Chapter 8: Implications for Everyday Systems

Section 3: The Breaking of Materials

Electric breakdown

Somewhat related to fracture is the process of electric breakdown, visible for example in lightning, Lichtenberg figures or plasma-filled glass globes used as executive toys. At least in the case of lightning, there is some evidence that small inhomogeneities in the atmosphere can be important in producing at least some aspects of the apparent randomness that is seen. (With electric potential thought of like a diffusion field, models based on diffusion-limited aggregation are sometimes used.)

From Stephen Wolfram: A New Kind of Science [citation]