Making Fulgurites

We recently acquired a pole pig at the lab. We bought it off a guy who didn’t have time for a high voltage hobby any more, and so far we’ve made a Jacob’s ladder with it, and used it to make fulgurites.

Fulgurites are the figures made by lightning hitting sand (or other melty grainy materials). We don’t have lightning but we can definitely simulate it with the pole pig. We start by putting sand (100lb for $7 at Home Depot) in a terracotta pot. We stick electrodes from the transformer straight into the pot and turn it on. The result comes out like this.

They're beautiful and fractally.

We then epoxy them into nice solid pieces of art. I made a video about the process for my science class.

Fulgurite Production at Hackerbot Labs from Nick Mooney on Vimeo.

Credits to Pip aka @yoyojedi for helping me out with this. He’s the fulgurite master and was nice enough to teach me how.

    • Justin
    • May 18th, 2010

    Hoooooooooly amazing that’s cool. =D

    • Elsa
    • May 27th, 2010

    Nick Nick Nick! YOU TOLD ME ABOUT THESE! THEY’RE SO COOL. I got bored of cleaning the TV and the computer so I went to your blog because I realized that I’ve hardly ever read it and that made me sad.. So yeah. :)

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