Leyden Jar




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Here you will learn to make a leyden jar. the images shown were created using computer design software

Step 1: Materials

lidyou will need:
tape (scotch perferred)
a stainless steel or alluminum nail
plastic or glass jar
a lid
some wire
alluminum foil

Step 2: Foil It Up

tear out a piece of foil so that it can stretch all the way around the jar. cut off any foil that comes off of the the edges of the jar, and smooth it flat. The less wrinkles, the better. If there are any tears, remove the foild and put on a new sheet. If you cannot, or are too lazy to, cut out a small square of foil that is big enough to cover the hole and cover it completely with tape. Place the taped foil over the hole. make sure that there are no sharp points on the foil, aand never add more than one layer to the foil.

Step 3: Prep the Lid

use a drill to bore a hole through the lid of the jar. then place the nail in the hole so that it goes down deep enough so it will touch the water with the jar is filled. the head of the nail should not touch the lid. the nail should fit snuggly in the hole, but if not, use hot glue to keep it in place.

Step 4: Put in the Water and Seal It Up

fill the jar with water up to the point where the top of the foil ends. then measure out about two to three teaspoons of salt and drop it into the warm water. if you have a bigger jar, add a little at a time until salt starts to deposit on the floor of the jar. give the salt time to dissolve. screw on the lid, tape a wire to the foil, and you have yourself a leyden jar! to charge the leyden jar, you can do two things: use it as a static capacitor or use it as a dc capacitor.

to charge using static: get a static generator of some sort and attach it to the nail. keep it attached for a little while and it will start to charge. then use the wire on the foil as the output. a good way to use this is to hook it up to the anode of a flyback transformer. i take no responability if you hurt or kill yourself or anyone else with this or anything else that you do.

to charge with dc: attach the negative terminal to the nail and the positive terminal to the wire on the foil. This will act as though it were a polarized capacitor. a good use for this would be to attach batteries in parallel and charge it with those.

setting up the jars in series will give better results



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    13 Discussions


    9 years ago on Step 2

     but what if we stick the more layers of foil together with glue?

    knoxaramaMichael Pawlicki

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 2

    no, it will create an air space between the layers and make it lose charge. it also would become more  fragile.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    if the lid is not touching the outer foil, then yes. however, it will disharge faster and generaly be less efficient, so plastic is preferred.

    and, yes a screw will function just as well as a nail.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    oh, i did. but i'm trying to get a multimeter for testing an i'm still tweeking it. i'm going to add an addition on later with the edited version in hopes of making a bio-electric detector. i'll throw on some pictures then


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Be prepared for the voltage - static charges are often in the thousands of volts, which may cause problems for a standard multimeter.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    the multimeter is for testing the pulse in your body, so it'll probably only a give a decimal of a volt.