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Kelvin's Thunderstorm

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Kelvin's Thunderstorm

Lord Kelvin's water-drop electrostatic generator

In the late 19th century and early 20th century there was performed a nearly forgotten experiment that generated static electricity by lord Kelvin as shown in the photograph below.





How to build your own:


Between 1858 and 1867, Lord Kelvin also developed a water-drop electrostatic generator, which he

called the "water-dropping condenser”. It was sometimes referred to as “Kelvin’s Thunderstorm”. The

device uses falling water drops to generate voltage differences by utilizing the electrostatic induction

occurring between interconnected, oppositely charged systems. Water runs down from the top, with

slightly positively-charged water attracted to the negative ring and slightly negative water attracted to

the positive ring. The charged water flows through the ring and into a container. The water traveling

through the negative ring becomes H30+ and the water travelling through the positive ring becomes

OH-. The charges then build in the ring connected to the container opposite it - attracting even more

charge. This results in a positive feedback loop. When the charge eventually reaches a certain

threshold, a spark will cross the gab between the rings. Lord Kelvin water droppers have been known to

build a 20,000 volt charge with as few as 100 drops of water through each side in less than six seconds.

That’s without any external power source – simply utilising the energy of the falling water drops. As you

can see, electrostatic generators can be made to be very powerful. Now imagine an electrostatic

generator that's unable to discharge and you've got yourself a Joe Cell. The Joe Cell is the perfect

electrostatic generator.



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Lecture 15: Ampere's Law, Solenoids, Revisit the Kelvin Water Dropper, Midterm Evaluation (start at 27 minutes)


Or watch one of the many videos about this on YouTube:


[/media] Edited by Abramelin

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