You are here

Magnetic Quench Spark Gap

The original idea for this experiment came from researching Tesla's work, and references to this idea were mainly found in his paper On Light and Other High Frequency Phenomenon. In the paper Tesla goes into quite a bit of detail on how he obtains his high frequency oscillations, and so I decided just to toy with a magnetic field on my high voltage discharges from the power supply to see how it would effect my discharges.

In the lecture, Tesla actually charges capacitors and discharges them "disruptively" over the gap. And so in a similar nature I've charged a capacitor and discharged it over the spark gap and again observed the effect of a magnetic field.

It's difficult to tell exactly how the magnetic field effects the discharges, but it certainly has an effect. It almost seems to make them more powerful. The spark seems louder and brighter and the power supply discharges also seem stronger. I guess the theory here is that the discharges are blown out as soon as they form, which doesn't allow the discharge to persist as long and thus probably higher voltages are obtained on subsequent discharges, and at a higher frequency. Though that's approximate. It would be really cool if I could do this comparison with a high speed camera. Next I'll try to build a more stable spark gap (see Adjustable Spark Gap), and do some more rigorous testing to see what I can find.


I have seen the expriment shown here. By placing more magnets in a particular pattern, (1) is it possible to completely quench the arc? (2) Experiment shows effect of magnetci field on the arc- after it has been struck. But what is the effect of magnetci field - before the arc is struck? Does the break down voltage increase if the magnetci pattern as far as 1 above is maintained

These are good questions. I've got plans to build a strong electromagnet specifically for experimenting with arc quenching. I'll be sure to gather as much data as I can about the effect before, during, and after.

If you have any suggestions on how I can take such readings let me know. We'll have to just see when I do the actual experiment, but I think it will not prevent the arc from forming.