Ideal for school or home laboratory experiments.this self-charging electrostatic generator can be builtfor
total cost of only $27.95.
150,000-VoIt Van de GraaffElectrostatic Generator
Craft Print Project No. 283By HAROLD P. STRAND
TANDING only 17-1/2 in. high, thisminiature self-charging electrosta-tic generator is a simplified andsmall working model of the multi-mil-lion volt electrostatic generator devel-oped by Dr. Robert J. Van de Graaff in 1931. This table-top size generator(Fig. 1), is capable of developing anddischarging over 150,000 volts in theform of an electric arc (Figs. 2, 3, and4). Although the voltage is very high,the current is low (about 5 micro-amperes) so there is no chance of theuser getting a dangerous electric shock.
Lett, Increasing the distance between electrode andsphere to 6 in. reduces the number of discharges toone about every 3 or 4 seconds. Right, If the elec-trode is swung down away from the sphere thecharge will build up in the sphere until suddenly
bolt of artificial lightning will jump between thesphere and the metal ring around the base—adistance of about 18 in. if the relative humidity islow enough.
Several interesting experiments, including thegeneration of ozone can be conducted with thiselectrostatic generator.
How It Works.
The initial charge is producedby a rubber belt (Fig. 5) passing over andaround the lower,
pulley covered withpolyethylene tape.This static chargeis due to dissimi-lar materials beingrepeatedly broughttogether and thenseparated. Thefrictional chargestays on the pul-ley, since it ismade of good in-sulating material,and builds up a po-tential sufficient toionize the air atthe ground brush.The pulley is neg-atively charged,thus attractingpositive charges
Using the wire ca-pacitor shown inFig. I6C and with theelectrode set about 3in. from the sphere,a noisy discharge inthe form of an arcwill jump the gapabout every 2 sec-onds.
SCIENCE AND MECHANICS