MadSci Network: Engineering

Re: van de graaf generators

Date: Fri Aug 6 17:51:17 1999
Posted By: William Beaty, Electrical Engineer / Physics explainer / K-6 science textbook content provider
Area of science: Engineering
ID: 933696832.Eg

Hi Tristan! The base supports can be any material, but there are advantages and disadvantages. Plastics and other insulators can accidentally collect charged air from the belt or combs, and this could create unwanted electrostatic fields which affect the tips of the comb. Metal or wooden supports, if they have sharp edges and are close to the belt, can act like charge-spraying combs and discharge the belt. If you build your machine so that the belt and roller is a few inches away from the parts of the base, then you should have no problems.

If you make your base from wood or plastic, then you'll need to use a wire to connect the lower comb to ground.

If this is your first project, then use whatever material is easiest to obtain and easiest to cut/drill.


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