Sunday, February 26, 2006

Ball lightning shooting microwave oven

I’ve conducted a lot of experiments with microwave ovens – sparking green beans, foaming marshmallows, and measuring the speed of light (it’s possible it measure the speed of light with a microwave oven and a chocolate bar) and so forth. But this sounds better – a microwave ray gun that produces ball lightning.

I just read about two scientists from the University of Tel Aviv who created ball lightning in their laboratories using parts from a regular microwave oven. They took the microwave oven’s 600 watt magnetron and turned it into a sort of ray gun that they used to directionally shoot microwaves. The scientists, Eli Jerby and Vladimir Dikhtyar, call the gun a "microwave drill."

From the Tel Aviv U website:

Fireball Ejection from a Molten Hot Spot to Air by Localized Microwaves
Vladimir Dikhtyar and Eli Jerby* Tel Aviv University

A phenomenon of fireball ejection from hot spots in solid materials(silicon, germanium, glass, ceramics, basalt, etc.) to the atmosphere is presented. The hot spot is created in the substrate material by the microwave-drill mechanism.The vaporized drop evolved from the hot spot is blown up, and forms a stable fireball buoyant in the air.

Video of fireball here:

The two scientists zapped glass, silicon and other stuff, melting it. When they shut it off and pulled it away, it dragged some of the superheated material along with it, “creating a fire column that then collapsed into a bright fireball that floated and bounced across the ceiling of the metal enclosure,” according to a Fox news report.

"The fireball [looked] like a hot jellyfish, quivering and buoyant in the air," Jerby told the magazine LiveScience.

"Our experiment confirms to some extent the theory that ball lightning originates from hot spots in the ground created by normal lightning," Apparently, ball lightning happens when lightning strikes the ground and zaps the minerals in the soil. The vaporized nanoparticles could then link together into chains and form a fluffy ball of silicon that floats on the wind. The particles react with oxygen in the air and release light as they burn.

Readers are invited to comment with reports of their own microwave experiments.


mark said...

I love science! They take apart a microwave, burn stuff up, and then write it up. How cool is that?

john said...

I want to try this! I wonder how safe it is?

johnsmith said...

Its a very useful stuff.


California Dui

Anonymous said...

1. this "quivering and buoyant fireball" is called a plasma ball.
(if it was a fireball it would go out in a closed glass jar when it runs out of oxygen, right?)

2 you do not need any nano particles or "puffy balls of silicon" to make plasma.

3. plasma is not a solid, liquid or gas.

how a plasma ball IS created : accelerate the electrons of a flame untill it becomes plasma.
( plasma is hotter than any flame and can even shatter tempered glass in seconds.)

(to make your own plasma ball at home)
place a tooth pick into somthing so it stands vertically (upright) have a glass or pyrex bowl/jar handy, place the toothpick into your microwave, set the microwave timer for 1 minute, light the tooth pick on fire and place the jar over the flaming toothpick, close the microwave quickly and press the start button before the jar smothers out the flame. and presto!! you have yourself a contained plasma ball wich is relativly safe as long as you do not touch the hot jar (if it remains in tact) or touch any broken glass resulting from the superheated glass shattering.

oh btw you dont need to take the microwave apart either just use it the way it is meant to be used, you dont want to accelerate the electrons of the atoms in your body with the radiation from the magnatron coils of your microwave oven, so even though the plasma is contained do not try to defeat the safty switches in the door of your microwave oven. because the microwaves are not contained unless the door is shut. (have fun!)