Check out lightning going through oil and water!

You've noticed that oil and water always separate out in a container, with water staying on the bottom and oil floating along the surface. What does it take to make the water rise up? This experiment shows that it takes a lot of charge, which resolves into lightning!


Ah, science. It never stops finding ways to be cool. In this quick demonstration, a drop of water is put in mineral oil. The entire set-up is then exposed to a strong electric field. This causes the water to rise up against the force of gravity and start to move for the surface.

As it rises, it gets squeezed into a cone, and droplets break off. The smaller droplets rise faster, until there is a broken path of water from the droplet to the surface. The droplet then discharges, and you can see flashes of lightning! After the water has zapped itself free of charge — for the moment — it sinks back down again. So very cool. [Via Plasma Engineer]

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Neat! A fluid-based version of the Franklin Bells demonstration!

Ben Franklin used this trick as a lightning detector during his work leading up to the invention of the lightning rod.