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Thread: Somewhat Controllable Lightning?

  1. #1 Somewhat Controllable Lightning? 
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    Ok, so, my knowledge on this topic is not very extensive, but I do know that lightning happens because the top of a cloud is positively charged and the bottom is negatively charged and the earth has a positive charge so it is almost like a short circuit between the earth and the cloud. I know lightning takes the path of least resistance and travels through ionized air. So, my question is, would it be possible to create a controlled air ionizer (almost like a large controlled air purifier) in order to artificially create an area of ionized air, thus making lightning more likely to strike in this area?

    This may be a stupid question, so please don't tear me apart. I know the internet is not a very friendly place


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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    This is (indirectly) what lightning rods do.

    I don't know if anyone has tried to make them work better by adding an ioniser...


    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    Make the ioniser larger and take up more surface area by having multple numbers of them, find a way to start a storm by cloud seeding and then use massive capictors with those new batteries that charge real fast, really simple thinking here but it would work. No doubt massive energy can be made from natural phenomena they just won't because *cough* can't put a meter on it.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quantime View Post
    No doubt massive energy can be made from natural phenomena they just won't because *cough* can't put a meter on it.
    If you built a system to capture the energy from lightning, then why couldn't you stick a meter on it. The problem is that you would have to build a huge infrastructure to capture and store energy that is only available for microseconds. It isn't worth it. If you think it is, then go ahead and do it. (But do the math first.)

    Here you go, this will get you started: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvest...ghtning_energy

    Here is a great video that show how lightning finds the highest point to strike: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dukkO7c2eUE
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    Thanks for the links there strange I'm going to look into them now, my premise was on a similar predication of a high powered laser that output enough energy from a 10^-12 second burst to power a 100W lightbulb for 6 seconds!
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  7. #6  
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    Thanks for the answers! I wasn't really thinking about any sort of practical application for this (such as a power source), the thought just sort-of popped into my head and I just wondered if it was possible. If there were some way to not only capture, but store the energy that was captured from the lightning would it be a feasible power source? (Strictly hypothetical, of course). I know the lack of the ability to store energy that is generated by wind turbines is one of their major pitfalls and was just wondering if this would be similar
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    The harnessing of natural phenomena is a seductive beckoning, no doubt about it! Sunlight, wind, the tides, lightning. Beyond those, the incredible stresses built up between sides common to a large fault (harness pre-earthquake process?).

    Use technology to bolster perhaps tides and wind, by maybe reducing orbital velocity of the moon, slightly? Too radical?

    Despite my failing memory, I distinctly recall, about 40 years ago, before the completion of the wondrous Alaska Pipeline, which was touted as being built to bathe the lower 48 in gasoline, there was a "push" going on to back solar energy: solar-produced electricity using silicon solar cells. What happened quietly to that impetus was that the price of such materials mysteriously began to rise steeply, the patent rights covering much of the cell construction were purchased (in part by Atlantic-Richfield Corp, the lessor to which I had signed-on as a Retailer), and other oil companies, and shelved. The cost per watt produced through solar power became ridiculously high, and still is. That cost, to go big-time, includes an enormous real estate commitment, in addition to equipment capital investment.

    Maybe lightning can be "harnessed" more favorably? jocular
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  9. #8  
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    A real way to initiate lightning strike is by attaching metal wire to a sounding-rocket (rocket that shoot upward). When this metal wire touches the charged cloud, the lightning will immediately shoot thru it. I saw this in a documentary where researcher often use this technique for studying lighting up close and is the only easy way to initiate on demand lightning.

    Another exotic non-feasible method is to fire powerful laser to create ionize beam which substitute the metal wire, or a more cheap but dangerous method is to attach a wire to a kite and fly the kite in stormy day (like Benjamin Franklin did) and connect them to a capacitor (or an ancient form of capacitor: Leyden Jar) to store electric charge <-- this idea I learn from educational computer game, do not try.
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