It's possible and is really easy to do. Granted, it's not nearly as exciting as a good old fashion thunderstorm, but the effect is still pretty cool and this lightning won't kill you!
The scientific name for this experiment is a water-drop electrostatic generator.
Watch the video for a quick overview, then check out the detailed instructions to see how to build your own! (Scientific explanation is on step 6)
WARNING: This experiment can generate several thousand volts out of thin air, possible injuring or even killing a harmless little gnat or even a fly!
Step 1: Supplies
- Garden Hose
- Two buckets - 8 quart or larger are perfect
- Packing Styrofoam
- Hose 'Y' Adapter with flow-control valves
- One foot of 3/4" plastic tubing
- Two 3/4" end caps
- Nylon thread or string
- Wire - any kind of conducting wire works, even alligator leads.
- Two bottomless soup or coffee cans
- A drill with a small bit
Step 2: Prep the parts
1. Drill holes in the end caps.
This is the most important step. The end goal here is to create several continuous streams of water droplets.
In order to accomplish that, the holes must be properly spaced, otherwise they will join into a solid stream, defeating the purpose.
(This will still work with only one stream of droplets, but the energy buildup time is greatly reduced by having several!)
2. Drill holes in the cans.
The cans will need three holes. Two on top for suspending it from something, and one on the bottom for the metal wire.