Author Options:

Need some help with my KELVIN'S THUNDERSTORM! what a name.. Answered

having some problem with kelvins thunderstorm.

i've set up 2 plastic cups on a wooden block
.the water drips from 2 tiny holes with wire to make it drop straigt down.

it falls through two copper wire rings (not perfectly round) with a diameter of 3 or 4 CM

then it falls in the same kind of cup but rapped in alluminium foil (outside and inside)

the copper rings are connected with the cups in alluminium foil (crossed)and finaly 2 little wires on each cup on the bottom have a little gap in between so i can see the spark.

but notthing happens...
what did i do wrong ?



Best Answer 8 years ago

You didn't make it like the video.  He runs his water out of a garden hose that is grounded.  You are dripping your water out of plastic cups.  They are not grounded and you are not getting the water flow shown in the video.

This is not going to work unless you get everything right.  Build it like the video, and use it in low humidity.  The lower the better.

i only used this..

and i want to learn how to make them.. not how to copy one design exactly
stil thnx for the info.

Sometimes, especially something tricky or finiky, you need to build one exactly as built by someone else just to get the process down.  Then you can change things all you want BUT only one thing at a time.  Otherwise you have no idea what's wrong if it doesn't work.  There is nothing wrong copying something to learn about it then experimenting on your own to further your knowledge.  In fact it is a commonly accepted method of study.

If you had experience making these then you would be able to design one on your own.

When I first saw the video, I assumed that it was a spoof, but there are other sites showing the same thing or a similar thing so I guess it is possible, but I believe that conditions have to be perfect or you will not get your results.

Good luck.

tried it some more..and some more.. so i think that building an exact replica is a good idea! thnx

Well THAT image shows the same system as the link I posted - not what you've described ;-)

Check for short circuits ?

At the voltages a Kelvin's Thunderstorm potentially runs at, wood is enough of a conductor to complete a circuit between the two sides and discharge it (that's what happened with my first attempt).

Any projecting edges can also cause "corona discharge", where the device discharges into the air.

Was it  fiddly to make it work ? My sons have seen the video now, and want to make one.

Have you done the simple one where you bounce two charged water streams off each other ? Connect the sources together, the streams merge, open the short and they bounce off.

I never got a spark, but I am sure the drops got deflected.

I eventually blamed it on a poor earth and damp British weather.