Improved Can Crusher
Block diagram of my new can crusher.
Can crusher, mark II.
Can crusher, mark III.
Crushed cans.
For those who might be interested, this coil has an inductance of 9.8 microHenrys.  The natural resonance frequency is now 42 KHz, so the power level is only 200,000,000 Watts, with a peak current of 5,000 amps.  Now, you may think that this was a lot of effort to go through just to crush a pop can.  Your right, but I have further plans, stay tuned.

A bit of a post script here.  After several runs with the can crusher, I noticed that the steel spheres in the triggered spark gap had turned brown.  The only explanation I can come up with for this is the known photolytic instability of PVC.  The PVC destined for exterior use (siding, shingles, etc.) is normally blended with ultraviolet stabilizers (kinda like sun block) to slow down this process.  I suspect that the UV radiation (maybe some X-rays too) from the firing gap is inducing dehydrohalogenation in the PVC, generating hydrogen chloride.  The hydrogen chloride would then react with the water vapor inside of the gap case to generate hydrochloric acid, which would rapidly corrode the steel.  The picture below shows the result.  One ball has been cleaned with an extra-fine sanding pad for comparison (it cleaned up fine, no pitting, just a uniform brown coating).

Corroded balls from my triggered spark gap.