Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Fullerene Fulgurites

I want to play around with this idea so bad it makes my fillings ache just thinking about it.
  [vote for,

When lightening strikes sand, it melts it, to form hollow glass tubes called fulgurites.
This idea started as a way to make fulgurate sculptures by building a wire structure in a large container of beach sand and attaching either a lightening rod or firing a model rocket trailing a thin wire into a storm cloud. When lightening strikes, the bolt should follow the wire form as this will be its path of least resistance.
Once the sand has cooled openings in the bottom of the container will let the sand come pouring out revealing a lightening bolt sculpture.
I figure this is pretty cool in its own right, but there's more.
By carefully layering the sand and adding various chemicals to the areas around the individual wires I think that color could be infused in the glass. Objects could be imbedded as well. Also, fulgurites can be man made allowing for a fine tuning of the process which will create the strongest and largest sculptures. The world record for a naturally occurring fulgurite is a fork sixteen feet long on one side and seventeen on the other.

I'm not sure why, but day dreaming about this got me to thinking about how Fullerene is formed.
I think that by making the container a vacuum sealed chamber with a Helium atmosphere and filled with graphite instead of sand, that Fullerene Buckyball, (carbon nano tube icosahedrons), fulgurites will be formed as the lightening arcs through the graphite.

Lightening makes glass. http://plaza.ufl.edu/rakov/Gas.html
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 05 2004]


       cool +
skinflaps, Jan 16 2004

       When I read the title, I thought it would be a fuller figure barbie. I don't really know why.
Detly, Jan 16 2004

       Sorry, but the graphite won’t melt. (It’s too conductive, and has too high a melting point.) Fullerine (sp.) Fulgurites? Admit it. Didn’t you stick these concepts together purely for the mysterious and mellifluous alliteration?
ldischler, Jan 16 2004

       Whenever I see the word "Buckyball", I know I'm in trouble.
squeak, Jan 16 2004

       Yes yes, but it was spelled "Fullerine" in the title initially. I was only pointing that out.
ldischler, Jan 16 2004

       //bolt should follow the wire form as this will be its path of least resistance//   

       This will be a problem. You're dissipating the energy through the wire, bypassing the sand. The "chemical mixtures" part of the idea is promising. Then all ya gotta do is place your sand bucket where the storm is, and get out of the way before the lightning strike. You may be surprised where the "path of least resistance" is, at any given moment in a thunderstorm.
But I'd also love to see the results. +
Amos Kito, Jan 16 2004

       Find a way to melt instant coffee blends into buckyball shapes using lightning, and you could have folgers fullerine fulgurites.
RayfordSteele, Jan 16 2004

       [Amos] The trick is to use lightweight wire. It vaporizes almost instantly, creating an ionized path for the bolt. Most of the heat is then dumped into the sand.
ldischler, Jan 17 2004


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