Threadlike streams of "Electric wind"



Electric Spacecraft Journal Oct/Nov/Dec Issue, Published Oct. 16, 1995
73 Sunlight Dr., Leicester, NC 28748 USA

"A History of the Electric Wind" by Myron Robinson
American Journal of Physics: AJP 30, pp366-372, 1962

"Embryology of ball lightning with umbilical cord", by S. Kawano
Nanakuma, Fukuoka, Japan, to be presented 8/99 at ICBL-99


Date: Mon, 06 Jul 1998 17:03:43
Newsgroup: sci.physics
Subject: Re: Threads of high-voltage air
From: tefremouw a stthomas edu

Thanks to Bill for the fascinating description of his high-voltage
"air thread" discovery!

Attached is a drawing of an experiment I tried this weekend,
using a Wimshurst machine as the electrostatic generator.

The end of the charged wire is like a fan, "blowing" the fog
out of the pan.  A "weaker wind" originates from various points
along the wire, each poking a hole in the fog.

These "holes in the fog" behaved as Bill described in earlier postings,
except that they were not small "air threads".  Some were thicker
than a pencil, and all seemed to spread out as they reached into the fog.
Odds are that my electrostatic generator was producing a much higher           
voltage than the 5-10K which Bill used.

For now, I'm happy to have found another way to "see" the electric
wind!  Many mysteries remain.  What should I do differently, to observe
the uniform thickness air threads which Bill encountered?  The fog sure
whirled around some of the holes. Was it just a matter of having too much
dry ice, or was something more interesting going on?!

Has anyone else tried this?  Please post!
    --Tim Fremouw
       Minneapolis, MN
       tefremouw a stthomas edu
Attachment:  Exp01.jpg (57K) 

Subject: Re: Threads of high-voltage air From: Paul Birke Date: 1998/07/07,sci.physics, In an experiment performed at the University of Guelph in 1997 my friend Blair Cleveland has reported similar "air threads". For now, I have no further details now only to say this anomaly was noticed, discussed and somewhat forgotten. Thanx so much for reporting this result; Paul Victor Birke, member Guelph Tesla Group Date: Mon, 08 Jun 1998 15:17:26 -0400 From: Gerald Zani To: Subject: Re: FUN: high-speed electrostatic air-threads The closest thing I could find that might help explain the very curious and unique "Kirlian" like phenomina that you described is Sutton E-42 "The Movement of Charged Material Along Lines of Force." It describes the spectacular behavior of molten rosin when it is electrified with an electrostatic machine. A pool of molten rosin sitting placidly in a conducting ladle will come alive when charged. It forms tiny, streaming filamentous jets that spurt upward and outward for an appreciable distance in long, straight, spaced apart lines. The 'jets' follow the lines of the electric field. Sounds similar? I've had fun playing with small dry ice fragments floating in hot water before. But toying with the high voltage coronal wind was a brilliant stroke of added curiousity. Nice. Like Karl said, put it in a bottle and sell it.
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 12:37:19 -0700 (PDT) From: William Beaty <> To: hubble a coho net Subject: other people suspect plasma-streamers?!! Hey, I didn't know that there were any others who thought along the lines of interplanetary plasma streamers! For a desktop version of this, see: /weird/unusual/airthred.html No vacuum chamber is required! In the above demonstration, matter is transported at fairly high velocites in an extremely long, narrow ionized channel. When the stream-generator (a finger!) is moved rapidly across the CO2 fog, it slices a path through the fog. The plasma streamers respond to e-fields, and an electrode at 60Hz 4,000v can move a streamer back and forth across about 15mm. I'd never considered the idea, but yes, lunar rilles could exactly be the scars caused by plasma streamers. Close inspection of the streamers in the above experiment shows that, where they touch down, they create a circulating torus of material which surrounds the narrow core of the plasma streamer. Since the streamers transport matter and not just electric current, this "torus circulation" might still appear in a vacuum environment. If such a thing was driven across a field of fine powder, it might carve a narrow groove as well as a wider surrounding region where material was flung upwards. I've never tried messing with powders, just with liquids and with fog layers. There's a guy at Sandia labs who believes that similar plasma structures play a part in the upper atmosphere (sprites and jets), possibly are the driving force in tornados, might have produced many lunar craters, and possibly play a part in several bizarre phenomenona such as "cattle mutilations" and crop circles (the simple kind, not the crazy manmade artworks.) His ideas are too weird for Sandia, so he has not explored them, and his only publication has been an paper distributed at the Society for Scientific Exploration meeting at Albequrque, 1999 It's a very interesting idea: a cow, if caught in the ground-termination of a huge, silent plasma streamer, would be killed by massive corona outbreaks on all body orifices, and the corona would eat away the flesh in the manner of a super-hot, low density blow torch. No UFO aliens needed! (If this truely occurs, then the tips of nearby plants should also be scorched in the same manner.) If a non-moving plasma streamer landed on the moon, it would create what looks like a meteor crater... but there would be no changes other than at the surface. Such a crater would tend to have a small structure at the exact center (buy why a mound? why not a hole?), and the surface within the crater might have a thin layer of glass (a result of the high temperatures of the discharge.) Lunar dust which was ejected during the plasma event would be melted by the discharge, so we might expect the Moon to be covered not by fractured micrometeorite particles, but by tiny glass beads. If the e-fields in space should cause the plasma streamer to wander across the lunar surface, then we'd obtain a rille-type scar rather than a "meteor crater" scar. Keep in mind that these plasma streamers might be almost invisible along their length except at the spots where they touch a surface. The moon might even now be sculpted by plasma streamers originating in the solar wind, or even launched all the way from the earth's upper atmosphere, or from the sun. (Just what is the DC voltage between the earth and the moon?!!) ((((((((((((((((((((( ( ( ( ( (O) ) ) ) ) ))))))))))))))))))))) William J. Beaty SCIENCE HOBBYIST website EE/programmer/sci-exhibits science projects, tesla, weird science Seattle, WA freenrg-L taoshum-L vortex-L webhead-L
Dale Travous, a local experimenter, recalls encountering the 'air threads.' He was working with a large hi-volt power supply, and kept getting oil on his glasses and on his face for no apparent reason. Finally he noticed some strange lines in the air, almost like spider webs, which could only be seen against a dark background. Apparently the strong e-fields on the metal parts of the power supply were causing the surface oil to spray outwards like an electrostatic paint sprayer. But in addition, these streams of micro-droplets formed themselves into thin channels which traveled over long distances.
Human minds are funny about anything which violates our expectations. Our minds want to maintain a coherent world, so we tend to get amnesia about things which don't fit. Amateur scientists should never stop fighting against this tendency in themselves. Avoid too much skepticism. Search for "weird" unexpected phenomena. And if ever you see some, write them down! Here's a story about my own encounter with this effect. In 1988 I was using a VandeGraaff generator to power a "Franklin's Wheel" electrostatic motor. I was working in a dusty shop, and little hairs would jump onto the brass knobs of the Franklin motor. I wiped them away, but one of the hairs simply would not leave. It was a thin gray hair about 2mm long, and even though I wiped and wiped, the same hair kept jumping back to the knob. But then I looked more closely and realized that something weird was going on. That hair was a ghost. When I viewed it against a white background, it was completely invisible. When I viewed it against a normal complicated background, it looked like a tiny fiber of transparent glass. "Very weird!" I thought to myself, "I must remember to play with it tomorrow when I have more time." Ten years later I read an article in ESJ about fiber-like air flows created by the polished knobs of a Wimshurst machine. THAT WAS IT! That "ghost hair" thing! But then I realized that it had not just slipped my mind ten years earlier. Instead my brain had edited it out. I had been trying to fit that "fiber" into my prior experience, and having no luck, it was confusing me. It was an interesting phenomena, but it was also deeply unsettling. I was going to look at it more closely, but my subconscious got there first and protected my "reality" by giving me amnesia! When I read Charles Yost's article about it in ESJ, my original memories came back, but I noticed that they had a weird "feel" to them. To me they felt like I was remembering a dream, as if the "ghost hair" event had happened to somebody else. I suspect that my brain had stored the memories in a different way than normal. I had no access to them until something broke through the amnesia, and then the "feel" of the memory was different than the "feel" of a normal conscious recollection which is accessible through usual mental association. I suspect that this sort of thing is common in science. Somebody announces a great discovery, and many other people remember seeing clear evidence for the same thing. Is the discoverer a great genius, or was he/she simply the only one with the sense to write down an observed anomaly, and then to follow it up?
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