# Bigger Arcs

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by John Steaver, Nov 14, 2015.

Not open for further replies.
1. ### John Steaver

35
2
Oct 28, 2015
hi, I was wondering any other ways to produce high voltage other than tesla coil or VDGG or cockroft Walton generator? Also is there any way to make the arcs bigger than 50cm per 500kv? could you ionise the air? thanks - John

2. ### hevans1944Hop - AC8NS

4,587
2,144
Jun 21, 2012
There is a huge potential difference between the Earth and the upper atmosphere that is responsible for world-wide lightning discharges at a rate of about fifty or sixty strikes per second. The Japanese have been using lasers to encourage these strikes for the purpose of testing the survivabilty of high-voltage power transmission lines. Many years ago I had a similar idea of using an orbiting high-power infrared and coaxial ultraviolet laser to establish an ionized conducting path to "bring down the lightning" as a weapon, but the idea went nowhere AFAIK. Probably has something to do with not wanting to put weapons in space and starting a race for world domination. Where's Lex Luthor when you want to field really radical ideas?

3. ### (*steve*)¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥdModerator

25,482
2,830
Jan 21, 2010
one obvious answer is to use an alternate conductor than ionised air. Metal comes to mind (but it's hard to see the effect within it)

the other option is to use a tube filled with a low pressure gas. Neon and xenon are great choices but even air will work.

4. ### John Steaver

35
2
Oct 28, 2015
so your saying there is no way to create bigger arcs that doesn't involve tubes? oh and with the 500kv per 50cm, is the 50cm arc just in the air or is it with a metal conductor? thanks for replying

5. ### hevans1944Hop - AC8NS

4,587
2,144
Jun 21, 2012
The 50 cm per 500 kV arc distance is only an approximate figure. To arc a distance of one meter (1000 cm) requires about 3.4 MV, so twenty times the distance of 50 cm (1000 cm) requires only slightly less than seven times the voltage to produce an arc in air.

An arc, by definition, is a conductive ionized gas, so an arc in air is ionized air. If you want longer arcs, you need higher voltages. The problem is generally not the creation of the high voltage, but its containment.

6. ### John Steaver

35
2
Oct 28, 2015
are the arcs longer with a metal conductor that's places near the power source? What do u mean by containment? and could you list all of the ways to produce high voltage? sorry for all the questions. thanks

7. ### davennModerator

13,789
1,937
Sep 5, 2009
if you don't understand how to contain/deal with these sorts of voltages
and going by your basic questions, you don't
You shouldn't be playing with such potentially lethal gear