The United States of Esoterica

Official forum of
It is currently Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:30 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]

Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 3:21 pm 
Member of the Federal Reserve

Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 7:12 pm
Posts: 2524
Location: In the middle of our life's journey

Ball Lightning Explained? R. Colin Johnson

Ball lightning has mystified electricity researchers since Benjamin Franklin first flew his kite in 1752. The very next year, Russian scientist Georg Richmann was killed by ball lightning while flying a kite modeled on Franklin's experiment.

Since then, dozens of hypotheses have been offered to explain ball lightning, from Nikola Tesla's seminal 1904 treatise, The Transmission of Electrical Energy Without Wires, to the most recent explanation offered by University of Canterbury (Christchurch, New Zealand) professors John Abrahamson and James Dinniss, that ball lightning is just vaporized silicon.

Now researchers Antnio Pavo and Gerson Paiva of the Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil claim to have verified the vaporized silicon hypothesis in their laboratory.

"Several years ago, I predicted that the University of Canterbury hypothesis could be tested in the lab, and now these Brazilian experimenters claim to have done it," said Graham Hubler, a physicist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington. "Heck, there will probably be kids making ball lightning in their science lab classes."

Here's the theory: Sand, or silicon dioxide (also called "silica") can be vaporized by a lightning strike in the presence of carbon, causing the short-lived, glowing, floating objects called "ball lightning." The theory maintains that the silicon vapor glows from the heat produced when it recombines with oxygen in the air. That, according to the hypothesis, maintains the ball shape due to condensing silicon on its outside surface that is bound by the electric charge of the lightning.

To test the hypothesis, Pavo and Paiva subjected a silicon substrate to a high-voltage arc with 140 amps of current. As they moved the electrodes apart, an arc vaporized the 350-micron-thick substrate, creating luminous orbs the size of a golf ball.

"In the soil, you have to also have carbon present to make this theory work, because the oxygen in silicon dioxide likes the carbon. So when the lightning vaporizes the silica, its oxygen bonds with the carbon, leaving pure silicon in the hot vapor that forms the lightning balls," said Hubler. "The Brazilian researchers just simplified their experimental setup by starting with pure silicon."

According to Pavo and Paiva, ball lightning persisted for as long as eight seconds and emitted jet plumes and smoke trails—both described in anecdotal accounts of ball lightning. Ball trails spiraled away, suggesting that lightning balls rotate. Color varied from blue to orange white; temperature was estimated to be around 2,000 degrees Kelvin (3,140 degrees F).

The researchers next plan to investigate whether other soil components such as metal alloys and various sulphur compounds could also be vaporized into balls when struck by lightning.

If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. - Thomas Jefferson

Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group