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The title says it all: this blog features physics videos found everywhere on the web: animations, demonstrations, lectures, documentaries.
Please go here if you want to suggest other nice physics videos, and here if I mistakingly infringed your copyrights. If you understand French, you'll find a huge selection of physics videos in French in my other blog Vidéos de Physique.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Breakdown of Air

Grounding rod tips of different sizes are used to discharge a large Van de Graaff generator. The larger the curvature of the tip, the more charge must build up to break down the air, resulting in longer sparks.

The electricity ionizes air molecules, releasing quick flashes of light. A pointed tip barely sparks at all, but instead creates an electric field so strong that it forms a tiny ball of plasma just beyond the tip. This is known as "St. Elmo's Fire", and is just visible when all the lights are turned off.

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