Lichtenberg Figures

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Lichtenberg figures

[′lik·tən·bərg ‚fig·yərz]
(electricity)
Patterns produced on a photographic emulsion, or in fine powder spread over the surface of a solid dielectric, by an electric discharge produced by a high transient voltage. Also known as Lichenberger figures.

Lichtenberg Figures

 

patterns of distribution of spark channels that cover the surface of a solid dielectric in cases of creeping spark discharge. It was first observed in 1777 by G. C. Lichtenberg.

In a strong discharge, the high pressures and temperatures in the spark channels deform the surface of the dielectric and imprint Lichtenberg figures. In weak discharges the Lichtenberg figures correspond to selective polarization of the dielectric and can be made visible by sprinkling a special powder on the surface of the dielectric or by developing a photographic plate placed under a layer of the dielectric during the discharge. The Lichtenberg figures near the anode and cathode sharply differ in appearance; therefore, they may be used to determine the electrode from which the spark channels developed (the polarity of the spark discharge). Lichtenberg figures are used in special devices for determining the polarity and force of lightning discharges.

References in periodicals archive ?
In deaths resulting from lightning strike there may either be no evidence on the dead person's clothes or body or there may be burnt or torn patches on their clothes and lichtenberg figures specific to lightning strikes on their bodies.
7 In this case the diagnosis was made by Lichtenberg figures before anamnesis.
7 And, indeed note the above use of the Lichtenberg figures to explain frost on window-panes, see Lichtenberg as quoted on p.