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Huge Tesla Coils Will Recreate Natural Lightning 199

jjp9999 writes "In order to study the nature of lighting, the team at Lightning on Demand (LOD) plans to build two, ten-story-tall Tesla coils—the largest ever—that will blast arcs of lightning hundreds of feet in length. LOD founder Greg Leyh said the project aims to reveal details on the initiation process of natural lightning, an area that remains a mystery, since smaller generated arcs have more trouble breaking through the air. It is believed that 'laboratory-scale electric arcs start to gain lightning-like abilities once they grow past about 200ft in length,' according to the LOD website, and so the team hopes to build Tesla coils large enough to do this. According to Leyh, 'Understanding how lightning forms [and grows] is the first step towards being able to control where lightning strikes or being able to suppress it completely in certain areas.'"
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Huge Tesla Coils Will Recreate Natural Lightning

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  • by kurthr ( 30155 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @06:21PM (#38184532)

    Greg is a great guy, giant tesla coils are cool, and I'd love to know more about lightning, but it seems like lots of properties of air (especially when it has water or other polarizable droplets/particles) are frequency dependent. So I'm not sure how that this is really going to act like the natural lightning that we're used to... Science? Ok, but not Natural Lightning Science.

  • by hort_wort ( 1401963 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @06:54PM (#38184760)

    That's a good point. Further, AC transmits electricity. I have a tiny tesla coil in my room that can light up a flourescent bulb from some distance. I'm betting he's gonna blow out all his own equipment the first time he turns it on. I'll give him bonus points if he can spread that EMP burst out enough to fry electronics in nearby homes.

  • Re:Exciting! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Macrat ( 638047 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @07:25PM (#38184942)

    We're now stuck with rubbish like Eureka.

    Eureka has been canceled.

    You are stuck with rubbish like Ghost Hunters.

  • Re:Exciting! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @08:00PM (#38185166)

    At the risk of sounding like a dick, I have to say that's not even wrong. Lightning and em fields don't work that way.

    Well, since we're discussing SyFy Channel movies, I have to say that not a single one of them has ever been based on anything resembling science, science-fiction or reality. Really, you'd think they could at least consult a local college physics instructor before throwing this crap out there. Of course, the only difference between a SyFy Channel flick and a Roland Emmerich production is that he a. gets bigger name actors and b. spends more on special effects that ten year's worth of SyFy's movie budgets.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 27, 2011 @08:32PM (#38185380)

    Tesla was the man. He pioneered everything from physics to telecommunications. Though never realized, he actually figured out how to extract static electricity from the air and turn it into a power source. Talk about renewable energy.... Then there is the tesla turbine? You tube it. Its the sickest little mechanical device and so freaking simple its ridiculous.

      I read the other day that scientists every now and again come across a new invention only to find out tesla patented the same thing 100 years prior.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.