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Van de Graaf draft

Submitted by zalam on Tue, 10/01/2019 - 15:35

An elaborate representation of static electricity can be demonstrated through the use of a Van de Graaf. Structurally, a Van de Graaf has base with a dial to turn it on and increase/decrease the voltage. It is plugged to a power outlet through the base. Emerging from the base, the plastic cylinder has a belt (made of felt) constantly rubbing against one another when the equipment is switched on. This causes a sea of negatively charged electrons to be produced. The electrons travel up the belt to the metal ball of the Van de Graaf (on top). Upon skin contact with the metal ball, the person will experience their hair being "static". This is due to the fact that electrons cannot stay in one place and are always looking to leave through any form conducting medium. The person has to stand on an insulating material (e.g. wooden or plastic stool) to avoid the electrons travelling down to the ground since that pathway is natural for them. This is the same mechanism as the simple "socks shuffling against the rug" or "balloon rubbing against hair".