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Can a Van De Graaff generator spark or shoot sparks? Answered

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icengBest Answer (author)2011-07-18


You don't say where you live, how can I assess your area humidity
today ??

Yes it will shoot one spark in a dry atmosphere.
Depending on the design of the unit,
it could make you sit down or lower !!!

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rickharris (author)2011-07-19

How far - Under what conditions - Why? - do you aim to kill or disable people or just create a BIG lightning show


There is a good reason why the BIG shows come from Tessla coils not VDG's or Whimhurst machines.

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orksecurity (author)rickharris2011-07-19

Again -- see the Boston Museum Of Science's website. Their "theater of electricity" runs Van De Graff's own generator (originally used as an atom-smashing accelerator) and Tesla coils. The former puts out bigger single sparks, the latter put out more sparks. (The big Tesla coils also throw more amperage, and so are probably more dangerous.)

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talbayaty (author)rickharris2011-07-19

I like the lightning shows but I ran out of Tesla Supply so i built a VDG and just grounded it a few mins ago i havent tested it since the grounding.

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talbayaty (author)2011-07-19

Wow ok thanks i live in florida the generator is about 2 feet tall and is WEll Grounded with a system similer to a power pole :D Thanks for the info.

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iceng (author)talbayaty2011-07-19

Florida is a great place for Fulgurites, I would be searching sandy areas
as soon as a storm moved off.
Lightning energy in sand melts the sand to glass.

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Kiteman (author)2011-07-19

Yes, if the weather is dry and the target object is well-earthed.

In perfect conditions, I've had sparks up to six inches long from my school's clonky old VdG with a worn band.

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The MadScientist (author)2011-07-19

Yes if you give it a good ground such as the ground or a metal sheet underneath it.

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Jack A Lopez (author)2011-07-18

I've seen it happen. The sparks are easier to see if you dim the lights. There have to be some pictures of this around here somewhere... http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=van+de+graff+spark

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orksecurity (author)2011-07-18

How big a generator?

http://www.mos.org/sln/toe/

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