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Researchers create extra-long electrical arcs using less energy

Date:
November 9, 2011
Source:
American Institute of Physics
Summary:
Photos taken by the researchers show plasma arcs up to 60 meters long casting an eerie blue glow over buildings and trees at the High Voltage Laboratory at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

This photograph shows a 60-meter-long arc, thought to be the longest of its type ever created.
Credit: Rowan Sinton, Ryan van Herel, Dr. Wade Enright, and Prof. Pat Bodger (researchers), Ryan van Herel and Dr. Stewart Hardie (photo).

Researchers at the University of Canterbury, in New Zealand, have developed a new, lower-voltage method of generating extra-long, lightning-like electrical arcs.

The arcs are created when an electrical impulse is applied to a thin copper wire that subsequently explodes. By jump-starting the arcs using exploding wires, as opposed to the traditional method of directly breaking down air, the researchers reduced the amount of voltage needed to create an arc of a given length by more than 95 percent.

The researchers have achieved a 60-meter-long arc, thought to be the longest of its type ever created using this method.

The researchers hope that the new method could have wide applications, including inducing real lightning from thunderclouds and creating novel new electrical machines that contain plasma conductors and coils.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rowan Sinton, Ryan Van Herel, Wade Enright, Pat Bodger. Generating Extra Long Arcs Using Exploding Wires. Journal of Applied Physics, 2011; (accepted)

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics. "Researchers create extra-long electrical arcs using less energy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111108201550.htm>.
American Institute of Physics. (2011, November 9). Researchers create extra-long electrical arcs using less energy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111108201550.htm
American Institute of Physics. "Researchers create extra-long electrical arcs using less energy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111108201550.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

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