wire rope breaking radiation

wire rope breaking radiation

Posted in the Physics Forum

D Snyder

Houston, TX

#1 Jul 19, 2012
In the dark I saw a three strand wire rope break under stress. Each strand was composed of multiple (steel)wires. First, a few wires in one strand began to break, then more wires broke (and faster) until the entire wire rope parted. My question is about the blue sparks that marked the parting of each individual wire at the point where the wire broke. Obviously visible radiation was released but why was it blue? Was this an example of Cherenkov radiation? And how did particles (electrons?) get knocked loose in the first place?

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