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Can we create artificial lightning?

  1. Jul 1, 2009 #1
    Can we create artificial lightning ???
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2009 #2
    Re: lightning !!!!

    yea.. we can. By putting closely two oppositely charged bodies in such a medium that can be ionized into charges due to the electric field caused by the charged bodies. ( "Dielectric Breakdown")
     
  4. Jul 1, 2009 #3
    Re: lightning !!!!

    We can create electric discharges, which is exactly what lightning is, but to my knowledge I don't think there's a facility on the planet that can create as large potential difference as is actually observed in a storm. I.e. to make lightning that is as powerful as 'real' lightning would require a facility that was too large and expensive to be worth it (especially since we can pretty much learn everything about more powerful lightning by studying weaker lightning)
     
  5. Jul 1, 2009 #4
    Re: lightning !!!!

    Although if one really wanted to generate lightning as powerful as that observed in nature and was very, very rich I don't think there's anything preventing you. It's very simple to actually create lightning (big or small) the problem is you need to use a lot of power and, I assume, need a huge bank of capacitors.
     
  6. Jul 1, 2009 #5
  7. Jul 1, 2009 #6
    Re: lightning !!!!

    Well the voltage of lightning is dependent on the length of the strike but, according to wikipedia, a typical strike can carry 30,000 amps. You're not getting that from a van der graaf generator
     
  8. Jul 1, 2009 #7
    Re: lightning !!!!

    An average bolt of positive lightning can carry around a billion volts apparently. So ya. You need a thousand times the voltage of a van der graaf
     
  9. Jul 3, 2009 #8

    LURCH

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    Re: lightning !!!!

    Here's some lightning that's kinda "semi-artificial."

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  10. Jul 3, 2009 #9
    Re: lightning !!!!

    Why can't we create electricity through this "artificial lightning"??
     
  11. Jul 3, 2009 #10

    negitron

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    Re: lightning !!!!

    What would be the point? Due to inefficiencies in the generating system, the power required to create the artificial lightning is less than the power you could get out of it; you'd do better to just use the electrical source directly.
     
  12. Jul 3, 2009 #11
    Re: lightning !!!!

    What is electricity? Do you mean usable electrical power such as is available from a utility?
     
  13. Jul 4, 2009 #12

    LURCH

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    Re: lightning !!!!

    There are some major engineering problems involved. The amount of current to be harnessed would fry most standard gauges of wiring (the wires used in the experiments are vaporised). Getting a charge into a storage medium at that rate is also problematic, to say the least. A bank of batteries would fry. These difficulties, combined with the infrequency and unpredictability of lightning, make it very hard to harness in a way that wouldn't cost more than just generating it the "old-fashioned" way.
     
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