Picture of How to make a macro particle accelerator

This is an attempt to reporduce Dr. Todd Johnsons demo of a particle accelerator by propelling a coated ping pong ball with electric fields.

What you see is strips of aluminum tape charged and spread out in a bow.l They are used to create electric charges that repeatedly change the charge of a conductively painted  ping pong ball.  This results in a sort of motor that propels the ball around the circumference of the bowl. 

I've heard accelerators like CERN use electric fields, and I've heard they use magnetic fields. I believe I can distuinguish between the two, but I'd be interested in an experts discription of their differences. 
 Imagine my embarassment if I learn here that there is no difference.  Even though everyone knows electromagnetism is a single force, It seems to me that at times it lacks polarity.
Either way, a simple understanding of "likes repel / opposites attract" is enough to see why this machine works.

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Step 1: What you need

Picture of What you need
You're going to need a

bowl (at least 8' diameter)
aluminum tape (or copper) (aluminum foil and glue, maybe?)
wires with alegator clips ( I've found that large strips of aluminum tape is hard to solder to.)
A large cfl (compact flourescent tube)
a flyback transformer 
a ping pong ball
conductive paint, 
     (I made my own, but I made a poor mix. So I revived my dried out comercial stuff with "goof off." Look here.
 I think these home made recepies are sound though.  look here.  ( )
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Pallad7 days ago


AlvinMaker4 years ago
That's sweet, i'm going to do one now.


what if i use another type of power supply like and car battery is this comfortable or not please tell me because i can't able to get an computer monitor as you have help me for this purpose

SydneyM6 months ago

will any flyback transformer work

techno guy11 months ago

This is cool, I'm making one for a physics class project, but since I can only power the flyback with 12 volts, it's not very powerful, it can only accelerate a particle of aluminum smaller than 3 mm and it's a linear accelerator.

emcelhannon (author)  techno guy11 months ago
Try this for power.!/
can you please provide me its detailed circuit diagram its urgent
Hi. Could you possibly give me a step by step instruction. All help is appreciated. Thanks
rfleeman13 years ago
Could you possibly show a circuit diagram of this please?
emcelhannon (author)  rfleeman13 years ago
I'm sorry man. I just can't get to it. I apologies for my poor directions.
emcelhannon (author)  rfleeman13 years ago
I'll work on it.
Brian Wall3 years ago
could u use a ball bearing instead of ping pong ball
emcelhannon (author)  Brian Wall3 years ago
Negative. Too heavy.
emcelhannon (author)  Brian Wall3 years ago
Negative. It's too heavy.
gabperez3 years ago
what's the output voltage of flyback transformer and cfl?
emcelhannon (author)  gabperez3 years ago
2 or 3 k.
gabperez3 years ago
is it okay to use glass bowl?
emcelhannon (author)  gabperez3 years ago
Glass is good.
Jonnybhoy3 years ago
I would love to do this for my high school physics project but I don't really understand how everything goes together. Is there anywhere that I could find a more step-by-step approach? I appreciate any help I can get with this.
im.rrayitas3 years ago
hey, why i cant, dowload, the PDF, is very interesant,, please
hg3414 years ago
you shoudl make one with a taser
macmaniac4 years ago
Would I be right in saying this *won't* work with an AC HV supply?
Answere to( Electric Field) magnetism and (Magnet) Magnetism In an electrical circuit electricity runs on the External Surface creating a magnetic effect. In a magnet the imbalance of the internal elements(Alloyed)makes for a phenonemum whereby electrons and protons are rotationally filling in the( Imbalance Anomally). This is the equivalent of an electric field created internally giving the magnetic effect externally.
An electric field will exist with any point charge (an electron, proton, etc...) which are called electric monopoles, meaning a negative charge can exist separately from a positive. There are also electric dipoles, but there are only magnetic dipoles. So yeah, a permanent magnet will always have a north and south pole (even if you cut it in half) and an induced magnetic field will have a north and south pole (which depends on the direction of the current). Permanent magnets are composed of magnetic dipoles which become aligned and stay aligned this creating an overall magnetic field. But many objects have this capability, its just that their magnetic dipoles are randomly aligned so no net magnetic field is observed. An accelerating charge will create a magnetic field, or b-field. There are two ways (I guess maybe more, but two common ways) to make a charge accelerate: the first is to force charge to follow a non-linear path (such as wrapping a wire around a nail and observing a magnetic field from a current through the wire, as Arano said), or by using alternating current, like that comes from the wall (60Hz), which means the current actually changes direction 60 times in a second.
emcelhannon (author)  stephenfitton4 years ago
What of the poles? The electric field doesn't have North/South does it? Isn't it just an excess or defenciency of electrons. Is the magnetic field primarily a result of the charged particles unified orientation, (giving it it's poles)?
if you have a wire with current on it (hope thats right said) there is en magnetic field shaped like a circle around the wire (with a lot of current you could go around it with a compass and the compass would always point with either east or west towards the wire)
one would hope but the interferance and speed may bring no result at all.
i said that more for making clear what i am trying to say
An electric field does have a north south pole as it actually is rotating in its own kenetics is appears undefined, encounter with a steel bar allows it to interact in such a way as Fields North/South defined EG .Coil an insulated wire around a small steel bar put a A,C,D, Cell battery on opposite ends of wire,Connect, Have a compass Handy Read One way connection,Write down, Reverse setup, take reading, You have now answered your question/Maybe. Heres for an extra train of thought as my comments are only made to engage grey matter. (Energy is only created to its surrounding if there is an imbalance-SF)(Status-Quo "for safety purposes only Alkaline batteries to be used,Eg torch-batteries,"
I'm trying to reproduce the linear accelerator. I've painted the ping pong ball with silver and I have 8 aluminium strips . Should it work using a solid state tesla coil as high voltage supply??? Thank you very much.
emcelhannon (author)  ELHORMIGUERO20104 years ago
I've never used a tesla coil, but it's worth a shot. I've been useing a crt, (intact) lately. I strip a bare part of the high voltage lead, and connect it to my positive strips. For my negative charge, I clip to the braided wire that wraps around the back of the tube. My crt's cut off as soon as there's an arc, but for this project, you don't want an arc.
Ghost Wolf4 years ago
Question doesn't this project use A/C? Becuase Tesala made an A/C motor using that concept.
Kinncat4 years ago
I really hate to say this, but this instructable probably gave me the basis for my new robot army. on a more sane note, I really hadn't thought of using the transformer from a CRT monitor. sure beats the heck out of my home-brew flybacks (boy, those were fun...) so thanks for that. have you tried using the liner accelerator setup you showed wrapped around something like a paper towel tube? might be the basis for a functional demo of the space fountain. would love to see that... anyways, props on the idea as a whole, given me a whole lot to plot about.
emcelhannon (author)  Kinncat4 years ago
Hey Kinncat, Check out this ible... High voltage fence

I tried it this morning, and it worked well.

No cfl necessary, just don't short it out. I did that too and earned a 1.5 inch burn accross my hand, and a ruined curcuit board.  Scared th begeesus out of me.
(bit late) hey, thanks! tried this, works grand! gonna get an instructable up for it soon, I hope. linear "particle" accelerator by paper towel tubes. launch ping pong balls and scare the begeesus out of your cat. what fun!
zfolwick4 years ago
as a kid I used to take old lamp wires and strip the ends and hold onto them for fun. I dunno why all the fuss about getting shocked... but it's probably something to avoid whenever possible (unless you get off on that sort of thing)
Cool as hell... I imagine how it would behave with some little balls in that bowl instead.
emcelhannon (author)  Gepetto Father4 years ago
There's and idea. I'll give it a shot. I was thinking of coating some small styrofoam bobbers, but there's got to be something better I can use. There are so many different things to try with this concept. Think marble coaster, and you'll see where I'm headed.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but i think that charge will always distribute itself evenly on the surface of a solid body (high school physics, where are you?). In the first step you say that the ping pong ball gets charged, but it is hollow, with only an external superficial conductive layer, so, maybe, ball bearings will behave the same... try them, why not?
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