Van De Graaff Generator

Emmalisa Grella

How it works:

  1. The Van De Graaff Generator is capable of generating hundreds of thousands of volts. Motorized pulley and insulated belt brushes up against the sharply pointed brushes.
  2. The insulated belt has a stronger hold on its electrons then the metal brush, so when they metal brush and the insulated belt make contact the electrons are transferred into the belt.
  3. The metal comb attached to the dome, is now positively charged and the insulated belt is grounded, making it return back to neutral, so that the process may repeat itself.
  4. To neutralize the positively charge dome you can touch it with an object connected directly to the earth "grounding".
  5. The pulley is made up of a plastic called "Bakelite", the pulley is made with this specially plastic because it has a much weaker hold on its electrons then the rubber belt.
  6. The bottom pulley has now lost its electrons to the inner surface of the rubber belt, therefore the pulley remains with a positive charge.
  7. The electrons transferred to the rubber belt are spread all over the inner surface.
  8. The positive charge of the pulley has a greater concentration then the negative charge of the rubber belt.
  9. The comb that is attached to the ground, has an unlimited amount of electrons, some of the electrons feel the pull from the positively charged pulley and some jump across the gap.)
  10. The electrons cannot get through the belt to the positively charge pulley because the rubber belt is an insulator.
  11. The new electrons are trapped on the rubber belt's insulated surface and cannot move.
  12. Although the electrons are trapped on the insulated belt, as they move to the top of the belt, they see another way to escape. The electrons are able to jump to the surface of the metal comb and then transfer to the metal dome where they electrons spread out.
How Does a Van de Graaff Generator Work?

Uses For The Van De Graaff Generator

The most common use of a Van De Graaff Generator is to separate electric charges and build them up. A larger scale can be used to create a burst of energy for generating X-rays, or also for accelerating electrons or protons. Also for Sterilize food rays, for accelerating protons for nuclear experiments and driving x-ray tubes.
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Robert J. Van de Graaff

Born: December 20, 1901

Died: January 16, 1967 at the age of 65

Robert J. Van De Graaff went to Oxford University and became very interested in the study of accelerating particles for the use of nuclear research. He came to realize that these charges could accumulate inside a metal dome, this was the catalyst for his invention of the Van De Graaf Generator.


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Van De Graaff Generator- Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 2013. Web.
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