Tech by VICE

Watch 100,000 Volts of Electricity Course Through a Circuit Board in Slow Motion

Electricity always follows the past of least resistance, and that can make for some dangerously beautiful effects.

by Matthew Gault
Aug 22 2018, 2:49pm

Illinois’s resident mad scientist and moth-lover, Drake Anthony, is at it again. On his styropyro YouTube channel, Anthony conducts experiments with powerful lasers and chemical reactions. In his latest, he uses a large power supply to run high voltage through ignition coils to create a cool blue arc of high powered electricity.

He doesn’t stop there. The ignition coil arc is pretty but hooking up a blank, perforated circuit board to those ignition coils forces the electric arc down its various paths to create a gorgeous random pattern of dangerous electricity.

Electricity always follows the path of least resistance, so you’d expect it to ignore the copper board. But Anthony explains, using math, that the path of least resistance isn’t always obvious and that traveling the length of the copper board doesn’t add any resistance and, in most cases, is actually easier on the electricity than moving through the air.

Math is cooler when its results are as gorgeous and strange as using ignition coils to run high voltage through a circuit board. “I wish this thing wasn’t so lethal because I’d love one for my room,” Anthony said.