Jack Sparx
Electricity you can SEE and FEEL

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For many years our VDG's have been built and serviced by the "physics teacher I wish I'd had" Fred Graff.

Please check out his website at www.physicsplayground.com

He constructs wonderful products and parts, and keeps our roadshow on the road!

Jack SparX now has three sizes of VDGs from table top to seven foot tall with a 30" ball available for events.


Van de Graaff Generator


A conveyer belt for electrons!


It carries electrons to the sphere where they accumulate and become very high voltage.


Fun stuff:

Makes hair stand on end. Why?

Because charged particles build up on the outside surfaces of the person touching it, and the particles are all repelling each other.


Originally called the “atom smasher” (1929)

It was invented as a particle accelerator. How do you think it compares to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN?


Geeky stuff:

Very high voltage (50,000 to 1,000,000 volts) and low current

which discharges in microseconds. It's SHOCKING, but won't kill you.


Called static electricity

Like when clothes stick together or you shock yourself from the carpet or car seat. This is caused by a property called triboelectric effect – see Wikipedia. Remember though, all Electricity is the same, just different voltages and currents.


Impacted by humidity

More humidity, bigger load, less voltage so less static electricity.

Less humidity, drier air, higher voltage so more static electricity.

Don't you get shocked more indoors during the winter when the air's drier?


How it's constructed:

This Van de Graaff generator is made of:

  • A 1/3 horsepower motor with drive belt and pulley

  • Two rollers both made of nylon, one cover with felt.

  • A belt made from latex.

  • Two brush assemblies made from pieces of bronze screen.

  • An output terminal – the large shiny metal globe.

  • A discharge point – this could be YOU!




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