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Artificial Clouds

  1. Aug 20, 2012 #1
    Is it possible to make a 10m^3 artificial cloud at about 1000ft in the sky?

    If yes, how real does it look? Could someone tell the difference between the artificial cloud and the natural clouds simply by looking up at the sky?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 20, 2012 #2


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    What do you mean by the nebulous term "cloud"? A puff of smoke we can make. The mighty cumulonimbus cloud, sprouting lightning and shooting electrons from its electric and magnetic fields is one of the greatest works of nature, hard to understand and impossible to duplicate on demand.

    Respectfully submitted,
  4. Aug 20, 2012 #3
    Good point, I mean this type of cloud: http://whyfiles.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/clouds.jpg

    I am not interested in lightning, rain, or any other weather effects.
  5. Aug 20, 2012 #4


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    Clouds are thought (by me) to be most parsimoniously formed water, sunlight, and some kind of nucleating agent. Even cosmic rays may be involved. The process is not entirely explained at this time. Attempts have been made, either in the field or in theory, to artificially induce them. Some of these attempts border on crackpottery, so it's not an easy topic to discuss.

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012
  6. Aug 20, 2012 #5
    Even with that being the case, is there not a solution that looks just as good to the naked eye?
  7. Aug 20, 2012 #6


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    Perhaps you would be visually satisfied by a rocket discharging a payload of smoke?

  8. Aug 20, 2012 #7
    Those clouds of your picture are cumulus clouds. Nature makes them by different heating rate of the earth below. Hotter air start to rise (convection) and cools adiabatically due to expantion. If the lapse rate of the lower atmosphere is sufficient then cumulus clouds will form. So if you want to make these clouds, have a real big bonfire, boiling water on it, and hope if it works.
  9. Aug 20, 2012 #8
    Wouldn't the rocket be pushing the smoke away from it? How long could this effect pretend to be a cloud before it dissipated?
  10. Aug 20, 2012 #9


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    With sufficient money and time for experimentation, you might do quite well. Perhaps a large balloon carrying a large quantity of fuel for continuous combustion and discharge of smoke could make an impressive display for quite a while. The smoke particles and weather conditions will matter.

    Note: launch of a rocket over one lb will require authorization, and starting a forest fire might get you jailed - so be careful!

  11. Aug 20, 2012 #10
    Like you suggested, it would be done via balloon, so I guess no "launch" would be required. Is there any kind of chemical that is particularly good at looking... cloud like when it comes to these things? I mean I don't want a brown cloud, that would stick out like a saw thumb.
  12. Aug 20, 2012 #11


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    Pyrotechnics are not my forte, but I found this for you: http://www.pyronfo.com/pyrotechnics/the-combustion-reactions-of-a-pyrotechnic-white-smoke-composition.html [Broken]

    Have fun, be safe
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  13. Aug 20, 2012 #12
    Kurt Vonnegut's brother is reported to have invented the method of seeding rain clouds by blasting artillery shells filled with silver nitrate (or nitrite? can't remember).

    Here's my terrible and overly expensive advice for making a large cloud: find a caldera lake. Pipe significant amounts of water out of the lake and into a moat around the base of the volcano. Use irrigation methods to spread the moat over a very large area, like rice paddies.

    Wait for a sunny day. Because of the engineered bacteria you released into the lake the previous day (I mentioned that, right?) produce insulating silicon detritus, The lake will reflect heat into the air above it. This hot air creates an updraft over top the volcano. Updraft will suck in air from surrounding area, which is now more moist than usual because of whole irrigation/moat setup has evaporated water into the air above it.

    Moist warm air being pushed up the slope of a mountain will form a cloud if it goes high enough (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lifted_condensation_level).

    Good luck!
  14. Aug 20, 2012 #13


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    Nuclear plant cooling towers can at least augment and perhaps seed or create cumulus clouds in certain conditions.
  15. Aug 21, 2012 #14
    I am wondering whether something as simple as cotton or spun sugar (fairy floss) could be used as substitutes if all it needed to do was fool someone 1,000 ft away?
  16. Aug 21, 2012 #15


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    It's worth while to consider the amount of Energy needed to get a cloud up there. A cumulus cloud could be 1km square in area. They are generated by the Sun's energy warming up the ground, causing convection. If it takes 1 hour to warm the ground up sufficiently over an area of 106m2, to produce the cloud (I don't know how representative that time is but it can't need more than, say 10 hours), that one hour represents (106X103X3600) J (area times solar constant times time), or about 3.612J or 1GWhr which would be quite an expensive demo.
    All that potentially useful energy 'going to waste', every day over the whole country.
  17. Aug 21, 2012 #16

    Andy Resnick

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    Oh, yes. I got to watch a 60-second shuttle main engine burn test several years ago- it looks just like any other cloud, slowly rising into the sky like a giant balloon.
  18. Aug 21, 2012 #17


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    It just may be that artificial clouds could be extremely useful to save our planet from overheating!

    "Experiment would test cloud geoengineering as way to slow warming"

    "Could man-made clouds halt global warming by reflecting sunlight? Scientist calls for experiments using ships which shoot seawater into the sky"
    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencet...g-ships-shoot-seawater-sky.html#ixzz24EyoiEUf
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