Subject: BALL LIGHTNING
From: richard.quick-at-slug-dot-org (Richard Quick)
Date: Fri, 5 May 1995 00:41:00 GMT
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Quoting Ed Sonderman:
ES> The son of a friend of mine wants to do a research paper on
ES> lightning and particularly ball lightning. I have seen comments
ES> here in the past about making ball lightning using a tesla coil.
ES> Has anyone done this before?
ES> If you have any sources for research material on this subject I
ES> would appreciate some help.
Yes, this has been done by Tesla, and by Kenneth L. Corum and James
F. Corum, who were the first people to my knowledge to accurately
decipher Tesla's sometimes crypic notes and reproduce Tesla's orignal
experimental method. Corum & Corum published in the Tesla Coil Builders
Association publication "NEWS" Volume 8, #3--July, August, September--
1989, "Tesla's Production of Electric Fireballs", pp 13-18. This article
includes four B&W photos, one page of apparatus schematics, and an
extensive bibliography. It is available as a back issue from the TCBA.
In addition Corum and Corum published a more lengthy paper in 1988 titled:
FIRE BALLS - A Collection of Laboratory Experiment Photographs; which
consists of text plus 36 color photographs and commentary, 50 pp total
for $55.00 and available from: Corum & Assoc. Inc., 8551 State Route 534
Windsor, OH 44099.
Tesla, of course, was the first person that I am aware of to produce
electrical fire balls in the laboratory. Tesla shows dozens of diagrams
and photographs of apparatus capable of producing fireballs in the
COLORADO SPRINGS NOTES (or CSN). See the notes and diagrams on pp
114-115, 174, 176, 177, text on pp 368-370, etc...
The CSN is liberally sprinkled with circuits and techniques for fire
ball production; the problem being that Tesla does not show a wiring
diagram and say "This circuit produces fireballs." The circuits he
used are diagramed in the course of the notes, but the discussion of
fireballs appears in different sections with no clear connection to a
particular circuit schematic. The key to understanding the versitility
of these circuits is in realizing that the main coils were large and
difficult to move. However, by simply moving the base lead wires around
and adjusting the dischargers and tank circuit tune, it was easy to fire
a Magnifier configuration one minute, and a fire ball machine the next.
(well a few minutes anyway!)
> THE COLORADO SPRINGS NOTES, 1899-1900
By Nikola Tesla... Hardcover, 440pp, Published by NOLIT, Beograd,
Yugoslavia, 1978. Prefaced and annotated by Aleksandar Marincic,
Assoc. Prof. of EE Beograd Univ. and advisor to the Nikola Tesla
BTW, the fireball circuit basically consists of two secondary coils
with substantially different frequencies (say 67 kHz & 156 kHz)
coupled to the same tank circuit. The Corums used a primary coil
shaped like an oval racetrack (or a modern football stadium) with
the two secondary coils positioned inside. Points are generally
added to the coil dischargers to force the two coils to strike one
another. Carbon vapor assists in the production of a stable plasma
sphere, so the discharger points are doped with carbonaceous material.
... If all else fails... Throw another megavolt across it!
___ Blue Wave/QWK v2.12