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Re: [TCML] Explanation of observed VDG behavior

Hi Matt,

If your top terminal is positively charged, you are likely seeing burst pulse corona and onset streamers. This type of discharge makes a very distinctive "pop" and is often observed coming from positively-charged conductors in HVDC power supplies or VDG terminals. Each discharge injects a considerable amount of positive space charge (positive ions) in the air surrounding the discharge.

Each discharge causes a sharp drop in collector potential. If this is followed by recharging until the next discharge, the system may repetitively discharge like a relaxation oscillator. Positive space charges (left over from previous discharges) take 10's to 100's of seconds to dissipate. Future discharges tend to avoid regions where previous discharges have recently occurred, so new streamers will appear in a different location on the sphere.

See page 13 through 18 for a readable discussion of burst pulse corona and onset streamers. Tesla Coilers may also find the discussion on page 20 interesting, where the effect of repetitive discharges, branching discharges and unbranched discharges ("sword sparks") are discussed:


There's no risk of high-energy X-ray production with your experimental setup. The combination of atmospheric pressure, short lifetime of any free electrons, and relatively low accelerating E-fields conspire to prevent any generation of high-energy X-rays.

Bert Hickman
Stoneridge Engineering, LLC
World's source for "Captured Lightning" Lichtenberg Figure sculptures,
magnetically "shrunken" coins, and scarce/out of print technical books

msweeney23@xxxxxxxxx wrote:
Hi all, im seeing some behavior i cannot explain with my current
non-pumped VDG and hoping we could start a discussion.

The machine is using a 14" steel collector and 10 ft latex belt. It
is running beautifully without a traditional corona ring or opening
radius due to a non-conductive corona-ring like solution i found by
accident (imagine a 1 inch thick smooth rubber ring just below the
collector opening).

Here is what i am seeing:

The collector charges quickly and without any leakage and
spontaneously throws off hot loud discharges into empty air. The
discharge starts off as a normal straight single spark for about 2-4
inches then suddenly branches off into 4 fainter thick ones reaching
10-20 inches out finally terminating in a blue 'mist'.

These discharges seem to occur spontaneously at 90 degree apart
almost always horizontally outward (sometimes straight up).

I've found it almost impossible to capture this on video but might
have a picture i can enhance to show it.

Any arcs drawn to ground around 10inches are incredibly loud, thick
and extremely bright. In some cases they will also split into 4
thicker fainter discharges.

The ozone generation is copious and im a little concerned of x-rays!

So what is the deal with these 90 degree/sets of 4 it seems awfully

Thanks for any education on this behavior.


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