What is a Van de Graaff generator? you might wonder, well It is an electrostatic machine that builds up an extremely high voltage charge on a metal sphere. It was invented by Robert J. Van de Graaff in 1929.
it works like this: you know how when you scuff your socks on a carpet, and then get that nasty shock by a door knob? Or how rubbing a balloon in your hair will cause the balloon to cling to the wall? Well a Van-De-Graaff generator is a automated version of this effect, known as the “triboelectric” effect. As the belt on the generator come in contact with the bottom roller, depending on the material used, the belt and roller will gather opposite charges. The charge on the belt is then carried up to the top roller, where it is deposited onto the sphere.
in this Instructable, I will show you how to build your own Van De Graaff generator, so you could be a mad scientist too!
Step 1: Step 1: the Parts and Tools
Now lets get building! You will need:
*lots of duct tape and electrical tape,
*a top load,
*a plastic tube about the size of a marker, (and yes, you could use a gutted marker too),
*a wide rubber band,
*a small motor (preferably with a long shaft),
*a power supply to power the motor
*some paper clips
*something soft and insulative to mount everything to. I used a white-board eraser
as for the tools, you will need:
*a soldering iron,
*wire cutters (recommended)
*hot glue gun or rubber cement,
*scissors and a sharp knife