electromagnetic pinch effect demonstrator

Greetings, Instructors!
I've done some searching in the Technology section already, but (as you know) it's huge, and I didn't see anything that was close enough to what I'm looking for except the electromagnetic coil gun.

I want to replicate a demonstrator I saw, once upon a year, at the Smithsonian Institution. A thin-walled metal tube was dropped into the spaces inside two stacked, separated coils, as if it were an axle for a pair of wheels.
A brief, large current was then run through the coils; the induced currents in the tube produced the "theta pinch" effect, crushing the regions of the tube that were within the coils. (The machine was set up to sell the products for a token price; the impressively crushed tube was dispensed as a souvenir.)

I need advice on the type and capacity of capacitor, thyristor, power supply, etc. to employ. Has anyone here built one, or know someone who has?


Argent47 (author) 2 years ago

Ah, this is just what I was hoping for. Again, my thanks, Instructors!

Kiteman2 years ago

You need to search for an "electromagnetic can crusher".

I thought this one was nice. It looks like a rat trap is being used for the high current switch. No thyristor required.

Youtube's description blurb for this video includes this link,


which includes more pictures and info about this project.