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The squirrel, the fireball, and the explosion

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by sonos, Nov 20, 2005.

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  1. sonos

    sonos Guest

    I was watching the news a few months ago. The eye-witness reports:

    "There was this fireball that travelled down the wire for about a
    block, and when the fireball reached the transformer, there was this
    explosion."

    Authorities blamed a squirrel.

    What was the fireball and why did it travel slowly (and not
    instantaneous like lightning) to the transformer?

    Was the fireball a 'moving molten short'; the squirrel caused
    the initial short, heating the power wire, melting the wire. The molten
    short then melting down the wire to the transformer where the surge caused
    the explosion? Or was it a plasma ball, attracted to the magnetic pull of
    the transformer and the squirrel was just an innocent bystander?
     
  2. Guest

    Try searching on "ball lightening". Look at things like

    http://www.tbns.net/mediapoet/tech19b.htm
     
  3. BS exhibiting his customary comprehension problem...
    What has ball lightening to do with the OP's question?
    The OP was looking for a theory which would encompass the presence of
    a squirrel having some calculable effect on the observed phenomenon
    and thereby accounting to some extent (as yet undetermined) upon it.
    Ball lightening of itself has nothing to do with squirrels.
     
  4. Tim Williams

    Tim Williams Guest

    Sounds like Jacobs Ladder effect, or Lenz' law. Either way, the plasma is
    pushed down line until it reaches something tasty and the conditions change
    (boom).

    Tim
     
  5. Nonsense. Everytime you see ball lighting, a squirrel soul is being
    propelled toward heaven.


    Best regards,
    Spehro Pefhany
     
  6. Guest

    The fireball sounds like ball lightning. Do a bit of background reading
    and your own comprehesion problem might be marginally less pressing.
    The squirrel seems to have been a hypothetical creature, invented by
    the power company to explain the fireball, which presumably measn that
    they don't know anything more about ball lightning than you do.
     
  7. amdx

    amdx Guest

    From ball lightning to squirrel by Omnipelagos,
    http://www.omnipelagos.com/query?start_name=ball+lightning&end_name=squirrel
    s

    Mike :)
     
  8. Andrew

    Andrew Guest

    Poppycock. You all missed the symbolism.

    The wire is the timeline of man. The moving ball of fire is the
    unprecedented acceleration of entropy, with the resulting explosion the
    completion of all order to disorder.

    The squirrel was actually a mouse which, if you have not yet realized, is in
    control of everything.

    Moral of the story: always carry a towel.

    42.
     
  9. Jamie Morken

    Jamie Morken Guest

    When a squirrel is on fire it can only run so fast, especially
    on a wire.

    cheers,
    Jamie
     
  10. Glen Walpert

    Glen Walpert Guest

    Background reading on the web about ball lightning will primarily turn
    up total BS. Ball lightning, a metastable plasma ball (as it is known
    to the physics community) very very rarely produced by regular
    lightning only, cannot possibly attach to a conductor without
    immediately dissipating.
    Squirrels and other rodents do a lot of damage to outdoor wiring,
    invariably leaving behind clear evidence in the form of chewed
    insulation. I have personally seen massive squirrel damage to medium
    voltage cables cause an arc fault, and I doubt if you can find an
    experienced utility lineman anywhere squirrels live who cannot say the
    same. This is why Spehro's theory about squirrel souls going to
    heaven in ball lightning must be wrong; squirrels are evil and their
    souls go straight to hell when they fry on power lines.

    There is no need to hypothesize about rarer than hens teeth ball
    lightning when an ordinary arc fault fits the evidence so much better.
     
  11. Noone

    Noone Guest

    We no longer put up Christmas lights on the Spruce trees on the north side
    of our house. As soon as they are installed and illuminated, the squirrels
    begin chewing off the bulbs thinking they are nuts to be buried. These are
    110 V large parallerl wired bulbs. In looking at the remnant wires, there
    are many places where both wires have been gnawed simulataneously. Never a
    dead squirrel. And we no longer put up lights for their entertainment.

    I played with a guy on a rec sport team once who worked for the local power
    company doing the really high voltage lines. He said no one ever retired
    from his department. He went on to describe how when you get "bit", you
    develop a lot of internal pressure from "steam" (his words) which causes you
    to pop like an over cooked hot dog.

    Theory: Squirrel bridged the wires becoming a conductor (Squirrel Flambe)
    and created a conductive ionized path (arc) that walked down the wire.

    Blakely
     
  12. Chris Carlen

    Chris Carlen Guest


    That doesn't disprove Sphero's theory, it only explains why ball
    lightning is rare. There must be a few worthy squirrel souls, which are
    the ones that lead to ball lightning.



    --
    Good day!

    ________________________________________
    Christopher R. Carlen
    Principal Laser&Electronics Technologist
    Sandia National Laboratories CA USA

    NOTE, delete texts: "RemoveThis" and
    "BOGUS" from email address to reply.
     
  13. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    And when you hear a bell, they get their wings?

    Thanks,
    Rich
     
  14. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Arcs are, indeed, exceedingly weird. I was once working with a guy who was
    trying to teach me TIG (and/or MIG) welding - that's "Tungsten inert gas",
    or "heliarc," and "Metal inert gas", where the electrode and filler are
    the same piece of metal. I never did see "an arc", according to what I
    thought "an arc" should look like. It was like a sort of plasma dome over
    the hot spot. I was looking for something that looked like your
    traditional image of lightning, or that arc you drew to the scope probe
    when you wanted to see what the waveform at the horizontal deflection
    plate cap looked like. But the welding arc wasn't like that at all. It
    was just kinda sorta, like I said, a dome-shaped ball of plasma. Not like
    a Jacob's ladder arc, either.

    But very weird. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find out that ball
    lightning can do weird things.

    Thanks!
    Rich
     
  15. Yeah, you're right, Rich. I had a crack at TIG a while ago and there's
    no "arc" as in the conventional sense. It looks for all the world like
    the fine, and quite sharp cone you get with gas welding - and I guess
    maybe it is plasma. By twiddling a knob on the welder - god knows what
    it controlled - you could completely change the profile of the
    finished fillet, too. Weird! I'll bet the switchers in those things
    work overtime, too. They must take a lot of punishment. :-/
     
  16. Fred Abse

    Fred Abse Guest

    Their fleas can carry bubonic plague, and jump ten feet.
     
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