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[TCML] Why so loud?

A while back I was demonstrating one of my modest bipolar coils at a Maker Faire, and I was asked why it was so loud. I gave what I imagine is the standard answer/reason, 'the same reason thunder is loud--' the electricity heats the air around it very rapidly, causing the air to expand, etc. The questioner bought it, but since then I've been thinking it over. Is this really true? Does a high frequency discharge really transmit that much heat to the air? The top terminals don't get hot on my coil. Is there a different reason why Tesla coil discharges are so loud?

Just curious,

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