$1 Electrostatic Levitation Toy (Video)





Introduction: $1 Electrostatic Levitation Toy (Video)

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This is a curious effect I've been experimenting with over the last week, and I've finally decided to make a how-to-make video about it.

This effect is REAL. It's called Van Der Graaf levitation. It's been around for awhile now, you can even buy a commercial toy version of this device. However, the commercial one uses batteries and costs about $30...

Basically, it's a statically charged PVC pipe that can levitate some thin mylar plastic. It's an awesome effect, and so cheap to make. It would make a head turning Christmas gift for sure! (did I mention how cheap it is to make !??!?!!?!)

What you need:

14'' 3/4'' diam PVC pipe ($0.75)

Fuzzy fabric. Get a scrap of fleece at a fabric store. Fake fur works the best, hands down.

Mylar film (negligible cost). You can find mylar at any store that has a good selection of tissue paper. I got a lifetime worth of it at Michaels Craft store for $2. The mylar on mylar balloons should work also. There's another video out there that shows you how to make this, and he uses christmas tree tinsel. Personally, I think tinsel is a pain to deal with on account of it being so thin and easily tangled.

NOTE: This thing a lot more fun than it looks. Try it for yourself!



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    If you have trouble with humidity, put the tube on a central heating radiator and the piece of plastic bag or other warm place for a while.

    will space blanket work?

    I'm pretty sure...but I've never seen one before. If the material is thin like tissue paper, than it'll probably work.

    Regular cellophane works great, tissue paper works OK...if it's thin and light, it will work.

    Except plastic shopping bags...they don't work and I don't know why :\

    the very thin plastic bags from super markets works just rub it on your hair (no conditioner!)

    the affect is something to do with atoms the shiner the material the better it works. see the pcv sees it self in the Mylar film so it acts differently than with a clear product

    I agree with coast2coastcreator! What on earth is that supposed to mean? =D

    here is a link to some information bout it, just have a look at the table, you'll get it http://www.rmcybernetics.com/science/high_voltage/contact_elec.htm

    It's a fun effect but there is no such thing as "Van Der Graaf Levitation", at least not within the scientific community. You are confusing this with the Van Der Graaf Generator which works in a similar way to the PVC tube and fluffy cloth you have here.
    Both are ways of generating static electricity using mechanical means. James Whimshurst's Influence machine is another example of mechanically driven friction-based machine.

    The commercial product you mentioned while still an electrostatic device is very different in that the static electricity is generated electronically using a voltage multiplier. It is basically a handheld air-ioniser, often used to attract and removes dust particles from the air.

    What you are looking for is the "Triboelectric Effect" and "Triboelectric Series", see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triboelectric_effect and it is directly related to the principle you are using to charge the PVC pipe.

    Basically, the bigger the difference between the materials used, the bigger the charge. This is why some cloths work really well and others are pretty useless.
    See www.school-for-champions.com/science/static_materials.htm

    With the above, you should be able to find a better alternative to the PVC pipe though your choice may cost a little more. Have fun :)

    I do this. & its working successufl... Thanks a lot ..