Cooking with High Voltage

Hot Dog Jacob's Ladder - 2007/05/23

Powered by two neon sign transformers (NST') in parallel, each with 15,000 V open-circuit output. Short-circuit current is 60 mA for the larger one in front, and 30 mA for the smaller one behind it, for a total combined current of 90 mA. Hot dogs are impaled on ordinary kitchen steak knives, held in place with rubber bands on a piece of plastic. Electric arc first forms at pointed bottom of blades where E-field density is strongest. The arc rises with a blue color in air between the metal blades, then transitions to yellow from vaporized sodium (salt) in the hot dogs.

With the hot dogs close together, and the electric arc maintained on top for a minute or so, the tips became charred. They also lost some mass due to violent sputtering and vaporizing of material where the arc contacted each hot dog's surface.

Despite over-cooking on top surface, the hot dogs were still cold, overall. To finish them off, I decided to pass high AC currents through them from a 120 V variac. First attempt was with both hot dogs in series with a stainless steel shaft jabbed between them. I ate one of them, but it wasn't quite hot enough. Finished the second hot dog with a full 120 V and 2 A for a cooking power of 240 W. 

After steaming for a while, and a generous application of condiments, I ate it. As I recall, both hot dogs tasted absolutely awful, but I was hungry for dinner, and couldn't let them go to waste.

Hot Dog on a Tesla Coil - 2012/08/23

After completing my 100 kHz Double Resonant Solid State Tesla Coil (DRSSTC) in 2012, I couldn't wait to see what would happen to ordinary objects when subjected to a million volts or so. The following photos show what happens to a hot dog when subjected to such high tensions.

Occasionally, with the Tesla coil at maximum power, some sizable pieces of glowing-hot carbonated meat chunks would come flying off of the tip.

The end result was practically the same as what came out of the Jacob's ladder experiments 5 years prior - a cold cylinder of meat byproduct with a touch of mildly warm carbon on the end.

The sparks are yellow near the hot dog's surface from sodium emissions. It seems some tiny specs of hot dog or salty water droplets are spraying off of the tip, and each one glows yellow when an individual spark hits it. 

This page last updated: 2017/07/18