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Re: [TCML] D'Arsanoval arc (discharge)

Thanks for your response Deano.
I see the "d'Arsonoval" disharge is also sometimes referred to in the contest of magnifiers.For example see (the last photo caption) :


Interestingly,I would think the transmission line of that monster maggy is supposed to be insulated(?).But the d'Arsonoval discharge found its way to ground anyway.The insulation partilally broke down or something.Then ,if that is the heavy form of the discharge it is not of low voltage ( voltage in that paricular case with respect to ground must be 500 kV+ and the arc 5 ft+).Meanwhile,I found another link dealing with history of electrotherapy where d'Arsonval and Tesla's names are mentioned:

But you are not correct in saying that humans can't get muscular contraction from 10 kHz AC.
See the table 2 of "let go" tresholds here:


So the treshold of nothing felt except warmth must be much higher (probably above 50 kHz but I'm not sure).

But I'm still curious: can  flashover arcs between Tesla primary and secondary  be  called d'Arsonoval arcs too?


From: David Dean <deano@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: Tesla Coil Mailing List <tesla@xxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [TCML] D'Arsanoval arc (discharge)
Date: Wed, 20 May 2009 17:17:30 -0500

On Tuesday 19 May 2009 01:37:28 pm Dex Dexter wrote:
> Hi everybody,
> What kind of a high frequency arc it is?
> Is there some exact definition of it?
> I know it has something to do with tesla transformers,but I couldn't find
> useful info on it. Your help / explanation I'll appreciate.
> Thanks.
> Dex


In the latter part of the 19th century, and on into the early part of the 20th, 
there were some doctors and scientists who were looking into the medicinal 
effects of electric currents on the human body. Among the notable in this field 
were two french doctors, Jacques-Arsène d'Arsonval
 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques-Arsène_d'Arsonval) and Paul Marie Oudin

d'Arsonval and Tesla independently and simultaneously discovered that an 
alternating current having a frequency of 10kHz or more  produces no muscular 
contractions and does not affect the sensory nerves. This is called d'Arsonval 
current, also called Tesla current.

Though d'Arsonval's experiments ran the gamut from Galvanic currents (DC) to 
very high voltage very low current (as in Oudin coil), he is probably best 
known in the field of  electrophysiology for his work with moderate voltages 
and relatively high currents. He is credited with inventing apparatus used for 
diathermy and "bloodless surgery".

The term "d'Arsonval discharge" may be found in some old medical texts from 
around the 1920's era. This would be referring to the discharge from 
a "d'Arsonval apparatus", which is schematically the same as an Oudin coil, 
however the autotransformer would have a much lower turns ratio and be of 
heavier wire. I remember seeing a drawing and diagram of a "d'Arsonval 
apparatus" which was a flat spiral coil hanging from the wall.

A Tesla coil primary with "too many" turns can produce a d'Arsonval discharge 
from the outer turns of the primary to the strike rail or some other grounded 
object. I once had a Tesla coil with a primary that had 15 turns and tuned 
between 7 and 8. When I first hooked this coil up to my current SRSG, the gap 
was under the coil and the electrodes were made from a poor choice of brass 
alloy, one containing relatively high levels of zinc, and perhaps some lead, as 
it was a bearing alloy. When first firing up the coil using that gap, there 
were some weird "sheeting" like discharges between the outer turn of the 
primary and the spark gap. Once the gap had enough run time on it to "burn out" 
the excess zinc, lead, whatever metallic ions were being released, this 
phenomena subsided.

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