Richard Box from Bristol University’s physics department recently rekindled discussion about some “old technology” stirring up quite a storm of controversy . Box explains:
“A fluorescent tube glows when an electrical voltage is set up across it. The electric field set up inside the tube excites atoms of mercury gas, making them emit ultraviolet light. This invisible light strikes the phosphor coating on the glass tube, making it glow. Because power lines are typically 400,000 volts, and Earth is at an electrical potential voltage of zero volts, pylons create electric fields between the cables they carry and the ground.”
This is by no means new. In 1831 Faraday discovered the physical laws governing electricity and magnetism. In fact, transformers work when flowing electricity produces a magnetic field causing electricity to flow elsewhere without physical contact. Later James Clerk Maxwell used mathematics to describe electromagnetic fields carrying energy. In 1825 Carl Friedrich Gauss coined “Gauss’s Law” stating that high electric currents produce strong fields that are measurable. And Nikola Tesla demonstrated the effect of wireless energy transfer to wirelessly powered electronic devices including the incandescent light bulb as early as 1893.
In 1900 Nikoli Tesla tested his “magnifying transmitter” that generated millions of volts and produced 23 foot long arcs demonstrating harmonic oscillation that would allow wireless transmission of electrical energy. Tesla built the Wardenclyffe Tower which he hoped would transmit industrial power wirelessly to Europe. The International System of Units (ISU) unit measuring the magnetic flux density and magnetic induction was named the Tesla in his honor.
In a 1972 book called Power Over People there is a picture of author Louise B. Young holding a shining florescent bulb while standing next to energy transmission wires. In the late 1960s-70s homeless hippies in Siskiyou County, California were arrested for laying out wires on the ground beneath high power lines to run kitchen appliances.
As the world is now more urban than rural most humans spend a vast amount of their life in an electromagnetic field. Sitting in front of computer terminals, television sets, microwave ovens, trimming are hedges with electric shears, and ubiquitous incandescent and fluorescent lighting are just a few of the sources of electrical energy phenomena. Today companies like Witricity (see IndustryTap article link at bottom) are exploiting harmonic oscillation to provide the wireless transmission of energy in homes and businesses.
In the diagram below you can see how electricity is transmitted via an oscillating magnetic field to power a home; all wirelessly!
As for the glowing florescent lights, electromagnetic field theory posits this is possible: as long as the frequency of the power lines is over 10 Hz the electric field strength will be strong enough. There is a question as to whether the quasistatic or electromagnetic radiation lights the bulbs.
Note that in the photos attached to this article the lights appear a bit ghost-like because the photos were taken via long exposure.
The following video shows the fluorescent lighting up when placed near electromagnetic fields.
Related Articles on IndustryTap:
- Electromagnetic Harvester: Charging Batteries from Thin Air
- WiTricity Charges Forward with Wireless Electricity
- Electromagnetic Harvesters: Free Lunch or Theft!