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December 1, 2005 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Double-discharge Lichtenberg figure [qtvr] : what they are and how they're made.
posted by crunchland (18 comments total)

 
Sort of a prettier man-made fulgerite. Cool!
posted by bonehead at 1:47 PM on December 1, 2005


It sounds NSFW. Is it NSFW?
posted by LordSludge at 2:23 PM on December 1, 2005


It's totally SFW unless your work is anti-science
posted by whatzit at 2:30 PM on December 1, 2005


My girlfriend's cousin worked at a lab where he made a bunch of these things. They're completely fascinating and beautiful.
posted by Dr. Wu at 2:32 PM on December 1, 2005


It sounds NSFW. Is it NSFW?

Don't be such a pussy. Hey, I was expecting the block in the QTVR to rotate, but I couldn't get it to. Is anyone else able to drag/rotate the image around?
posted by jonson at 2:32 PM on December 1, 2005


They are blocks of (typically) plastic zapped by lots of electricity, resulting in really interesting axion or tree-like structures inside the plastic.
It is possible to test for/calculate different polymer properties from them, but I'd have to do some digging for more detail. It's in a fuzzy memory of years-ago labs.
posted by whatzit at 2:33 PM on December 1, 2005


jonson: no, me neither. That was kind of disappointing.
posted by whatzit at 2:33 PM on December 1, 2005


Yeah, but it only rotates about 20 degrees or so.
posted by chrismear at 2:33 PM on December 1, 2005


hm. rotating works for me. that's sort of the whole point. Try moving your cursor to the extreme right or left of the image, and press your left mouse button.
posted by crunchland at 2:35 PM on December 1, 2005


Maybe you have to let it load? It rotates completely.
posted by crunchland at 2:36 PM on December 1, 2005


Whoops, yeah, that's it. You need to wait for the full 6 MB file to download, and QT doesn't give you any feedback, apart from letting you rotate however much has downloaded so far. And the site seems to be running kinda slow at the moment.
posted by chrismear at 2:37 PM on December 1, 2005


i used to work at SLAC where they called these things beam trees since they were made by placing a polymer block in the path of a (relatively) low-energy electron beam and then discharging with a grounded needle.

they polished them up and mounted them on plaques, and would give them to lab staff who passed the 40-year mark or visiting dignitaries.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 2:52 PM on December 1, 2005


yeah, it totally works now, I'm dumb.
posted by jonson at 3:24 PM on December 1, 2005


I have one of these from Bert Hickman's site (The source of the FPP figure. He also does coin shrinking, which has been mentioned in a previous post).

It's pretty nifty, not quite as complex as the one in the FPP -- but the fine feathering is much easier to see.
posted by Sangre Azul at 5:17 PM on December 1, 2005


wow

Great stuff.
posted by effwerd at 6:11 PM on December 1, 2005


fwiw, you can buy examples of these on ebay for not a lot of money.
posted by crunchland at 7:39 PM on December 1, 2005


The external links at the bottom of the wiki page are very interesting, this pic being my own "wow" moment.
posted by dreamsign at 8:08 PM on December 1, 2005


Lichtenberg was the shit.
posted by kenko at 8:18 PM on December 1, 2005


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