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Tesla coil vs flying insects

  1. Oct 27, 2013 #1
    Will the high-voltage arc from a tesla coil zap flying insects like mosquitoes if they are close enough to it but are still airborne?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 27, 2013 #2
    I didn't know this was such a hard question to answer..
  4. Oct 27, 2013 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Seems like no mosquito who dared try it is still here to answer you.... :smile:
  5. Oct 27, 2013 #4


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    Gold Member

    First you should think about how a tesla coil creates an arc when there is nothing to arc to. This is described in quite a few online articles, even wikipedia.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504784_162-57575409-10391705/ [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Oct 27, 2013 #5
    It still creates arcs through the air even when there is no metal nearby. I was wondering if a fly within range would be a path of least resistance for the electricity built up in the coil
  7. Oct 27, 2013 #6


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    In my opinion, yes, a flying mosquito nearby a high voltage arc would likely be killed or so seriously injured that it could no longer suck blood from mammals.

    The electric arc in air creates a shock wave which results in a loud acoustic “crack” sound. Lightning and thunder are natural examples of this process. Nearby the arc large amounts of heat can burn the mosquito’s thin, dry wings causing it to fall to the ground, unable to fly. The intense light from the hot plasma may blind them. The massive overpressure caused by the physical shock wave passing over the mosquito body may cause the crushing of internal organs, especially the gas-containing organs and or abdominal hemorrhage.

    Cheers, Bobbywhy
  8. Oct 29, 2013 #7


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    I don't know about Tesla coils, but my 500KV 20mA Van De Graff generator will fry any slug that comes in extended contact with a discharge. Execution by static discharge....
    www.physicsplayground.com is my ultimate resource for VDGs. he does some work with tesla coils as well.

    For Mosquitoes, remember that they aren't grounded while in flight. Yes, some ionic dissipation occurs through the air, but for all practical purposes, mosquitoes wouldn't attract any special attention from a Tesla coil unless it passes through a streamer. While it's been confirmed humans* have a very small electric field under their skin, i don't know if it exists in mosquitoes and contributes to attracting streamers.
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