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So this idea I've been pondering involved a Asian/Eastern Dragon that could shoot electricity(lightning) but the electricity is externally generated so how exactly would that work? This is what i've gotten to so far

  • It obtains the electricity by flying up into a storm and possibly using its horns to collect the energy
  • It would preferably shoot it out of its mouth but horns could work also
  • The mane and whiskers could help conduct the electricity but it might get brain fried :(

So if you have any ideas please say so, Thank you :)

*I have looked up electric eels and how that works but I would prefer external sources vs the eels organs

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closed as too broad by Aify, Azuaron, sphennings, MozerShmozer, Hohmannfan May 2 '17 at 5:57

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ The answer, of course, is "magic". $\endgroup$ – Aify May 1 '17 at 17:06
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    $\begingroup$ Collects electricity and stores it in supercapacitors. How come it has supercapacitors? Why, this is common among Asian over Eastern Dragons. $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 1 '17 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP As much as I like Eastern Dragons and their supercapacitors, can you edit the phrase "among Asian over Eastern Dragons", in your comment, so that it makes more sense. It hurts my brain to decypher its possible meanings. $\endgroup$ – a4android May 2 '17 at 2:16
  • $\begingroup$ @a4android: That's what the OP asked about: an "Asian/Eastern dragon". $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 2 '17 at 7:11
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP That's a rather unique/unusual way of rendering it. $\endgroup$ – a4android May 2 '17 at 12:49
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Couple of things sprang to mind:

  • Faraday cages - These allow electricity to pass around whatever is inside the object rather than through it (so saving your dragon's brain).
  • Batteries - They work by making a load of one thing positively charged and the other negatively charged but need to have the energy put in to split them up first.

My solution would be to have your dragon's scales lined outlined by metal, creating a metal mesh around the creature that could grow as the dragon does (it will get hot...but hey, dragons breath fire, we've handwaved before). The electricity can flow along this grid but it needs somewhere to go. You need your creature to have a store of different materials that the electricity can ionise (our biggest battery uses Lithium ions so you could use that too).

Now you just need some muscles inside the dragon which let the charges flow to the horns or something to make something like the ball on top of a Van de Graff generator.

(Handwavy, sure....but an explanation based in sciencey stuff).

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Your dragon could be insulated on the outside, and roll and slide around on dry ground. It could charge itself up with static electricity. Just like scuffling along in slippers on a winter day, then gently touching your brother on the ear. Scuffling thru the air counts - fine particles scuffling thru the air and collecting charge is where lightning comes from and the principle of air scuffling conferring charge is why planes have little lightning rods on them: to disperse accumulated charge. enter image description here Sharp edges tend to bleed off charge and so for this method it would be advantageous for your dragon to be very round, or possibly like the Michelin Man. A nearly spherical dragon or lozenge shaped dragon would be ideal for this.

A problem: on touching something grounded with some body part that is not insulated (tongue?) the dragon gets an equivalent shock.

A solution is to have the dragon spit or otherwise launch discrete boluses of dispensable matter from its body towards the target. A lugey of electrolyte and mucus will carry some charge as it leaves and on hitting the grounded target, impart that charge. The dragon is not part of the circuit. This method also allows the dragon to parcel out charge in several shots as opposed to dumping it all at once (still possible via tongue method).

ADDENDUM It was pointed out to me that rather than scuffling on carpet or through the sky, the electric dragon could accumulate charge by rubbing itself - much like one might rub a balloon on a child head to make her hair stand up, or accidentally shocking a dog or cat after accumulating charge by petting it. I can imagine this rounded dragon rubbing itself briskly immediately before launching a gooey charged blast at its prey.

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I like the Faraday brain case idea. Maybe the dragons claws, horns, whiskers and whatnot could act as an airplane's lightning rods--I like that point. Often engineers are inspired by nature, so who's to say we couldn't reverse engineer a mythological creature and base it on technology we use?

So here's a different tangent: Maybe the dragon can drain its foes of electricity--as a sort of vampire of electrical charges. That way its target should be incapacitated (perhaps even killed), as the brain uses electric impulses to fire neurons. I would assume there's not enough electricity in, say one human body, however, for a dragon to store up for an attack...but maybe if the dragon is facing an army? He could suck them dry.

Otherwise, getting his juice from thunderclouds depends on there being overcast weather. Gold is a very efficient electrical conductor, so maybe the dragon is tipped or coated with golden scales.

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  • $\begingroup$ Gold is only 70% as good of a conductor as copper. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 2 '17 at 5:12
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding! $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 2 '17 at 5:12

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