The Lab That Makes Lightning (Warning: Contains Flashing Lights)


We’ve all seen lightning outside. But when you see it from four metres, it’s a completely different experience. We would test sometimes for millions of
volts of lightning and you would see a good four-metre lightning bolt. That’s very impressive. There’s not a lot of places within the world that can actually do this kind of thing and I think this is going to be quite a revelation in terms of
where we’re coming from. My name is Dr. Vidyadhar Peesapati. I work here at The High Voltage Lab at the University of Manchester. It’s the UK’s
largest high voltage lab for any university and we are able to test
anything that goes on to the electrical grid here. Most of the time we’re testing
electrical equipment that’s either been on the network or might go on the network. To understand how equipment ages, we try to mimic the conditions that you see outside. That could be rain, that could be wind, that could be long-term ageing. The large pylons you see on the highway are around 400,000 volts. Now within this lab we can actually mimic those voltages. Sometimes we’ll push it a bit further as
well. We might hit it with lightning a couple of times and we will try to see if we can predict failure before it happens. If failure happens you’ve got a blackout. The last thing you want is a blackout in a big city. You have hospitals, houses, industry being connected. So it’s actually vital to be able to monitor these even before they happen. Now you don’t want to be inside when there’s a lightning bolt, because the last thing you
want to do is touch something that’s at high voltage, which could be fatal. It’s better for us to stay in this control room. Engineers of today will be deciding the
network in the next 50, 60 years. I see the future network as an electrical household, is what I’d like to call it. We’re all having renewables connected to our houses so we could have a solar panel, we could have a wind turbine. All of us could become a
generating station in the future if you think you have an electrical car and you’re plugging it onto the network on a day when you don’t use it, you might be able
to actually give that energy to the network. Fossil fuels are being cut down, rightly so. We have to find better ways of generating power. We have to find
better ways of using power, which is key. The questions are immense and this lab
will still fit into that big question. It’s vital that we understand, each and
every one of us, in our households how we use electricity and how it is going to
impact our future.

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7 thoughts on “The Lab That Makes Lightning (Warning: Contains Flashing Lights)”

  1. Asmara 95 says:

    This is why im subscribed to wired

  2. Mike Dawson says:

    this seems more like a four-minute intro to an hour long documentary (that I would watch)
    show me some tests you're doing and explain how they work, what you're testing for, what failure modes you've seen, how you help correct the problems

  3. Rhianna x says:

    Would love to see more of this

  4. Rastko Palikuca says:

    Repeating/copying Nikola Tesla's work that was done 100 years ago.

  5. Mr. World says:

    According o new discovery. Lightning strikes create radioactivity.

  6. saket daga says:

    is there any specific name for that lightening ??


    Nice but too short.

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