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Lichtenberg figures in acrylic without the use of a Linear Accelerator?

Posted by Ben T. on 11/6/2006, 5:07 pm

 Here's something that I bet you've already given substantial thought to - Given that one can't readily construct his own linear accelerator and that booking time on one isn't easy, it sure would be nice to be able to make Lichtenberg figures in acrylic without the use of one. At least in theory, do you think charge could be injected into the block by making the block be the dielectric in a parallel-plate capacitor? Granted, the capacitance of such a capacitor would be ridiculously small and the voltage one would have to apply to it to achieve the desired effect would be large perhaps to the point of infeasibility. Further, I have a feeling that the resulting figures, if you got any at all, would not be as visually appealing.

Re: Lichtenberg figures in acrylic without the use of a Linear Accelerator?

Posted by Bert Hickman on 11/6/2006, 6:37 pm, in reply to "Lichtenberg figures in acrylic without the use of a Linear Accelerator?"

 --Previous Message--: Here's something that I bet you've already given substantial thought to - : Given that one can't readily construct his own linear accelerator and that : booking time on one isn't easy, it sure would be nice to be able to make : Lichtenberg figures in acrylic without the use of one. At least in : theory, do you think charge could be injected into the block by making the : block be the dielectric in a parallel-plate capacitor? Granted, the : capacitance of such a capacitor would be ridiculously small and the : voltage one would have to apply to it to achieve the desired effect would : be large perhaps to the point of infeasibility. Further, I have a feeling : that the resulting figures, if you got any at all, would not be as : visually appealing. :Hello Ben,It is indeed possible to inject charges into acrylic (and many other dielectrics). However, instead of using parallel plates, a single conducting plate is used, and high voltage is applied to a sharpenned needle imbedded within the dielectric on the opposite side. Depending on the polarity of the DC potential, or the rate of change of the AC waveform applied to the needle and other factors, "trees" or "bushes" can develop and grow from the tip of the needle, heading towards the opposite plate. This technique is used to study the effect of highly stressed defects and to perform accelerated aging studies on various dielectric materials, such as capacitor dielectrics or insulation in high voltage power cables. The process is called "electrical treeing", and is associated with progressive breakdown (sometimes called partial discharge). Unfortunately, the trees are comparatively small, and they can take a relatively long time to form and grow. More information can be found here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_treeinghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partial_dischargehttp://www.feti.hu/services-tree.htmlBest regrds,Bert

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