It is not maintaining any given frequency, and is driven by arcing
between lower voltage tungsten electrodes, driving a higher voltage
Volts are about 3,000 volts. Current is very small and will not kill
you, it is merely unpleasant.
Volts - it's about 1000V per mm (10,000V per centimetre) of elctricity
jumping across a gap in air? If a TIG starter-spark will jump 10mm
(which one sees? - though not good welding technique!), that's 10000V?
That follows - it takes about a million volts for electricity to jump
across a metre of air...?
Is that right? (Iggy, anyone?)
From a sharply-pointed electrode, yes.
The breakdown voltage of air depends greatly on the shape and smoothness
of the electrodes. One common rule of thumb says that it takes 30 kV to
jump between 1 centimeter spheres when they're 1 centimeter apart. Smaller
spheres or rough surfaces take less voltage. This is a reasonable guide
when setting up high voltage electrics in a laboratory setting. Industrial
designers are more conservative, for some physics experiments considerably
more (10X) field strength can be got away with for small (microsecond)
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