Lichtenberg figures are distinctive branching designs caused by electrical discharges; they were discovered in 1777 by German physicist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg. They often appear on insulating materials as evidence of deterioration of high voltage components.
For example, here's a Lichtenberg figure on a polycarbonate sheet:
Lightning strikes are a classic example of Lichtenberg figures:
Lichtenberg figures can even appear temporarily on the skin of victims of lightning strikes, where they're known as "lightning flowers":
Lichtenberg figures can be produced intentionally by applying high voltage to a non-conducting surface. This practice is cool, dangerous, and you can do it at home. Thus, it's popular among woodworkers online.
IMO, Lichtenberg figures look best on rustic or live edge woodworking pieces. The aesthetic works for me if, from a distance, wood that has been Lichtenberg figured almost looks like a naturally deeply figured piece of wood, perhaps from an unusual piece of a rare wood species.
This one may be a bit much for me, but you can see how the Lichtenberg figures work with the live edge and the uneven rim of this vase:
Though often a bit gaudy with their colors, I also like the possibilities of using inlays in the Lichtenberg scars.
I agree Jon the live edge stuff is Mo Beautiful! It's fascinating the patterns that arise and reminds me of fractals and probably related to them in some fashion. Also thrilled with the videos and their insistent safety standards. I accidentally got across a 600VDC 10mfd oil filled capacitor once that knocked me off the stool I was on...12KV AC @ 30ma will kill you across the chest mainly because you can't let go and like the guy's one hand approach...with gloves. Still have an old neon transformer and maybe some ceramic insulator rods in the shed which I think is [email protected] May have to give this a try sometime.
Also related is the cover of the Spring/Summer 2016 "The wood Turners Catalog has some of the most intricate Pyrography I have ever seen, by Mike Jackofsky and his Pyrography artist SIL Georgianne Jackofsky. It's called the Navigator Series. Worth the look.
Thanks for sharing this! ~PJ
Last edited by PJs; 11-01-2016 at 02:18 PM. Reason: Odd link with 9KV
That is a spectacular Gif! I've Never seen lightning do that...but did see ball lighting once in Illinois at my GGparents house. Wonder if the flairs at the ends are ball lightning? They have that random vector trajectory I remember seeing with the one I witnessed.
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