Re: theory(?) for long sparks

From: 	D.C. Cox[SMTP:DR.RESONANCE-at-next-wave-dot-net]
Sent: 	Wednesday, December 03, 1997 1:59 PM
To: 	Tesla List
Subject: 	Re: theory(?) for long sparks

to: Malcom

The metal effect is valid.   Dr. R.G. Herb, University of Wisconsin, Dept
Plasma Physics, conducted research in this area in the late 1960's.  It
seems high voltage charges were developing microscopic "metal whiskers" off
of insulator stacks.  The whiskers would "grow" under high electrostatic
charges between metal toroids separated by ceramic insulators they were
developing for ultra high voltage ion accelerator tubes.  Dr. Herb is the
founder of National Electrostatics, Middleton, Wisconsin.  They developed
and market the "Pelletron" series of electrostatic accelerators that
produce beam currents of several milliAmperes at potentials up to 35 MEV
(Israel and Brazil installations).  These "whiskers" do have some effect in
the very large machines such as the units Rich Hull and Greg Leyh are


> From: Tesla List <tesla-at-pupman-dot-com>
> To: 'Tesla List' <tesla-at-poodle.pupman-dot-com>
> Subject: Re: theory(?) for long sparks
> Date: Tuesday, December 02, 1997 12:21 AM
> From: 	Malcolm Watts[SMTP:MALCOLM-at-directorate.wnp.ac.nz]
> Sent: 	Sunday, November 30, 1997 5:38 PM
> To: 	Tesla List
> Subject: 	Re: theory(?) for long sparks
> Bert, all,
>            Just to inject a note into this *very* interesting 
> discussion, you can greatly lengthen high voltage sparks by 
> providing a few intermediate "steps" such as isolated bits of metal. 
> It seems that by providing intermediate non-dissipative energy stores, 
> the charge can be made to propagate further and further. This might 
> well be the mechanism at work in the "tracking along the insulator" 
> scenario. I think our streamers are doing this on successive breaks. 
> I remember Richard Hull mentioned this mechanism once.
>     The mechanism seems to be that once a streamer attaches to an 
> intermediate step, charge is stored in the step and probably gets 
> significantly near the original voltage because of the rather low 
> impedance of the attached streamer. If my understanding of stepped 
> leader formation in lightning is correct, this is much the same.
> The forming spark travels some distance, then regroups as charge 
> accumulates at this point for the next part of the total leap.
> More speculatin',
> Malcolm