what can i prove with this?

picking a topic for science fair has been hard. i was wondering what i could prove with a van de graaf generator. somthing i can test with it. any ideas?

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guyfrom7up9 years ago
you prove static electricity
static electricity is anything but static though :-)
VIRON Goodhart9 years ago
That's it! You prove that static electricity is not really static, it's really high voltage DC.
westfw9 years ago
I built a mini van de graaf generator and won first place in the 6th grade science fair, back when they weren't so picky about your project actually being "science." (I learned stuff, but ... no hypothesis, no experiments; just a neat THING.) I like the idea of testing different belt materials and such; measuring output isn't that hard; use a fixed spark gap and time the discharge frequency. In a way, I don't like the current emphasis on "Scientific Method." It takes a lot of the fun out of it, and Engineering is important too...
trebuchet039 years ago
Typically, a good science fair project shows what you've learned... through experimentation... Rather than - hey, look at this cool thing I built. Yes, cool things are... well, cool - and fun to play with... But a good project will go a few steps beyond the cool bits....

On the subject of a Van De Graff.... you could experiment with different brush and belt materials to see what different outputs you can get (hard part is measuring such high voltages :p).
Don't measure voltage directly, just time how long it takes to make a spark of given length with each material.
I suppose one could rig an electrostatic homemade device to demonstrate different voltages too.
CameronSS9 years ago
Is this a school science fair? If so, check with the moderator to see if there is an invention category. We had an annual science fair in middle school, and you could either design an experiment and carry it out, or we could create an invention of some sort. In eighth grade, I built a little device that chucked into a cordless (or corded) drill that shook a spray can with the same motion as a human arm. My hypothesis was something like "I can build a simple, reliable device that will automatically mix an aerosol can." I'd make an Instructable, but I didn't take construction pictures, and I don't need another one.
Goodhart9 years ago
as Jtobako was saying, you can show what is generating electricity, you can demonstrate capacitance, and high voltage discharge. You can measure it (albeit not very accurately) with some home made instruments:
Here....From here

or here, the opposite of high voltage: Very low voltage
jtobako9 years ago
Look at how the machine works. Then see what you can do to make it work better and worse. Is a rubber belt better than PVC? Neoprene? leather? How fast does it have to go? Is faster better? How? Circular terminal, toroid, square, cylindrical, crumpled aluminum foil (how tight?), fish bowl of water...how large of a diameter? What type of brush works/is best? Pick something, or just make one and show what static electricity can do.
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