# ionization of gases

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First some background to my reasoning.

I am interested in different methods of ionisation of gases. Typically gamma rays and X-rays including extra high frequency radio waves can be used as well as very high voltage DC. I recently read a very old physics book written by JJ Thompson, he pointed out at the instant switch contacts are opened a bunching effect of charges occurs due to inertia. This can create an extremely large momentary EM impulse, and explode wires or electronics if the current does not find an alternative path.

A parallel pair of wires is the easiest way to envisage, my question, various other configurations could be used.

Thinking of 2 long parallel wires connected at one end with a switched high frequency DC electrical impulse applied to the wire at sufficiently high frequency so that the outgoing impulses would pass an incoming impulses, what exactly happens at the instant the outgoing impulses pass the incoming impulses.

When the current impulses pass each other the magnetic fields will cancel depending on coupling, do the charges bunch momentarily become stationary, slow down or what.? Can any one direct me to any information on this effect. Also what happens at the point the charge starts its return journey.

Has the method described above been used to ionize gas before, I could easily switch 1000Volts DC for 1us or less depending on power switching device used. Could this induce a momentary EM pulse that would ionize the air around it, using both high voltage and high frequency.

I am a retired electrical engineer, whose maths is a little rusty, but maths is like riding a bike I can quickly get up to speed(hopefully).

Apologies if I have posted on the wrong thread.

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Thinking of 2 long parallel wires connected at one end with a switched high frequency DC electrical impulse applied to the wire at sufficiently high frequency

Typical DC does not have frequency, does not have pulses..

It's constant voltage with constant amperage (+- some tolerance).

If on one end of wire will be appearing positive charge, and then in the next stage of phase, there will appear negative charge, it's AC.

What you're interested is delta between the most extreme levels.

I could easily switch 1000Volts DC for 1us or less depending on power switching device used.

1000 Volts is way too small for air at STP.

You should use Cockcroft-Walton generator to generate many thousands of volts (cost less than $10), if you don't have vacuum pump (cost >=$300)..

This is what you can have with 50 kV:

Edited by Sensei

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Typical DC does not have frequency, does not have pulses..

It's constant voltage with constant amperage (+- some tolerance).

If on one end of wire will be appearing positive charge, and then in the next stage of phase, there will appear negative charge, it's AC.

What you're interested is delta between the most extreme levels.

1000 Volts is way too small for air at STP.

You should use Cockcroft-Walton generator to generate many thousands of volts (cost less than $10), if you don't have vacuum pump (cost >=$300)..

This is what you can have with 50 kV:

By DC I was meaning unidirectional current flow, ie current only flowing one way in the circuit, not AC. Being able to create a high voltage DELTA function would be ideal for my purposes, I will look into the Cockcroft generator, it is not one I have heard of. I considered a Tesla coil, but it only generates a single high voltage point at the end of its secondary coil, and ionizes the air by generating extreme voltages via resonance. I am specifically thinking high voltage caused by current bunching.

I am aware using DC that circa 3000000 V/m the air will break down and ionize, when scaled down is around 3V/um. I am thinking of generating multiple impulses, with very short wavelengths, < 1mm if possible, preferable with wavelengths approaching X-Ray or gamma ray lengths. Under transient conditions with impulses the air can momentarily easily withstand 10000000V/m. I am considering trying to create multiple impulses within an area, to ionize a large amount of air. (on electron recombination it would look like st elmos fire, or the aurora borealis)

What I am trying to get my head around is being able to create multiple, high voltage impulses with very short wavelengths all capable of ionizing the air.

Perhaps the parallel wire concept was an over simplification. If we slightly complicate the concept, and twist it around into a flat bifilar wound pancake coil, with multiple pulses travelling around it. When the outgoing pulses pass the incoming pulses they may generate multiple high voltage IMPULSES with very short wavelengths due to the current bunching effect outlined by JJ Thompson around 100 years ago.

JJ Thompsons old physics book points out the bunching effect at switch off causing high voltage impulses, in inductive circuits. What I am trying to understand will current pulses bunch when passing each other in parallel wires creating a very short duration impulse, that could be used to ionize the air.

Using MOSFETS I can easily switch currents into a circuit with nano second rise times. Looking at other technologies I may be able to exceed this. With low inductance circuits I can switch currents off with little overshoot or BEMF, using parallel wires the inductance would be minimized, circa 10nH/m

I am aware that around the 2-4mm wavelength band, this creates a burning sensation in the skin. I am thinking of trying to generate impulses, not AC, over a wide surface area. If impulses are generated in a partial vacuum the production of stable ions may be improved, (I am thinking ionosphere, or even thunderclouds).

Thank you very much for your input. The Cockcroft generator is very interesting, and very HV.

I was hoping for a pointer in the right direction mathematically to analyse the charges travelling in different directions or the electric field strength at the point the charges pass each other, taking into account inertia magnetic fields etc. My Laplace and Fourier are a little rusty and I am about 4 months away from being reunited with my library, also I wondered if quantum effects might come into play.

The concept of inducing a short lowish voltage impulse to ionize gas will keep me amused for a little while yet.

Edited by Handy andy

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Could someone please give me a pointer on how to analize what is happening as the two current pulses pass each other in opposite directions on their conductors, incoorporating charge, mass and inertia.

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I really don't follow what the aim of your experiment is. That is what are you intending to do with the ionised gas once you have it?

Why do you need two wires?

And why wires?

These have significant inductance at high rise times.

Flat strips are better.

Rise times are adversely affected by the use of traditional diode-capacitor voltage multipliers, especially for repetitive waveforms.

I note you mentioned HV mosfets. If you can get high enough ratings you might like to investigate this article. An amateur might try valves as an alternative.

The MOSMAX voltage multiplier Wireless World August 1988 page 748 ff.

Everyday Electronics did a constructional article about air ionizers

EE Feb 1984 page 82ff

I wonder if another approach might be to strip and remodel the EHT supply from an old cathode ray scope.

These are more likely to be modular and suitable than a TV EHT.

Remember the usual HT/ EHT precautions and keep your other hand in your pocket.

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I really don't follow what the aim of your experiment is. That is what are you intending to do with the ionised gas once you have it?

Why do you need two wires?

And why wires?

These have significant inductance at high rise times.

Flat strips are better.

Rise times are adversely affected by the use of traditional diode-capacitor voltage multipliers, especially for repetitive waveforms.

I note you mentioned HV mosfets. If you can get high enough ratings you might like to investigate this article. An amateur might try valves as an alternative.

The MOSMAX voltage multiplier Wireless World August 1988 page 748 ff.

Everyday Electronics did a constructional article about air ionizers

EE Feb 1984 page 82ff

I wonder if another approach might be to strip and remodel the EHT supply from an old cathode ray scope.

These are more likely to be modular and suitable than a TV EHT.

Remember the usual HT/ EHT precautions and keep your other hand in your pocket.

Hi Thanks for coming back.

What I am considering trying to achieve is an impulse emf in space radiating away from the source. Gamma rays and Xrays have very short wavelength and high energy, E=hf. They are also not good for the health.

I want to investigate a possible current bunching effect mentioned by JJ Thompson, and "possibly" utilised by Tesla. When a current is switched off the current bunches causing a rise in electric field strength due to inertia of electrons. E= Q/(4.pi.E​o.r​) The local charge Q bunches resulting in a very large impulse voltage which radiates outwards. This effect is momentary and very fast causing ionization in the air, possibly only due to very high voltage, but maybe due also to a very short pulse duration, ie an impulse. The air glows when electrons recombine with the ionized atoms. This momentary voltage is difficult to handle and can blow up switching devices etc.

Using 2 wires in parallel it may be possible to create a similar bunching effect.

To create a pulse with sufficient energy to ionise a gas is not easily possible with todays technology.

When two pulses of current pass each other in opposite directions, the magnetic fields will cancel, the local electric field will as a minimum double. What I want to try and investigate is will the charges slow in any way and bunch giving an intensified electric field, and ionize the air more efficiently, due to shortened wavelength and intensified voltage.

Two straight parallel wires are the easiest thing to envisage, however Tesla utilised a bifilar flat pancake coil which he claimed was 100 000 times more effective at generating radiant electricity(ionised air) than his standard system. Many different coil configurations could be used to cause a similar effect, from simple loops to all kinds of knotted type coils. What I wanted to investigate first was a simple system. 2 parallel wires is I think about as simple as the idea gets. Except perhaps using a standard tesla coil and resonating a current up and down the length of the tube to create a standing wave or multiple standing waves.

To ionize the air with any noticeable effect from pulses the frequency needs to go up, and the pulse lengths to come down. By forcing a bunching effect this might be possible. Tesla stated that he felt a physical pain when he was running his system, this sounds a little like the microwave none lethal weapon systems being developed today.

Once I have the basic idea on paper, I wish to start and investigate separating the ions by modulating magnetic fields in the ionized gas, or using static charged or electron rich materials to attract the ions. Some one posted on the engineering thread area ref ionizing gases in a vacuum, I alluded to my interest there, however I wish to use very high frequency and very short wavelengths if I can create them. Bifilar coils with opposing currents on them have very low inductance and will allow me to pulse them at very high frequency with little BEMF.

I take on board what you are saying about the valve technologies they were incredibly fast, I was surprised also to find just how fast the old crystal diodes were when I looked into them. I also fully understand the concept of using flat conductors in parallel to minimise inductive effects.

I want to force the current to bunch momentarily to create an impulse wave, that may ionize gas locally. Two 100A current pulses with a leading edge rise time of 1ns moving in opposite directions at 0.5c is a little difficult for me to analise, my maths is rusty. But given a pointer in the right direction I can work it out for myself, it doesn't take me long to come up to speed on a subject I once new well. I am not sure if relativistic effects would come into the calculation, JJ Thompsons stuff was before Einsteins ideas. I want to push the edge of what is achievable with electric field strength and impulse duration, to improve the rate of ionisation in air. running the circuit in a reduced atmosphere is a good way of prolonging the ion separation, perhaps using different gases will ionize more easily. Putting the circuit inside a metal enclosure is also a good idea, to prevent microwaving myself by mistake. Yes If I use HV I wont have an issue with microwaving myself, but other people have done that already. The U tube link under the engineering section I mentioned above shows some good examples of ionization ethods and is incredibly interesting to me, albeit at this stage a little more basic than what I have in mind, I will monitor it and see where he is headed.

Any tips on the maths would be appreciated, two charges travelling in opposite directions on two parallel wires how do the currents interact, possibly bunch(shorten wavelength) and peak(how how will the emf peak at.). I am looking specifically at the pulse interactions as they pass each other. A reflected AC wave along a transmission line will create a standing wave as it meets other waves going out. I am specifically interested in DC pulses travelling along a line.

Andy

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No disrespect intended, but yours posts seem to me to be a combination of half remembered facts and fancy.

So I find it difficult to determine your actual intent.

You mention 'current bunching' and in particular electron bunching in a conductor.

Do you have a reference?

And you seem to want to build an ion generator.

What is the connection between the two?

I know of space charge limited and retarded current in free space and gases. That is well known and commonly analysed by what is known as the Child's equation.

It was very important in electronics the days of valves.

You seem to have some understanding of pulse technology but it is all mixed up.

You mention rise time, but also frequency.

Pulses do not have a frequency.

They have a duration and a repetition rate, in addition to rise and fall times.

From your posts it is unclear whether you want a single pulse or a pulse train?

You believe that by brute force you can pass enough current to create sufficient electric field to cause ionisation.

That is certainly the steamroller and nut method.

Other methods to achieve this generally focus on lowering the ionisation threshold.

For example by heating the gas

By seeding the gas with conductive particles eg potassium as in magnetohydrodynamic generators.

As to the conductors I stand by what I said about wires.

They are inductive.

Bifilar winding does not reduce the inductance, it (merely) reduces the external field.

This was used in the days of high quality valve (them again) amplifiers to reduce the external field of coupling transformers.

So please put up a modest summary of not more than 10 lines in logical order of what you are trying to achieve.

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No disrespect intended, but yours posts seem to me to be a combination of half remembered facts and fancy.

So I find it difficult to determine your actual intent.

You mention 'current bunching' and in particular electron bunching in a conductor.

Do you have a reference?

And you seem to want to build an ion generator.

What is the connection between the two?

I know of space charge limited and retarded current in free space and gases. That is well known and commonly analysed by what is known as the Child's equation.

It was very important in electronics the days of valves.

You seem to have some understanding of pulse technology but it is all mixed up.

You mention rise time, but also frequency.

Pulses do not have a frequency.

They have a duration and a repetition rate, in addition to rise and fall times.

From your posts it is unclear whether you want a single pulse or a pulse train?

You believe that by brute force you can pass enough current to create sufficient electric field to cause ionisation.

That is certainly the steamroller and nut method.

Other methods to achieve this generally focus on lowering the ionisation threshold.

For example by heating the gas

By seeding the gas with conductive particles eg potassium as in magnetohydrodynamic generators.

As to the conductors I stand by what I said about wires.

They are inductive.

Bifilar winding does not reduce the inductance, it (merely) reduces the external field.

This was used in the days of high quality valve (them again) amplifiers to reduce the external field of coupling transformers.

So please put up a modest summary of not more than 10 lines in logical order of what you are trying to achieve.

Thank you for stating the above. I was trying to keep the question simple, so as not to lose focus. I am not familiar with the magnetohydrodynamic generator, so will look it up. Apologies for using the word frequency instead of pulse train. How much does seeding a gas reduce its ionisation thresh hold by.? This is something I considered but could not get a handle on how well this would work.

I know all wires are inductive I measured typically 10nH/metre would you agree with this figure.

I am considering building a circuit to ionize air, not using brute force, but by trying to use a current impulse. Before attempting this I would like to analise mathematically the circuit I am considering. I am considering using a high speed DC pulse train, and trying to shorten the pulse duration of the pulse by forcing it to bunch. I am considering two parallel wires, what will happen if an out going pulse passes an incoming pulse? Will it cause the current to bunch momentarily. If not then I need to look at different methods.

Tesla developed the bifilar flat pancake coil, which if straightened out, it is two parallel conductors, it is this coil I wish to investigate further under pulsed conditions with a very fast pulse train.

This Bifalar pancake is used only in circuit boards today as a low inductance resistors, as far as I am aware. This was not its original purpose, as indicated on Teslas patents.

I know I could use a variety of methods to generate a high voltage. I was involved in building a Tesla coil lots of years ago on which we achieved 1.5MV.

I will look into all your suggestions above further.

The purposes of what I am thinking about are two fold.

The first is can I come up with a more efficient way of ionizing gases.

The second is a little more interesting: Can I seperate the ions using magnetic fields and extract useful current. If I can, then this idea could be expanded into some more interesting areas such as coal fired power stations blast furnaces etc. Anywhere flames are produced the air is ionized. When the atoms cool down the electrons recombine and give of photons. Blast furnaces must be full off ionized charges, and it may be a neat way of improving the overall efficiency of a system by returning some power.

Edited by Handy andy

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I understand combing the Lorentz equations with Maxwells equations I should be able to make progress on the relativistic maths, I will work this out myself, it will be a good mental exercise.

Ref the concept of ions in blast furnaces, does anyone have a view on separating them and collecting them to improve the efficiency of blast furnaces or power stations.

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The second is a little more interesting: Can I seperate the ions using magnetic fields and extract useful current.

Device to separate ions is called mass spectrometer.

It's working in vacuum.

But it's not possible to get any useful current from it directly, as this method is using a lot of energy.

Scientists used mass spectrometers (prior invention of less energy consuming methods) to separate Uranium-235 from Uranium-238,

and then used it as fuel in weapons or as fuel pellets.

Superconducting magnets are used in mass spectrometers to create powerful magnetic fields.

Edited by Sensei

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Studiot said in #7

Pulses do not have a frequency.

They have a duration and a repetition rate, in addition to rise and fall times.

Sorry, they may be measured in Hertz or cycles/second. Moreover, applying a Fourier transform to a pulse or pulse stream gives an equivalent set of sin waves (AC) that add and cancel to make the pulse(s). As Sensei said, "Typical DC does not have frequency, does not have pulses." On the other hand, it makes sense to talk about pulsed DC sometimes, because the information given by a Fourier transform is often too complex to understand. Both viewpoints are valid.

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Good evening Ed.

Can you explain how something which does not cross zero for its duration, but remains at a constant level can have a frequency?

I note the linked article also refers to PRR.

The actual characteristics I gave are the bare minimum. In practice more may be needed for circuit design purposes.

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At one time I did the math, Fourier transforms, and it works. I cannot explain it in words; though, a better mathematician then I am, might be able to. A sine wave riding on DCV becomes AC only when going through either a transformer or capacitor. An inductor doesn't see DCV, and affect a sine wave on DCV as if it were AC. When designing electronics, it is necessary to know whether a wire has DC, AC or AC on DC, but designing to accommodate is simple and easy.

I don't understand what Handy andy wants to do, but ignoring the AC aspect of pulsed DC may give you incorrect results.

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Good evening Ed.

Can you explain how something which does not cross zero for its duration, but remains at a constant level can have a frequency?

You were talking about pulses, not a constant level.

Of course pulses can have a frequency.

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At one time I did the math, Fourier transforms, and it works. I cannot explain it in words; though, a better mathematician then I am, might be able to. A sine wave riding on DCV becomes AC only when going through either a transformer or capacitor. An inductor doesn't see DCV, and affect a sine wave on DCV as if it were AC. When designing electronics, it is necessary to know whether a wire has DC, AC or AC on DC, but designing to accommodate is simple and easy.

I don't understand what Handy andy wants to do, but ignoring the AC aspect of pulsed DC may give you incorrect results.

The math huh

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/DeltaFunction.html

There are some pretty pictures of a sine expansion, amongst others.

I particularly liked your last sentence, emboldened, especially the bit about pulsed DC, which is what I was talking about and Handy would be generating.

What exactly is the non zero portion of a perfect pulse if not DC?

It is a stright line parallel to the horizontal axis.

Because of this when designing say pulse transformers or transmission lines etc it is common to break the puls into three sections.

Section 1 The rising front is analysed by high frequency equations since it has many high frequency components,

Section2 The flat top is analysed by DC or low frequency analysis since it ideally has zero freqency components

Section 3 The trailing edge is analysed by HF analysis as the leading edge.

An additional pulse characteristic called droop is introduced in real world analysis of section 2.

This sort of situation appears in radar systems, and in analog power supplies where enormous current pulses occur for very short durations during the reservoir charging/discharge cycle.

You were talking about pulses, not a constant level.

Of course pulses can have a frequency.

See here particularly the quote underlined.

http://www.thefouriertransform.com/pairs/impulse.php

Note that if the impulse is centered at t=0, then the Fourier transform is equal to 1 (i.e. a constant). This is a moment for reflection. The constant function, f(t)=1, is a function with no variation - there is an infinite amount of energy, but it is all contained within the d.c. term. Since the fourier transform evaluated at f=0, G(0), is the integral of the function. For f(t)=1, the integral is infinite, so it makes sense that the result should be infinite at f=0. And since the function f(t) has no variation, it should have no frequency components, so the fourier transform should be zero everywhere f does not equal 0. This last paragraph should be understood at an intuitive level.

Frequency = 1/wavelength yes?

So what is the frequency of a zero length pulse?

So I am saying that both terms are inappropriate for some repetitive and non repetitive 'generalised' functions.

We see these in solitons, heaviside impulse functions and dirac functions amongst others.

Edited by studiot

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See here particularly the quote underlined.

http://www.thefouriertransform.com/pairs/impulse.php

Shakes head in despair and walks away. You can move those goalposts all by yourself from now on.

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The thread as about ionisation, not about grammar or the frequency of cars travelling down a street.

My interest in ionisation comes from Tesla, Radiant Electricity and lightning. A lot of nonsense is talked about radiant electricity, and Tesla. Radiant means to glow, this happens when ionized gases recombine with electrons, and photons are given off.

I am interested in the creation, separation and collection of these ionized particles.

Ions can be created by gamma rays in the ionosphere, plasma discharges, flames, heat, EM impulses, mechanically etc. The ions will recombine quickly in a dense gas, but not in reduced pressure atmosphere (Thunderstorms) the ionosphere.

Thunderstorms are also of interest, and can produce positrons in lightning plasma discharges. Lightning has both positive and negative discharge to ground.

Plasma is a very violent way of ionizing air between two contacts. An EM pulse (nuclear explosion) ionizes air in all directions, (and destroys electronics).

A blast furnace produces lots of heat and the particles in the flames will become ionized, which when the ions recombine glow.

With a Tesla coil the air around the coil breaks down due to EM field strength, and produces ions, which when the ions recombine glow.

Multiple other processes cause ionisation.

A moving magnetic field will separate the ions

An Electric field will also separate ions.

Other methods can be used also.

Once the ions are separated, onto surfaces with either negatively or positively charged, they may be able to produce a useful current that can be used, to improve the efficiency of a system.

To improve the efficiency of a coal fired power station or blast furnace by utilising the ions produced, could be of great financial advantage.

Would any one like to start by focusing on different methods of ion separation or on the viability of the idea.?

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I am interested in the creation, separation and collection of these ionized particles.

Device for separating ions is called mass spectrometer, as I already said in post #10.

Device for storing ions is called magnetic trap/Penning trap.

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

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

Would any one like to start by focusing on different methods of ion separation or on the viability of the idea.?

Didn't I already do it in post #10.. ?

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Device for separating ions is called mass spectrometer, as I already said in post #10.

Certainly, if you need to separate them by mass. I suspect the OP just wants to separate them by charge. In which case you could used charged electrodes or, as they are moving, a magnetic field.

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Good evening Ed.

Can you explain how something which does not cross zero for its duration, but remains at a constant level can have a frequency?

I thought of another viewpoint. On Earth, the ground is considered as zero volts; however, storm clouds move vast numbers of electrons and put a voltage between the clouds and ground, this ground voltage is often ignored when working on electricity and electronics, and the 0 volt axis is relative to some other point. I suspect there is nowhere in the universe without an electric field to calibrate a true zero volts.

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I thought of another viewpoint. On Earth, the ground is considered as zero volts; however, storm clouds move vast numbers of electrons and put a voltage between the clouds and ground, this ground voltage is often ignored when working on electricity and electronics, and the 0 volt axis is relative to some other point. I suspect there is nowhere in the universe without an electric field to calibrate a true zero volts.

Hi Ed, yes there are several viewpoints and I know that many (including Wiki) use the term pulse frequency without much thought.

The problem is

Consider a pulse, 10 nanoseconds long, repeated every 10 microseconds.

What are you using to define the frequency the 10 nanoseconds or the 10 microseconds?

Do you think a circuit with a bandwidth of 100khz would pass this pulse train?

The term frequency can be used with some meaning for a square wave and you could expect a square wave with an 'on' time of 5 microseconds and an off time of 5 microseconds to pass such a circuit with some rounding but a still appearing as a recognisable square wave.

Very short pulses need additional information to describe them properly, which is why radar engineers invented PRF and all the other terms.

Your interposing cloud of electrons would appear to me to constitute a plane rather than a pulse?

Edited by studiot

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If you provide me with a circuit that delivers X volts DC varying +/- x volts, where x<X, then I can attach the ground your circuit to one terminal giving -X volts DC and the other terminal grounded. We can then measure the signal x with either 0 or X DC volts, depending on whether we measure from your actual ground or ground on your circuit. Your circuit would work the same whether it is grounded to actual ground or -X.

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Certainly, if you need to separate them by mass. I suspect the OP just wants to separate them by charge. In which case you could used charged electrodes or, as they are moving, a magnetic field.

Correct, I want to separate the charges, in flames, plasma, radiant displays of electricity (st elmos fire) etc, before the ions recombine with their respective opposite charges.

I do not wish to pass a current, so was considering guiding the opposite charges with a pulsating magnetic field onto aluminium plates covering the north and south poles of an electromagnet seems like a plausible idea.

Is it possible to work out how many ions are available for collection, in a hot gas for instance as found in a blast furnace or power station.

Teslas lab was often highly ionized, the charges were attracted to insulated metal, door handles in wooden doors etc. He ionized the air using various coils, these coils did not pass a current to ground, unless they arced.

Lightning produces huge charges both positive and negative which are separated by updraft the negative charges are in the base of the cloud and the positive charges in the top. When lightning arcs to ground a ionized leader first moves upwards to the cloud which provides a low resistance path to ground. When the negative charges arc to ground they knock more electrons of the air molecules on route to ground causing an avalanche effect.

Interestingly positrons are produced in large quantities in lightning clouds, and have been detected by NASA, being blasted out into space. These positrons are most likely due to electrons bashing into the air molecules with sufficient energy to cause the nucleus to break down, like a form of radiation. Positrons I understand are one of the most expensive things to manufacture on earth, they are most likely being produced in plasma. Lightning balls have been observed to pass through walls are possibly a mix of positrons and electrons. I don't see any reason why a positron could not loosely orbit a molecule with a -ve charge or an electron.

The most destructive and rarer type of lightning is positive discharges to ground which come from the tops of lightning clouds. These are often termed bolts from the blue, as they can travel for miles horizontally before coming to ground. They also move in a jerky fashion horizontally, pool then move on.

The Tunguska event might have been a monster lightning ball, it reportedly moved slowly and exploded about 5 miles in the air, leaving no trace of its composition. For a week before the Tunguska event huge amounts of natural gas had escaped into the atmosphere, and much of Europe was illuminated by very high altitude thunderstorms.

Edited by Handy andy

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If you provide me with a circuit that delivers X volts DC varying +/- x volts, where x<X, then I can attach the ground your circuit to one terminal giving -X volts DC and the other terminal grounded. We can then measure the signal x with either 0 or X DC volts, depending on whether we measure from your actual ground or ground on your circuit. Your circuit would work the same whether it is grounded to actual ground or -X.

Hi Ed, I don't disagree with what you are saying.

But it is not the vertical axis that is the problem it is the horizontal one.

Any self respecting pulse generator has a DC offset controll that will move the generated pulse train up and down on the vertical axis.

Any receiving circuitry can alter this to suit, with simple blocking capacitors / DC restorers at will.

None of this will affect the basic nature of the pulse train.

However the generator will have not one but two oscillators to generate the pulses if it has variable mark/space ratio.

This is because there are inherently two independent frequencies in play in pulse generation.

Each frequency is needed to define the two halves or aprts of the pulse train.

If the pulses are of very short duration ( very small mark/space ratio) then that part of the pulse will need much higher frequency circuitry to handle it.

You didn't answer my question in post#21?

Correct, I want to separate the charges, in flames, plasma, radiant displays of electricity (st elmos fire) etc, before the ions recombine with their respective opposite charges.

I do not wish to pass a current, so was considering guiding the opposite charges with a pulsating magnetic field onto aluminium plates covering the north and south poles of an electromagnet seems like a plausible idea.

Is it possible to work out how many ions are available for collection, in a hot gas for instance as found in a blast furnace or power station.

Teslas lab was often highly ionized, the charges were attracted to insulated metal, door handles in wooden doors etc. He ionized the air using various coils, these coils did not pass a current to ground, unless they arced.

Lightning produces huge charges both positive and negative which are separated by updraft the negative charges are in the base of the cloud and the positive charges in the top. When lightning arcs to ground a ionized leader first moves upwards to the cloud which provides a low resistance path to ground. When the negative charges arc to ground they knock more electrons of the air molecules on route to ground causing an avalanche effect.

Interestingly positrons are produced in large quantities in lightning clouds, and have been detected by NASA, being blasted out into space. These positrons are most likely due to electrons bashing into the air molecules with sufficient energy to cause the nucleus to break down, like a form of radiation. Positrons I understand are one of the most expensive things to manufacture on earth, they are most likely being produced in plasma. Lightning balls have been observed to pass through walls are possibly a mix of positrons and electrons. I don't see any reason why a positron could not loosely orbit a molecule with a -ve charge or an electron.

The most destructive and rarer type of lightning is positive discharges to ground which come from the tops of lightning clouds. These are often termed bolts from the blue, as they can travel for miles horizontally before coming to ground. They also move in a jerky fashion horizontally, pool then move on.

The Tunguska event might have been a monster lightning ball, it reportedly moved slowly and exploded about 5 miles in the air, leaving no trace of its composition. For a week before the Tunguska event huge amounts of natural gas had escaped into the atmosphere, and much of Europe was illuminated by very high altitude thunderstorms.

Did you look up magnetohydrodynamics, the techniques there seem ideaaly suited for your needs.

You should also look up the work of Nobel prize winner Alven

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfv%C3%A9n_wave

Edited by studiot

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Yes I am aware of Alfvens work, and have read a lot of his stuff, he was a very interesting guy, and completely disagreed with main stream science on big bang theory, and thought that mainstream science was based on a lot of very shaky theories. Which is what started me thinking about space. He was also heavily involved with Plasma research and controlling the plasma at Cern if I recall correctly. I suspect some of his none orthodox ideas would have been relegated to the speculations/trash can part of the forum.

Yes I am interested in Magneto hydrodynamics but had only looked at the dynamo side until now, it seems there is a generator as well already doing what I was thinking about, ref power stations and hot gases. I note on your earlier post you did state generator I only looked at the dynamo, thank you for pointing it out again.

Charging the air using a tesla coil, and trying the magneto hydrodynamic generator method or something very similar is very interesting.

I am still interested in creating very short impulse waves to ionize the air locally around a coil. In particular the possibly of creating a local avalanche effect around the source of the impulse waves, without passing a current between electrodes to create an arc, as in the "Townsend discharge" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Townsend_discharge . The Townsend discharge shows I can get an avalanche effect via passing a small current. I want to use a pulsed high voltage and then separate the charges magnetically before they recombine, and direct the positive and negative charges onto conductive plates, where the charges can be utilized. This could be done in a vacuum enclosure, so as not to upset peoples pace makers. But also the gas could be seeded to make it ionize easier as mentioned above.

What gas would be best to use, and at what level does nitrogen ionize, compared to oxygen and hydrogen.????

Device for separating ions is called mass spectrometer, as I already said in post #10.

Device for storing ions is called magnetic trap/Penning trap.

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

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

Didn't I already do it in post #10.. ?

Thanks for this reply, I don't think this is what I am looking for, however I wondered if the Wikepdia article on the penning trap is correct on one thing. It mentions CERN used this to contain antiprotons, I thought these were just theoretical, should that have read positrons, or have CERN managed to create an antiproton.

Edited by Handy andy