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What would it take to make lightning of solid matter?

Okay. So, we all know how electricity passes through the air ionizing it and turning it into plasma, which is why the lightning has a flash. So, How much electricity would it take to ionize and turn solid and liquid matter into plasma and make a flash just like lightning?

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An electric arc welder melts the steel and the welding rod into liquid, so you're well on your way with just a couple thousand volts. Turn it up a few more thousand and you'll probably get a plasma.

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That's not fair, those are conductors!

I always wanted to try welding but it seems kind of dangerous. I have enough accidents in the kitchen.
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Oddly enough, it's not exactly high voltage:

http://eastern.usu.edu/welding/files/uploads/weld1100.pdf

They start by striking the rod on the metal, then draw back once the arc starts. The plasma then conducts the electricity.
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I guess you just need more voltage:

http://www.ask.com/wiki/Dielectric_strength
http://www.ask.com/wiki/Disruptive_discharge

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