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Thread: "Lightning guns" and Electrical weaponry

  1. #1 "Lightning guns" and Electrical weaponry 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Is it in theory that hard to create a weapon that shoots deadly lightning bolts or the like? Are such weapons to unstable or to hard to maintain?

    I was wondering if such weapons have been developed and if theres any info on such.

    Been searching around abit but cant find anything.

    The reason for this curiosity is my love for video games, where there are tonns of interesting weapons like plasma rifles, bio rifles, lightning guns and the like. Allthough its mainly science fiction ive been wondering why weapons like this dont exist. What is the main problems with the development of such weaponry?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Masters Degree Numsgil's Avatar
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    On a theoretical level, there are fundamental issues. They're hard to aim, basically. Or, if you're in space, they just dissipate harmlessly. Plus, since it's charged particles, it isn't too hard to deflect. See wiki.


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  4. #3  
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    NO, its not directional,unstale,and how are you going to generate millions of volts and thousands of amps or insulate it?
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  5. #4  
    Time Lord
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    I think it's like shooting fire out of a gun. There would have to be some actual substance that carried the charge. (Like how flame throwers shoot a flammable substance at you, rather than just raw fire.)

    Maybe someone could come up with a chemical mixture that spontaneously throws off sparks, or kind of simulates the internal behavior of a storm cloud, in the sense of creating electrical charges inside of itself, and then shocking whatever it comes into contact with.

    However: at the core, it would have to be mostly chemical in nature. Lightning's natural favorite direction is straight at the ground, instead of horizontal toward a target. At the very least, that target would have to be covered in something that attracts it.
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  6. #5  
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    Bottom line is its not a workable concept--the end!
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  7. #6  
    Forum Masters Degree Numsgil's Avatar
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    Not quite the end. There's still military funding being spent investigating. There might be some breakthrough in the future that makes it tenable. It' just not really practical with modern equipment.
    "A witty saying proves nothing." - Voltaire
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  8. #7  
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    People have demonstrated gadgets that use ultraviolet lasers to ionize a path to the target through the air, creating a path of high conductivity for the electricity to travel down. As to whether or not they're in any way a useful weapon, I don't know. I certainly wouldn't want to use one when it was raining.
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  9. #8  
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    I could foresee some coming to light in the future, through the use of magnetic fields for aiming or maintaining and the like. I would assume that they would be incredibly short range though. The most interesting prototype I've heard work on is akin to a light saber, only charged particles caught in a magnteic field in short rings by use of solenoids around an extended shaft, but a huge amount of problems arose on complications so I don't know what ever happened with it.
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  10. #9  
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    There are precedents in such weaponry and they are a future possibility technology wise, whether they're effective (both cost-effective and combat effective) or practical is another matter.

    A show that would really interest you is "Future Weapons" and - obviously - It's about weapons in the future. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Weapons
    You can find the whole first season on DVD so look for it in your local library, video library or store (I can't imagine it'd cost much).

    In one of the first episodes it showed a briefcase (like a James Bond gadget) that could be left around corners and near doorways that would give an electric shock to anyone who went past (like a taser sans the physical contact). The strategy would be for SWAT teams to deploy them at choke points to cut them off or force suspects through them. It's only good for one shot though.

    The other awesome things on the show are working laser weapons that can cut a hole through glass in a second, however they're as big as a 747 and the laser is invisible (unlike in every video game ever), remote controlled combat robots and other awesome things.

    Check it out,
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  11. #10  
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    This stuff is way ahead of are time, maybe 200 years, as we still have a way to find out how to make a simple laser rifle, and not just a line rifle, but one that shoots bullets, this may not technincally be laser, moreso plasma, but i'll call it laser anyway, but anything shooting electric bolts out is not pratical becuase of the price and too many loophole in trying to figure that out. We are entering the digital age and leaving the modern age, if were lucky we may have that at the end of the digital age.
    the more science you know, the less crap you get.
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  12. #11  
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    That kind of weapons can only seen in science fiction movies and video games I think it is impossible to develop that kind of weapons
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  13. #12  
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    Google Farady cage, and come back to us.
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  14. #13  
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    i think the key in aiming an electrical weapon is manipulating the resistance of the medium the electricity is traveling through.

    tazer guns work because they fire wires with low resistance to allow the current to travel to the target.

    a long range purely eletrical weapon would have to lower the resistance of the air. this can be acheived with ionizing radiation(you could probably just kill a person with this if there were enough to lower air's resistance enough), or by firing plasma thorugh the air. generating plasma in a weapon and firing it is along the lines of what joshuacarter said "this stuff is way ahead of our time, maybe 200 years".

    a much more viable means of delivering an electrical charge at long distance is in a self contained projectile. this technology is already being developed. on futureweapons they showed a shotgun that fires a projectile containing a capacitor and two copper leads that stab into a person and send eletricity through their bodies for a short time. this technology is generally low powered and used for stunning a person, if you wanted to kill them you're better off with a solid bullet.
    physics: accurate, objective, boring
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  15. #14  
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    Like saul said, a much more viable means of delivering an electrical charge at long distance is in a self contained projectile.

    ~Anyone here for a Camera Flash Capacitor rifle? this thing when charged, gives the equivalent of putting a finger into an electrical socket.
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  16. #15  
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    Now imagine we had the technology to invent a lightning gun, what would be gained? There are few occasions where a lightning strike would be more efficient than a bullet against a soldier on foot. Vehicles are Faraday cages and would provide excellent protection to passengers.

    While there may be some usage in destroying enemy electronics I would say that doesn't really sound like an all too common situation in warfare, besides there should be easier ways to do that as well I guess.

    Electricity can sure be dangerous, but it is not too hard to protect against. Found some cool videos regarding Tesla Coils and how you can protect yourself against a lightning weapon here http://tesladownunder.com/ (damn, he's got some nice toys)
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  17. #16 Ion guns 
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    An Ion cannon of some description would probably be easier. By superheating a small amount of gas into ions or plasma inside a magnetron and then blasting it out using electromagnets or electric fields. This probably use a lot less energy and for a much shorter time than an electrical arc with much the same effect and a lot more control.

    I believe there are plans for a type of plasma/fusion rocket concept which uses a similar technique, but these work in a vacuum so I am not sure what would happen in a gaseous atmosphere.
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  18. #17  
    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
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    I don't really think that this is practical- what would be gained when you are doing fine with machine guns?
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  19. #18  
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    Yeah... the problem is bullets are so easy, and cannot be protected against with a layer of saran wrap, whereas lightning guns aren't and can...
    People seem to get the idea that shooting lightning is the goal, but that's foolish, and I agree, electrolasers are made. UV rays ionize a path, create voltage, and knock out pedestrians from 20 feet away. But bullets are so much easier.
    If anything, though, you could have some sort of reverse telsa coil, that absorbed voltages somehow, perhaps with an ionized field of air via UV rays, or radio-frequency AC currents, from what I understand. Then you could grab energy from the battery of a military vehicle, run it through a transformer to up the amperage, and explode a length of wire. Like a grenade. That would be awesome but complicated. You could have a true Halo Plasma grenade with a capacitor and transformer in that setup, but it's still all much more complicated and expensive than bullets. That's what bothers me about Halo and other sci-fis. Stupid banshees and revenants, hovering on ionized air and shooting plasma instead of wheels and shells.
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  20. #19  
    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
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    Exactly.
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  21. #20  
    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
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    Exactly.
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  22. #21  
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by saul

    a much more viable means of delivering an electrical charge at long distance is in a self contained projectile. this technology is already being developed. on futureweapons they showed a shotgun that fires a projectile containing a capacitor and two copper leads that stab into a person and send eletricity through their bodies for a short time. this technology is generally low powered and used for stunning a person, if you wanted to kill them you're better off with a solid bullet.
    Improving on this is definitely good for hostage or human shield situations. Just taze everyone, and sort out who's who later.

    Best part is that every hit is a "kill", even if it hits the hand or arm.
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