Tesla Ball Lightning

Quoting Phil Mason:

 PM> I have got a book from around the turn of the century called
 PM> 'Electricity in the service of man.' It is a translation of  
 PM> a German text. Reading Ed's email about the high voltage     
 PM> applied over a bath of brine, in an attempt to produce ball  
 PM> lightning, reminded me of an illustration in this book. It   
 PM> is apparently possible to produce a glowing plasma-like ball 
 PM> over the water and around the electrode, when connected to a 
 PM> very large battery (of 100 cells) - I seem to remember the   
 PM> emphasis being on current as opposed to voltage. Anyway, I   
 PM> shall dig out the book this weekend and let you know.

OK, I have seen video tape and apparatus photos (including the
fireballs) recorded by Robert Golka a few years back. It concurs
with the information you posted above. Robert Golka used a very
high current, low voltage, step-down transformer with a pulse
action switch (no capacitors, coils, etc.. just a heavy step-down
xfmr and switching network). Golka placed aluminum plates near
the surface of the water tank, and using a hand-held electrode
fitted with what looked like an arc welding rod, switched the
current into the aluminum plate. Fireballs jumped out of the
water and floated across the tank.


I was in a group who discussed these experimental results at
length after we viewed the experiment documentation. We came to a
conclusion based on clearly presented evidence that while Golka
had indeed produced "fireballs" this was not a case of laboratory
production of "ball lightning". There is a difference.

We examined photos of the damage done to the aluminum plate and
the high current electrode. We also examined photos of small
spherical residue left when Golka's fireballs extinguished.
We came to the conclusion that Golka's fireballs consisted of
burning metal particles and metal plasma. The fireballs left a
spherical bead of dross that is typical of welding residue.

This experiment documents a completely different set of
conditions that were noted by Tesla in the Colorado Springs
Notes, and by Kenneth and James Corum is their work done
reproducing Tesla's apparatus.

Tesla's patent record contains an ominous warning concerning
operation of his large Magnifier circuits. I refer you to Patent
No. 1,119,732 patented 12/1/1914, lines 120 - 154:

NT> The adjustments should be made with particular care when the
NT> transmitter is one of great power, not only on account of 
NT> economy, but also in order to avoid danger. I have shown that
NT> it is practicable to produce in a resonating circuit E A B B'
NT> D immense electrical activities, measured by tens and even 
NT> hundreds of thousands of horse-power, and in such a case, if
NT> the points of maximum pressure should be shifted below the 
NT> terminal D, along coil B, a ball of fire might break out and
NT> destroy the support F or anything else in the way. For the
NT> better appreciation of the nature of this danger it should be 
NT> stated, that the destructive action may take place with in-
NT> conceivable violence. This will cease to be surprising when 
NT> it is borne in mind, that the entire energy accumulated in 
NT> the excited circuit, instead of requiring, as under normal
NT> working conditions one quarter of the period or more for its
NT> transformation from static to kinetic form, may spend itself
NT> in an incomparably smaller interval of time, at a rate of 
NT> many millions of horse-power. The accident is apt to occur 
NT> when, the transmitter circuit being strongly excited, the
NT> impressed oscillations upon it are caused, in any manner
NT> more or less sudden, to be more rapid than the free oscil-
NT> lations. It is therefore advisable to begin the adjustments
NT> with feeble and somewhat slower impressed oscillations, 
NT> strengthening and quickening them gradually, until the ap-
NT> paratus has been brought under perfect control.

"E" above refers to the dedicated RF ground. "A" refers to the
grounded secondary coil. "B" refers to the extra coil. "B'"
refers to an RF transmission line linking the top of the extra
coil to the air terminal. "D" is a very large toriod terminal.
"F" is a support tower over 100 feet high for mounting the
apparatus and capped with air terminal "D". 

To take a bit of liberty with Tesla's rather archaic prose,
he is talking about a three coil system with a large discharger.
The primary and secondary coils are acting as a narrow band
signal generator, and the signal is fed by RF transmission line
into the base of the extra coil, which is mounted in this case
above the primary/secondary, directly below the toriod terminal.
The extra coil is electrically operating as a normal Tesla
secondary would be in a 1/4 wave system; though instead of being
inductively coupling to the primary, the extra coil is base fed
with RF current.

His first statement regarding tens, even hundreds, of thousands
of horse-power is a measure of the energy stored and processed
over a 1/4 wave cycle (actually it is slightly longer in the
quoted patent) in the tuned and resonating coil system from the
ground to the air terminal. He next refers to shift in nodal
points in the circuit, from the top of the discharge terminal, to
a section of the extra coil. With this shift of nodal points, he
notes the grave possiblities of fireball production. He then
notes that with the shift in nodal points the entire system
frequency has been compromised, and that instead of an orderly
processing of the system energy over a 1/4 wavelength (or more)
period of time, resonance collapses and the system energy is
released nearly instantly; at a rate that Tesla notes is many
millions of horse-power.

Tesla tells us this accident is likely to occur in a large
Magnifier coil system where the coils are fully powered, but not
perfectly in tune. He notes that it is the introduction of a
higher frequency signal into the circuit which causes the nodal
point to shift downwards, and advises a slow power up with a low
frequency, gradually increasing both power and frequency, until
the system is brought into perfect tune.

This little warning by Tesla is also in line with some of the
circuits he experimented with at Colorado Springs, and his notes
on fireballs there contain the same circuit elements as the
patent quoted above: two or more coils in the circuit (in
addition to the primary/tank circuit); sudden shift in the
resonate frequency of the system, or two coils of different
resonate frequency striking one another; resulting in a very
sudden release (near instantaneous) of the energy is what had
been a tuned and excited resonant circuit.

Comments anyone?

Richard Quick

... If all else fails... Throw another megavolt across it!
___ Blue Wave/QWK v2.12