkm-at-jps-dot-net [SMTP:bkm-at-jps-dot-net]
Sent:  Sunday, April 05, 1998 3:04 PM
To:  Tesla List
Subject:  Re: DIY Ball Lightning

It seems to me it would be very simple to determine the exact composition of
these so-called "plasmoids" by simply obtaining an emission spectra... my 2
cents worth.

B. K. Martin 

At 09:10 AM 4/5/1998 -0500, you wrote:
>From:  John H. Couture [SMTP:couturejh-at-worldnet.att-dot-net]
>Sent:  Saturday, April 04, 1998 6:40 PM
>To:  Tesla List
>Subject:  Re: DIY Ball Lightning
>  Mike -
>  You are correct. Those fireballs are probably not plasma (ionized gas). It
>apparently takes a very special combination of parameters and a lot of
>wattage to create a real plasma fireball. 
>  Several years ago I was testing some electrical switchgear when a fault
>occured and a basketball size plasma sphere was formed. The sphere was a
>blinding white color and there was no residue left like I had seen with
>arcing. It was a completely different electrical phonomenon compared to an
>arc. The power source was a 750 KVA transformer close by so there was plenty
>of short circuit current available.
> I believe this large plasma sphere occurred because of the special ground
>fault interrupter system which operated much quicker compared to the usual
>circuit protection. In other words if you want to make a large plasma
>fireball you need a large transformer and a very fast interruption of the
>circuit when it is shorted. Very little energy is created (wattage x time)
>so there is no damage as with arcing. Only ionization of the air into a
>sphere of plasma occurs. 
> The strange behavior of lightning may be due to very large currents for
>very short peroids of time and at relatively low energy. There have been
>many eye-witness accounts of ball lightning. Refer to chapter fifteen of
>Martin Uman's book
> "All About Lighting".  
>  John Couture 
>At 10:21 PM 4/2/98 -0600, you wrote:
>>From:  Mike Harrison [SMTP:wwl-at-netcomuk.co.uk]
>>Sent:  Thursday, April 02, 1998 3:01 AM
>>To:  Tesla List
>>Subject:  Re: DIY Ball Lightning
>>>I'll have to look into this. People have been producing things they call
>>>"plasmoids" in microwave ovens using candles, but I don't have a large
>>>enough microwave with which to try this.  Unfortunately, I gave away a
>>>750W beat-up microwave oven that I had earmarked for experiments.  I
>>>will be on the lookout for another one, however.
>>I'm not convinced the plasmoid  phenomenon is anything more than a
>>carbon arc, occurring when 2 pieces of carbon form a dipole. A dish
>>with several pea-sized pieces of coke (the black variety, not the
>>white stuff:-), or broken carbon rods from a battery work very well.
>>You sometimes observe 'flares' rising from the arc, but my guess is
>>this is just the efffect oif the airflow from the oven fan. 
>>     ____                                                           ____
>>   _/ L_/  Mike Harrison / White Wing Logic / wwl-at-netcomuk.co.uk  _/ L_/
>> _/ W_/  Hardware & Software design / PCB Design / Consultancy  _/ W_/
>>/_W_/  Industrial / Computer Peripherals / Hazardous Area      /_W_/