Lightning generated within electrical storm clouds causes extensive damage to structures, utilities, facilities, forests, grasslands and aircraft each year, including killing about 100 people each year in the United States. A means is needed to reduce this destruction and loss of life. This invention is one such means.
It is the inventor's theory that temperature inversions and turbulent air currents in the atmosphere cause the formation of low pressure cells that produce the phenomenon known as clear air turbulence. When these low-pressure cells form, they accumulate an electrical charge. When this happens, the conditions for lightning propagation are fulfilled. When the molecules of atmospheric nitrogen reach the breakdown threshold electrical potential of the gas, the charge carriers avalanche to a lower potential and heavy electrical currents flow.
At present, the principal method by which lightning damage is circumvented is that of providing a path to ground via metal conductors which offer a low resistance path to ground. These conductors are usually affixed to structures and components of infrastructure, in order to drain the electric charge away from those things to the earth. The shortcoming of this arrangement is that these conductors must be located directly on or adjacent to each thing to be protected. There is no way of knowing where the lightning will strike, and it is very difficult and expensive to try to protect every possible target. Quite often, the lightning strikes electrical power distribution conductors and travels long distances, damaging transformers and other expensive switching and transmitting equipment all along the circuit, including electrical appliances in customers' homes and offices.
A better method of dealing with this problem is to provide a conductive path through the atmosphere, along a pre-determined path to ground, and draining away atmospheric charge. The invention creates a conductive path by means of a coherent beam of ionizing radiation. This radiation ionizes gas molecules in its path, creating a conductive pathway to earth and neutralizing charge carriers so that they follow the beam to a grounded construct and are harmlessly dissipated.
Many aerosol compounds exist in our atmosphere, which are easily ionized. These species are comprised of pollutants and naturally-occurring compounds from the burning of fossil fuels, industrial processes, natural decomposition, volcanic debris and in-falling debris from space. Under the right conditions, large static and dynamic charges develop in the atmosphere, and these impurities provide the means to providing and ionized path along which the atmospheric charges can discharge. If all the other necessary conditions are met, lightning will propagate along the path established by the ionizing laser energy. In this way and by these means, lightning may be propagated and directed at will.
This invention is entirely different from, and pre-dates other research at Los Alamos and in Japan.
Fellows Research Group, Inc.
112 Clear Springs Rd.
Georgetown, Texas 78628