Fri, Feb 01, 2013
Aero-Terms are designed to be a daily reminder of the terms, names, acronyms and explanations of the unique language that populates the aviation world. Aerospace, sport aviation, fixed wing, helo, you name it... it's all fair game.
Aero-Terms should serve as a quick but intriguing reminder of the terms you may use every day, or an introduction to an aspects of the Aero-World you may not yet be familiar with. ANN also encourages readers to go beyond the FMI link, and further research any intriguing terms.
Suggestions for future Aero-Terms are ALWAYS welcome, as are additions or discussion of the explanations given for each Aero-Term.
St. Elmo's Fire
A corona discharge which lights up the aircraft surface areas where maximum static discharge occurs. Although referred to as “fire”, St. Elmo’s fire is, in fact, plasma. The electric field around the object in question causes ionization of the air molecules, producing a faint glow easily visible in low-light conditions. Approximately 100 – 3000 kV per meter is required to induce St. Elmo’s fire; however, this number is greatly dependent on the geometry of the object in question. Sharp points tend to require lower voltage levels to produce the same result because electric fields are more concentrated in areas of high curvature, thus discharges are more intense at the end of pointed objects.
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