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Lightning Powered Electromagnets

  1. Jan 3, 2006 #1
    What kind of Magnetic flux do you think we could harness with a scheme like this Lightning Powered Electromagnet.:surprised
     

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  3. Jan 3, 2006 #2

    Danger

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    Just how big is that thing supposed to be? Unless those windings are about 6" diameter cable, I think it would melt. Even then, the core might.
     
  4. Jan 3, 2006 #3
    It would be built according to the needed specifications.

    The Ceramic Insulator would be designed to withstand high temperatures and High Voltage penetration.

    The Cable windings could be made from Bridge Cable, 4 to 6 inch OD, It's possible to Machine a winding from Solid core rod 3 to 4 inches OD, If Hollow pipe is used then this could allow a coolant to flow inside the winding to cool the system by cryogenics.

    All kinds of alternatives in design material.

    Industrial pipe bender anyone?:rofl:

    But anyways, It was the principle of igniting a spark in some of the great minds within this forum.

    Please comment.
     
  5. Jan 3, 2006 #4

    Danger

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    The fluid-filled tubing sounds like a pretty good idea, if it doesn't explode from steam pressure. I'm curious about how you'd insulate the windings themselves, though. You'd need some pretty heavy jacketing around the coils, or cables, or whatever to avoid just arcing across the thing.
     
  6. Jan 3, 2006 #5

    berkeman

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    Looks like you could make one heck of a nature-powered rail gun like that. Maybe PF could hold a forum competition for the world record longest shot by a naturally-powered rail gun.....:bugeye: :devil:
     
  7. Jan 3, 2006 #6
    Since we would be dealing with a high amount of Ampere per second we wouldn't need a lot of winding, The Winding could be incased in a Ceramic Cylinder to act as an Insulator to prevent Cable Insulated penetration by the high voltage. Leaving a couple of inches of Ceramic encasement or more between Winds. The Ceramic encasement would appear like a cylinder with the winding concealed inside it. Of course the contraction of the Winding would probably shatter the Ceramic from the intense Magnetic Field but it would be a mental start.

    2000 joules of Energy running in a coil of 2 windings alone can cut a beer can in half.

    But anyway's it would still be fascinating and might lead to some world record Man made Magnetic Fields.:smile:
     
  8. Jan 3, 2006 #7

    Danger

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    It's a fun excercise, for sure, although outside of my realm. I'll definitely keep an eye on this thread.
    Berkeman, I like the way your mind works. :devil: Just remember to warn everybody two or three states over when you're going to fire the thing.
     
  9. Jan 4, 2006 #8
    Hmmm rail gun,, There might be a way to put payloads in space. Just have to find a way to make lightning strike more predictably.
     
  10. Jan 4, 2006 #9

    Danger

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    Replace the lightning rod with a golfer.

    Actually, I wonder whether or not a balloon could carry a heavy enough input cable into a cloud. That should increase the odds of a hit.
     
  11. Jan 4, 2006 #10

    berkeman

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    I remember a Nova episode or other science channel show that showed an outdoor laboratory that did a lot of experimenting with lightning. They were located in some area with lots of thunderstorm activity, and they used small rockets to seed paths for the lightening to strike down to their sensors on the ground. Maybe I'll see if I can find a link to them.....
     
  12. Jan 4, 2006 #11

    Danger

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    Right... I saw that. I don't think that it was Nova, though, because I don't get cable. It seems to me that it was called 'Stormchasers'. The problem is that I can't remember how much of what I'm thinking of is from the documentary and how much is from 'Twister'. :redface:
     
  13. Jan 4, 2006 #12

    berkeman

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    So I googled the following for fun, and got some good hits:

    +lightning experiment +rocket

    http://plaza.ufl.edu/rakov/sipda1999.htm

    http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technology/rocket_lightning_030130.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightning

    http://www.eurekalert.org/features/kids/2005-02/dlnl-lia021405.php

    That last one is interesting....

     
  14. Jan 4, 2006 #13
    It was scientific american frontiers i think w/ Alan Alda narrating. The research lab was in FL. They had awsome footage of stikes to the tower.
     
  15. Jan 5, 2006 #14
    Here is a link to an article about one of the most powerful electromagnets, if not the most powerful, yet devised, which I snagged from a thread started by Astronuc a couple weeks ago.

    http://www.magnet.fsu.edu/focus/operation.html

    The magnet is powered by one single megajoule, and that can only be pulsed for a very brief amount of time from a capacitor bank. They have to set off explosives all around the magnet to contain it when it's pulsed in order to create the brief magnetic field. If not, the thing will simply rip itself apart from the magnetic forces.

    Now your attachment is talking about trying to put FIVE HUNDRED megajoule bolt of lightning through a coil.
     
  16. Jan 5, 2006 #15

    Danger

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    Wow, Zoob... that's amazing. I'm glad that you reposted that, because I never saw it the first time around.
     
  17. Jan 5, 2006 #16
    I'll leave any Iron suppliments at home that day!:surprised
     
  18. Jan 5, 2006 #17

    Integral

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    Using a lighting bolt is not the best way to go. To much energy, to short a time. BUT....

    What may be harvest able is the energy represented by the potential difference which created the lighting bolt. When a lighting strike occurs, the stored energy is lost. We need a way to control and utilize this energy. In a sense Ben Franklin was trying to do this over 200 yrs ago. He was using a kite to charge a Leyden jar (an early capacitor) . As Ben found, attracting the atmospheric charge is easy, controlling it is a whole different problem.

    Your time would be better spent contemplating that. Once the bolt of lighting strikes the ground the energy is transformed to less useful forms.
     
  19. Jan 5, 2006 #18
    I know. The whole thing is mindblowing. Cooling the coils is not the problem at all, it's the fact that, after a point, no coil materials can withstand the magnetic field.

    Here's Astronuc's whole thread:

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=104831
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2006
  20. Jan 5, 2006 #19
    I think it you'd have less flux built up than first assumed. A lightning strike contains a large amount of high frequencies. So much that it doesn't even like to turn corners. It would most likely arc from one turn to the next to the next to the next and etc. in the coil. Once the air is broken down, it is easy for the DC component to travel through the arc as well.
     
  21. Jan 5, 2006 #20
    Even though it would probably be a destructive Electromagnet that can only be used once, It would still be cool to produce the world record Magnetic field.

    Also, You would only need a couple of very large turns of coil at those Amp levels per second.

    Something like a 1 foot OD rod bent to form a two turn coil.

    I wonder if it would last long enough to get a super Magnetic field, If so then working out any other additional specs could increase our field time by increasing the diameter and material of the rod that we would make our coil from with each additional test.

    I was also thinking of a single layer Pancake cable coil alone with other Electromagnetic forms.:smile:
     
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