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Who here has seen the Avatar series?

There was a Reddit post about redirecting lighting, and how many times it could be theoretically be done consecutively. Just two benders playing catch with lightning as it were. Any thoughts? I had some and even did a few calculations on it! Photo of electrical device (to be posted about later) for your time.

Illustration for article titled Who here has seen the Avatar series?

If we assume the lightning is 1 billion volts, and the atmosphere is measured at 377 ohms, we can assume a voltage drop over a distance between the two benders. But lightning is static electricity, not current (AC or DC) and the atmosphere is more an insulator than a [poor] conductor. Unfortunately, this is where my knowledge and Google-fu hit a wall. I don’t know how to calculate that voltage drop to give you any sort of accurate answer, perhaps someone smarter than myself could calculate it.

However, since lightning is often considered to be around 1 billion volts, we can start making some rough guesses. It is generally accepted that it takes 75,000 volts to jump an air gap of 1 inch, so I’m going to just throw out 18 million as a voltage drop number for a distance of 20 feet between the benders. With these numbers, the lightning could be redirected approximately 55 times before it was unable to jump that gap. (50 times if we add 2 million volts to sustain each bolt like below)


Mind you, this is the most rudimentary calculation possible here and makes a ton of assumptions, but it should give you an idea. Another thing to consider is that “synthetic lightning” with current technology (electrical arcs generated by human-built machines) is nowhere near 1 billion volts. And we have no idea how much voltage a bender’s lightning is.

Personally, I would guess a bender’s lightning to be more like 100 million volts. Then I’m going to assume an extra 2 million volts to sustain the length of the lightning bolt after the initial 18 million volt ionization, for an even 20 million volts per shot. In this scenario, they could only redirect it approximately 5 times.


Obviously this is all assuming the benders don’t/can’t add voltage as they go

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