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Thread: Creating electric arcs within a tube

  1. #1 Creating electric arcs within a tube 
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    Hello,

    I want to create a long tube(possibly glass or cheaper material that is see through if possible). It will be 16feet long)rectangle shape, with a width if like 1") which i want to create electric arcs within(giving the lightning effect), however I have no clue how to go about this and if it will be very costly to do so.

    Thanks in advance.


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  3. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sidw View Post
    Hello,

    I want to create a long tube(possibly glass or cheaper material that is see through if possible). It will be 16feet long)rectangle shape, with a width if like 1") which i want to create electric arcs within(giving the lightning effect), however I have no clue how to go about this and if it will be very costly to do so.

    Thanks in advance.
    Very hard, very expensive, and very dangerous. At STP, air has a breakdown field of several MV (that's megavolts) per meter. Blindly relying on that number, your 5-meter tube would seem to require on the order of 15-20MV. Even with cleverly shaped electrodes, and playing a bit with gas composition and pressure, you're still looking at megavolts. Even if you could successfully generate such voltages, you'd have dangerous hard x-ray emission.

    To make this practical, you'll need to shrink the tube considerably, to inches, rather than feet. Then you'll have a shot at getting by with tens of kV (accessible using parts salvaged from old-style CRT color TVs). You'll still be generating soft x-rays, so the risk, while reduced, is non-zero.


    Last edited by tk421; March 28th, 2013 at 01:00 AM.
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  4. #3  
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    A long, thin, gas-filled tube containing low-pressure of neon, xenon, or mixture, with argon, if desired, may be easily flashed on and off rapidly to create some rather spectacular effects, using 15,000 volts, or less, relatively safely, if current is limited to about 50 milliamperes or less.

    Not exactly "lightning-bolt" type effects.

    This is the standard "neon-sign" device.

    jocular
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