An ambitious project to re-create an amazing electrical effect that's only been observed in natural lightning... until now.
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My father was a high energy physicist who specifically worked in the EOS/ESD field. He played with lightning my whole life. Thank you so much for this. He would have loved the hell out of this.
@brian, Hey thanks. Exploring the viability of the Schumann waveguide as a means of transferring energy over long distances is intriguing. On one hand, it has a fairly low Q, but on the other hand the ionosphere is amazingly conductive [in its strong direction.]
One key question is whether a large, elevated, conductive balloon can couple strongly enough to the ionosphere. The problem is non-intuitive and turns out to be extraordinarily difficult to model in multi-physics tools such as COMSOL.
Perhaps the most direct approach is to try. The proposed experiment for the Lightning Foundry would involve operating both towers in phase, driving an elevated balloon. Unlike a lightning strike, the towers can drive the ionosphere at any advantageous frequency, and continuously at the megawatt level. The return path is simply the Earth. This was one of Tesla's goals, although interestingly he did not yet know about the ionosphere. Because of the simulation complexity it's difficult to predict what will happen. Once the towers are built however, it's a simple experiment to carry out. -Greg
Totally awesome, Greg, this is a great project. There's about 100 GW of lightning power continuously flying around in the waveguide formed between the earth and the ionosphere. The global Q is about 10, so the power circles the earth up to 10 times in spherical Lengendre oscillations before dying out with a fundamental frequency of about 7.83 Hz, called the fundamental Schumann Resonance . If you trigger your lightning with this device, you may be able to detect the spherical (global) waveguide echo 127 ms later when the lightning pulse has circled the Earth one time. Most of that energy focuses right back where it started after circling the earth once. An even stronger signal should be detectable at the antipodes of your experiment, so locate your experiment carefully so that the antipodes are not in the middle of the Indian Ocean and try to measure the lightning signal at the antipodes as well!
Awesome project. This has to be built!
First! Good looking video.