Danger: High Voltage

Fractal Fun with Plywood

A Shocking Fractal


I have previously written about both fractal fields of lighting and about shocking flowers, but here is an experiment that merges the two topics.

A Pratt Institute student, Melanie Hoff, attached cables carrying 15,000 volts to what looks like plywood planks. One would expect the wood to immediately catch fire or burn a circle. Instead, the contact area snakes outward in tendril forms like those seen in DLA (Diffusion Limited Aggregation) patterns.

I found the fractally wood-lightning demonstration on Colossal, a site that says it’s dedicated to "art and visual ingenuity." I just thought OT’s readers would find this particular scientific foray to be cool.

The video below allows you to watch the process dramatically unfold in slow motion.


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