A.G. Parkhomov—Study of processes using a pulsed plasma electrolysis unit

  • For what it's worth, by using a quick-n-dirty sparker circuit simulation from circuitJS, at different simulation time step times I get the following peak discharge currents:

    Time step size (ns)Peak current (A)

    This is done through Options > Other Options > Time Step Size (s)

    Although real-life conditions will be far from those of this idealized simulation, I think this shows in practice that sampling potentially very short signals like spark discharges with a high-bandwidth oscilloscope is important.

  • For what it's worth, inspired by the report of this thread I've made some rudimentary tests with a vaguely similar-looking setup with steel electrodes at 800V DC (using a low-power DC boost converter), with the thin/pointy anode barely above the cathode plane, the latter of which previously wetted with a potassium hydroxide solution of low molarity (I don't recall the exact value, but it was probably < 1M).

    It's rather difficult with such relatively low voltages to produce sparks with dry electrodes even with a quite narrow gap (which I couldn't precisely adjust), but once there's an electrolyte film it seems much easier. In my case the film quickly evaporated—meaning that the sparks didn't get abundantly produced for a very long time—but I thought that perhaps a jar filled with water isn't really necessary if such film could be renewed (preferably in a closed container).

    In theory if the capacitors completely discharged-charged after each spark, they would release about 1.6J of energy during each event, so about 20 times less energy than what was theoretically available in Parkhomov's experiments as reported. I don't think they completely discharged in my case but I haven't tested this specifically.

    I do not expect my device to last very long under this sort of testing as the electrolytic capacitors aren't meant for heavy duty usage and the DC boost circuit might not be entirely protected from what essentially are short-circuits. In the background in the photo above a larger transformer I plan to eventually use for a more heavy duty HV power supply can be seen, but I haven't decided anything yet about it.