On the occurrence of 'bead lightning' phenomena in long laboratory sparks

S. P A Vayanganie, V. Cooray, Mahbubur Rahman, Pasan Hettiarachchi, Oscar Diaz, M. Fernando

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The formation of bead lightning, where the lightning channel appears to break up into luminous fragments, is still an object of speculation. Here we report similar observations in laboratory discharges. Analysis of time resolved photographs shows that the discharge channel exhibits a 'bead pattern' in the decaying stage of the discharge and the occurrence of loops in the channel sections where the bead pattern is observed. This result presents the first evidence that the rapid cooling of non-uniform channel sections could lead to the formation of beads. It is suggested that periodically occurring non-uniform channel sections could explain the bead pattern of lightning discharges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)816-821
Number of pages6
JournalPhysics Letters, Section A: General, Atomic and Solid State Physics
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Feb 22 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bead lightning
  • Long laboratory sparks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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