# Arcing and conductivity and object interference

• omarcrysis
omarcrysis
TL;DR Summary
Trying to figure out if a bug coming between two points will create an electrical arc. Say two points with 10cm of air between them. Bug flies between the two high voltage points. Does it get zapped?
Im trying to figure out if I were to have two points with 10cm of humid ocean air between them and a fly or mosquitoes flew between the points, if they would get zapped and create an electrical arc, or if the bug would act as an insulator and be avoided by the arc?

also, could the bug trigger the arc? say There was not enough voltage to almost arc with only air between the points, then the bug flies through and gets zapped But the arc dies out once the bug tumbles away.

i Imagine that setting the voltage low enough to not start on its own but high enough to start when a tiny bug went between the two points would be a very delicate balance… right?

Welcome to PF.
omarcrysis said:
Im trying to figure out if I were to have two points with 10cm of humid ocean air between them and a fly or mosquitoes flew between the points, if they would get zapped and create an electrical arc, or if the bug would act as an insulator and be avoided by the arc?
If the bug was big enough, it would get zapped. The arc that follows is a plasma, that could largely pyrolyse the bug. The bug debris could hang around, and maintain an alternating arc, until the debris was cleared, and a change of polarity extinguished the arc.

Points have a continuous corona discharge that encourages breakdown, while the breakdown of the same width gap between spheres is far less likely.

omarcrysis said:
Im trying to figure out if I were to have two points with 10cm of humid ocean air between them and a fly or mosquitoes flew between the points, if they would get zapped and create an electrical arc, or if the bug would act as an insulator and be avoided by the arc?

also, could the bug trigger the arc? say There was not enough voltage to almost arc with only air between the points, then the bug flies through and gets zapped But the arc dies out once the bug tumbles away.

i Imagine that setting the voltage low enough to not start on its own but high enough to start when a tiny bug went between the two points would be a very delicate balance… right?

That's how some bug zappers work, but not with a 10cm gap. The High Voltage (HV) is applied across smaller gaps, and the bugs/flies are attracted with something like light. This is the bug zapper that I currently have running in my workshop:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08T6672BY/?tag=pfamazon01-20

EDIT/ADD -- I looked inside my bug zapper and the spacing between the alternating HV electrodes looks to be about 1cm or a little less...

Last edited:
Baluncore said:
Welcome to PF.

If the bug was big enough, it would get zapped. The arc that follows is a plasma, that could largely pyrolyse the bug. The bug debris could hang around, and maintain an alternating arc, until the debris was cleared, and a change of polarity extinguished the arc.

Points have a continuous corona discharge that encourages breakdown, while the breakdown of the same width gap between spheres is far less likely.
Perfect! Thank you!
berkeman said:
That's how some bug zappers work, but not with a 10cm gap. The High Voltage (HV) is applied across smaller gaps, and the bugs/flies are attracted with something like light. This is the bug zapper that I currently have running in my workshop:

View attachment 331622
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08T6672BY/?tag=pfamazon01-20

EDIT/ADD -- I looked inside my bug zapper and the spacing between the alternating HV electrodes looks to be about 1cm or a little less...
yeah I was thinking of trying to build a high voltage racquet but with no metal mesh. You know, so that any mosquito that flies in will just get zapped out of thin air.

Same as a mosquito racquet but cooler and way more dangerous

omarcrysis said:
and way more dangerous
And we have a prohibition against dangerous discussions here at PF, so this thread is now closed. Have a nice day.

dlgoff

## What causes electrical arcing?

Electrical arcing occurs when a strong electric field ionizes the air, creating a conductive plasma channel that allows current to flow between two points. This can happen due to high voltage differences, damaged insulation, or improper connections.

## How does conductivity affect electrical arcing?

Conductivity plays a crucial role in electrical arcing. Materials with high conductivity can facilitate the flow of current, potentially reducing the likelihood of arcing by providing a low-resistance path. Conversely, poor conductivity can increase resistance, leading to higher voltage drops and a greater chance of arcing.

## What are common signs of object interference in electrical systems?

Common signs of object interference include unexpected power losses, electrical noise, overheating components, and visible damage such as burn marks or melted insulation. These signs indicate that an object is disrupting the normal flow of electricity.

## How can you prevent electrical arcing in high-voltage systems?

Preventing electrical arcing involves proper insulation, maintaining adequate spacing between conductive parts, using arc suppression devices, and ensuring secure and clean connections. Regular maintenance and inspections can also help identify and mitigate potential issues before they lead to arcing.

## What materials are best for reducing interference in electrical systems?

Materials with high electrical conductivity, such as copper and aluminum, are often used to reduce interference. Additionally, shielding materials like conductive polymers, metal foils, and braided metal can help protect against electromagnetic interference (EMI). Insulating materials like rubber, plastic, and ceramic can prevent unintended conductive paths and reduce arcing risks.

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