Lecture Demos: 5A50.30

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Van de Graaff Generator

Van de Graaff Generator

The Van de Graaff generator has the ability to produce extremely high voltages when the belt picks up negative charges via friction and transfers them to the sphere. The excess charge accumulates on the outside surface of the sphere.

PIRA Code(s): 
5A50.30
Set up time: 
10 minutes
Physics and Science Concepts: 
Static Electricity, Friction
Operation: 
Plug in the generator. Turn on the rocker switch and adjust speed using potentiometer on the base of the Van de Graaff. Other suggested uses include combining this with other electrostatic demonstrations found under a 5A50 heading. Also, throwing packing peanuts or taping strips of paper to the Van de Graaff are popular demonstrations.
Safety: 
The rod works best on dry days with the blue wig. Care should be taken when operating. Do not approach the generator while it is running. Use the grounding rod to discharge.

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