Author Options:

Would it be dangerous to submerge a plasma ball in mineral oil? Answered

I'm thinking about creating an art project, but would need to submerge the glass part of a plasma ball in mineral oil (which I've heard is not conductive). Would this be dangerous?


The refractive index of the mineral oil is similar to the glass of the higher quality plasma spheres (borosilicate glass) therefore the glass will tend to become invisible in the mineral oil.  The small power supplies for plasma discharge pieces output high voltage, high frequency, low current.....so you can always get knocked across the room.  Most units will burn out because you are likely to draw more discharge current than the power supplies are rated for.  Basically, I don't think this visual effect is worth the trouble / experiment with compact fluorescent tubes surrounding the globe in dark room, etc.. 

Ok, still waiting to get my plasma ball, but I havee another quick question.... let's say I put only the glass part of the plasma ball in a fish bowl filled with water. Would THAT be dangerous? Would the electricity travel through the water to the glass of the fishbowl?

I submerged my pc in a tank of oil and it worked fine for about 1 hour then it wouldnt turn on any more so if it's a short experiment it should work also i would like to hear how it turns out

Mineral oil is not conductive so it is probably safe. Though "probably safe" isn't enough of a safety margin when dealing with household current, because it can kill you.

If you plug it into a GFI (ground fault interrupting) plug like one of these then I'd be reasonably comfortable around it. At least if it does go wrong it shouldn't go too far wrong.

However some plastics don't respond well to prolonged contact with oil. IF you submerge parts other than the glass, I wouldn't count on your plasma ball being the same ever again.

Hmmmmm, I dont really know, but It sounds safe but dont start me to lying...... They submerged a server in a five gallon tank of mineral oil. Let m know how it turns out.

Thanks guys! I'll try it (maybe standing five feet away!) and let you know how it turns out!