BTS 028: Capturing Lightning as an Art Piece

BTS 028: Capturing Lightning as an Art Piece
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In BTS 010, I talked about the awesome spectacle of volcanic lightning. While lightning is a force that is as random as it is fearfully strong, it is something that we can create, control and even contain.

That describes perfectly the Lichtenberg figure, an etched lightning pattern created by tapping a huge amount of electricity through a nail on a block made of materials that are good insulators of electricity. The most common accessible being clear acrylic.

Photo Credit: Fine Art America

Photo Credit: Fine Art America

A single tap from this electrically charged nail and trillions electrons will bolt through the acrylic - and since acrylic is such a strong insulator of electricity, the electrons that temporarily trapped, fracturing the acrylic block from within to create the Linchtenberg figure or as I like to call it, an awesome lightning tree.

In fact, another insulator of electricity is human skin. This means that some people unfortunate enough to get struck by lightning do have Lichtenberg figures etched in their skin.

You can go behind the science of this scientific work of art here, and check out below for some of my favourite Lichtenberg figures.


BEHIND THE SCiENcE is a series about facts of the world worth knowing, worth sharing.
Be Intrigued, stay Curious!

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