Re: Poulsen arc gap / Magnetic blow-out spark gaps....

    The Poulsen Arc's defining characteristic, the carbon gap quenched with
hydrogen, I think would be the most important feature to consider.  Kudos to
Jeff who has actually experimented with carbon gaps--I haven't gotten this far.
However I would like to suggest some areas for continuing experimentation.
First of all, a series of multiple gaps, with groups of carbon+tungsten or
copper electrodes in series would work just as well as one gap with magnetic
blowout.  Since the oscillatory characteristic seems to have to do with the
carbon/metal combination, it shouldn't be necessary to construct an elaborate
magnetic blowout (or am I wrong?).
The design I envisioned would have a long aluminum chamber with platinum spark
plugs on one side (with the second electrode ground off) and carbon electrodes,
perhaps housed in fuse casings on the other.  Each set would be connected in
series.  Before firing up the coil, alchohol would be introduced into one
end of
the chamber, the other end of which would remain open to air through an open
hatch.  The alchohol would evaporate along the floor, whereapon the vapors
ignite, coming into contact with the platinum electrodes.  After all the hot
vapour had been expelled, along with all the oxygen,  the hatch would be
and more alchohol introduced, perhaps drawn into the chamber automatically by
the vacuum produced in the reaction.  Sound impossible? Probably.  Just an

            Reactions welcome.