# Electric Discharge acts as in LC Circuits?

1. Feb 20, 2016

### Samson4

For the most part, do electric discharges behave as tank circuits? For example, an air capacitor; when the electric field causes the air to breakdown and conduct, will the discharge alternate at a frequency defined by the inductance of the plasma channel and the capacitance of the capacitor?

2. Feb 20, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

I don't think so. Many discharges are DC in nature...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_arc

3. Feb 20, 2016

### Samson4

Wait, Ive come to understand that discharges oscillate. For example, lightning.

4. Feb 20, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

Can you post a technical reference that describes that?

5. Feb 20, 2016

### Samson4

Oh wow, just found where I learned that from. Here you go, is quite old:
Discharge Oscillatory The sudden or disruptive discharge of a static condenser such as a Leyden jar or of many other charged conductors is oscillatory in character The direction of the currents rapidly changes so that the discharge is really an alternating current of excessively short total duration The discharge sends electro magnetic waves through the ether which are exactly analogous to those of light but of too long period to affect the eye.

Even though the author is referring to the ether, doesn't mean he is wrong about the alternating nature of disruptive discharges. I had a hard time finding anything else. Can you post a technical reference that describes discharges to be dc?

6. Feb 20, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

Yoiks, that is really old! Can you read some more modern explanations of lightning? It's mainly a DC discharge, but there are certainly high-frequency components due to discontinuities in the discharge.

7. Feb 20, 2016

### Samson4

Yeah haha I know. Can't believe I held on to that information for so long.

I don't understand why it wouldn't oscillate. The only difference between a electric discharge and a tank circuit is the location of the inductor. Unless the magnetic fields produced by plasma channels do not exhibit the same resistance to change that magnetic fields around coils do, shouldn't it oscillate? Where is my understanding going foul?

8. Feb 20, 2016

### nasu

For one, you forget the resistive component. You have oscillations only when the damping is subcritical.

9. Feb 20, 2016

### Samson4

Thank you both for your responses.

10. Feb 21, 2016