Van de Graaff Generator 5A50.30

The Van de Graaff generators are located in the Electrostatics Cabinet, B3. The plastic stool is located on the top of the Electrostatics Cabinet, A1 or A2.

There are many demonstrations that use the Van de Graaff; the one described below is very popular with students of all ages.

Note 0: The shock from the Department's Van de Graaff is not likely to be painful or cause injury, but it will get your attention, and some people may dislike it.

Note 00: The Department's Van de Graaff charges positive, due to the materials used for the belt and rollers.

Put the Van de Graaff on a table so that the big silver ball is at least one meter from other objects (to minimize leakage current).

To see if the Van de Graaff is going to work well:

The Van de Graaff might not work well if the air is humid, or if the belts are old.

If the Van de Graaff is working well, then:

Note 1: multiple audience members can be taken for a "ride" on the Van de Graaff without switching the machine on and off, through proper use of the grounding stick: people are only allowed to put their hand on the big silver ball or take it off if the big silver ball is grounded.

Note 2: while at high potential, the audience member may get a shock if he or she gets too close to the table, too close to you, or too close to other audience members.

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