If the words "World's Largest Tesla Coils" don't set your blood aboil, you might want to check if you still have a pulse. Hands down, this has to be one of the coolest projects Discovery News has ever written about. I'm so amped that my head is thundering with heavy metal. Here's why:
Electrical engineer Greg Leyh and his high voltage colleagues at the Lightning on Demand organization near San Fransisco are raising money to build two 120-foot Tesla coils that researchers hope will help unlock some of the secrets behind arguably one of nature's most beautiful and deadly forces: lightning.
Besides sounding like the name of a heavy metal band, the "Lightning Foundry" project will boast the world's largest Tesla coils, which will stand ten stories high and will encompass a football field-sized area. Such coils should be able to generate 200-foot-long electrical arcs.
Previous research has shown that lab-generated electric arcs start to behave more like natural lightning when they are longer than 200 feet. In an effort to better understand the physics and behavior of lightning, Leyh and his team also plan on generating even longer arcs.
The research, of course, spring-boards off the work of genius Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla, a pioneer of electromagnetism technology in the late 19th and 20th centuries.
As Leyh and his team wait for enough funds to roll in, they are using a functional 1:12 scale prototype to glean information and test new designs before they embark upon the bigger version of the Lightning Foundry.
Photo: Dave Reede/AgStock Images/Corbis