So my question... How much of a charge could the Ark hold? How long could
it hold it? How would it be charged? how to prevent inadvertent
discharges? Finally, what would happen to the poor sod who, say
forinstance, touched it with his sword?
So now we have two important things to remember. In Static Electricity,
things with the same kind of charge ("like charges") will repel each other,
while things with opposite charges (a positive and a negative) will attract
each other. And when electricity, whatever it is, moves, it always moves
from negative things toward positive things.
It would be a good rule for all of us to follow in our lives
> I have been reading a little book on electronics. There was a discussion of
> capacitors through the ages and mention was made that the famous Ark of the
> Covenant qualified as one. (two conductors separated by an insulating
> material) It also mentioned that capacitors can hold a charge for a long
> time. And when discharged, even small capacitors would pack a huge charge
> that could kill a person
> So my question... How much of a charge could the Ark hold? How long could
> it hold it? How would it be charged? how to prevent inadvertent
> discharges? Finally, what would happen to the poor sod who, say
> forinstance, touched it with his sword?
I saw a show on TV a couple of weeks ago with some archeologist claiming
that the ark had the ability to store electrical energy. He also claimed that
the Templars had control of the ark and that there really were five arks in
I'm a physics major and we have studied capacitors a lot during the
semester. The amount of charge the Ark could hold would depend on its shape. The
important relation is Q (charge) = C (capacitance)*V (voltage). The capacitance
depends only on the shape of the capacitor. For example, the capacitance of two
parallel, oppositely charged plates would be equal to the Area of the plates
divided by their separation distance. A good dielectric also helps to increase
the capacitance. You charge a capacitor by placing a potential difference across
it (battery). Assuming there is a good insulator to protect the capacitor from
discharge, the charge could be held for a long time. Thus, proper insulation is
the best way to prevent discharge. My professor, who likes to tell us shock
stories, told us a about how a previous lecturer had forgotten to discharge a
cap. he had used in a demonstration. When he touched the undischarged,
unprotected capacitor, he said he nearly jumped across the lab bench, such was
the severity of the shock.
Doug Weller Moderator, sci.archaeology.moderated
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Try considering it as a (very long) microwave cavity resonator. The poles
could then be considered as aerials with the corner mounting rings used as a
method of impedance mis-matching. If the impedance mis-matching works then
it will radiate slightly less energy than it receives from a variety of
natural sources. The resulting slow build up of energy would account for
the corona discharge reported between the cherubim and the fatalities caused
by touching it in the wrong place.
Ars artis est celare artem
A corona discharge is reported between the cherubim. See, for example, Ps
80 v 1.
Virtually _anything_ can serve as a capacitor. Capacitance is
an electrical property of any physical system with two points
at different electrical potentials. The capacitance is the
ratio of coulombs of charge transferred per volt of potential,
C=q/V. A simple insulated metal object has a capacitance with
respect to the ground. An object doesn't even need to be metal!
You are a "capacitor" when you scuff your feet on the carpet and
acquire a charge. "Good" capacitors, things designed to operate
as such, have a high C ratio so they can hold a large charge with
a small voltage. A high voltage tends to induce conduction even
through normally non-conductive things like plastic and air, so
a capacitor with a high voltage doesn't tend to STAY charged that
high for long periods of time.
The ark as I've heard it described may or not have had a physical
structure equivalent to a parallel plate capacitor. Even if it
did, the chances of it being charged to the extent it could kill
seems very remote. The capacitance would be small, and thus the
voltage needed to have a significant charge would be very large
and would tend to "bleed off" through the wood or even the air.
It would be just as likely IMO for you to accidently kill yourself
using an accidentally lethal electrical configuration of aluminum
foil and saran-wrap in the kitchen! Since we don't hear of that
happening, I'd feel pretty safe (electrically) handling said Ark.
Peter F Curran
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
dough knot male: nos...@pascal.stu.rpi.edu
Use address in Organization line, finger
for PGP key. Antispaam test in progress.
> Essentially the ark was a wooden box covered inside and out with gold. Somehow
> I doubt that the top of the edges were left bare, so I'd assume that all the
> gold was in contact, and thus of course there is no possibility it could have
> acted as a capacitor.
> Even if for some ridiculous reason bare wood was left, I'm not at all
> convinced it could act as a capacitor (let alone the other problems). Does it
> really fulfill all the qualifications?
This is essentially a Leyden jar, the first practical capacitor. Yes, it would
work, although the performance would depend heavily on the moisture content of the
wood. Glass is much better.
It is actually possible to deliver a lethal charge with a well-designed Leyden
jar. One made from a glass casserole pot can knock you on your ass.
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IIRC, (and I may well not) the wood shouldn't figure into it at all.
The glass in a Leyden jar is just there for the convenience of the
experimenter. The principle (as I recall it) is that the charge on
a conductor resides on the outside. If you make a container out of
some conductive material you can transfer charge to it by adding
charge on the inside (where it promptly flows to the outside). This
process can be continued until the potential of the outside of the
vessel is so high relative to nearby objects that you get breakdown
of the air. Put that Ark on a nice big stone altar and you should be
able to get a fairly hefty charge on it, as long as you don't have
This doesn't require a fully closed shape, either - it can be, well,
jar-shaped, and still work just fine.
Andrew Case |
Institute for Plasma Research |
University of Maryland, College Park |
The cherubim at each end of the cover have outstretched wings (=sharp
In any electrical engineering test, a wooden box of chest or coffin size,
with gilding only on the inside and outside, would have a very low
capacitance measured in millifarads, if not microfarads.
On the other hand, if one visits one's local high-end automotive stereo
emporium, one may find a 12 volt 1 Farad (!) capacitor about the size of a
partly used roll of paper towels.
The jolt from one of these babies will melt the end off a Craftsman® 12"
screwdriver, or take off your wedding ring along with your finger.
A gilded wooden box might be as good as a carpet and a doorknob.
Wayne B. Hewitt Encinitas, CA whe...@ucsd.edu