Author Options:

good ideas for a van de graff generator belt Answered

I'm making a van de Graff generator and i was wondering what would be some good things to use for the belt could a bicycle inertube work or would that be to conductive i read some were that usually black things have a slightly conductive coloring or something one more thing i was looking at the triboelectric series and was wondering what end the belt should be on aswell as the top and bottom roller


pvc isulation tape,rubber band,

well, to get best results, if possible, use leather as the belt (well, if you can find human skin, that's better, but yeahhhh...) and use silicone rubber as wheels Those are the 2 major extremes, and are somewhat easy to find. Triboelectric series: Most positively charged + Human skin Leather Rabbit's fur Glass Quartz Mica Human hair Nylon Wool Lead Cat's fur Silk Aluminum Paper (Small positive charge) Cotton (No charge) 0 Steel (No charge) Wood (Small negative charge) Lucite Amber Sealing wax Acrylic Polystyrene Rubber balloon Resins Hard rubber Nickel, Copper Sulfur Brass, Silver Gold, Platinum Acetate, Rayon Synthetic rubber Polyester Styrene (Styrofoam) Orlon Plastic wrap Polyurethane Polyethylene (like Scotch tape) Polypropylene Vinyl (PVC) Silicon Teflon Silicone rubber Ebonite − Most negatively charged

I thought the belt should be in the middle, top wheel at one end, bottom wheel at the other end... Mine had a rubber belt, Aluminum (tape) and PVC (electrical tape.)

wait just to be clear if it was possible cotton would be the best thing for the belt? because its in the middle or should it be in the middle of what the two rollers are made out of like if i made my bottom roller out of Teflon and my top roller out of aluminum would cotton still be best for my belt or would brass be the best since it is in the middle of those to materials on the list above again these are just examples im not sure what i will use yet

There are "practical" considerations that go beyond the triboelectric series. The belt material has to make a good "belt" physically, and it has to be very non-conductive to avoid leaking the charges away. You have more freedom over the composition of the rollers. Cotton would tend to absorb enough moisture to become a "not very good" insulator. I think belts are almost always rubber. Rubber makes very good belts; stretchy and pretty strong, and pure rubber is a very good insulator. You might get away with certain stretchy plastics. I'd go silicone/rubber/glass if I could get things in convenient sizes...

i herd somewhere that the top roller has to be conductive is that true?

nope, don't use a conductor, use an insulator/one of the items on the list above. for picking up the static you have little metal "fingers" that are very close (but not touching, if it touches it won't work!) the belt near the top. I also hear you should have fingers at the bottom.

that probably makes more sense, I thought the rolers were the same material and the belt was the other thing, so yeahhhh... totally disregard what I said in that long post

You've gotten good advice below. I sure hope you're taking pictures along the way, and will create an Instructable of your project when you're done. Good luck!

If i do it will be my first but i don't think i will because i'm kind of copying an instructable already on hear just with a few changes

Doesn't matter :-) If you do it differently, it's yours, and you can both cite the prior art (use square brackets with the URL of the other I'ble) and you can point out where yours is ~~better~~ different. It'll still be cool.


9 years ago

Back in the day, I acquired a rubber bedsheet aimed at incontinents. I think rubber may be more expensive now, but you can get sheets that are not too expensive from Small Parts, Inc, or you could look into the Resistance Bands used in some exercise programs.

a rubber bedsheet aimed at incontinents.

Brings a whole new meaning to "point and shoot."

Sorry, couldn't resist

The belt should be non-conductive. Small home-built versions often use elastic bands, the one I have at school has a rubber belt.