Shocking Good Time – Fun with Frederick and Fleming

In today’s Fun with Frederick and Fleming, we discussed lightning and wanted to create some in the studio using a Van De Graff generator.

A Van De Graff Generator generates static electricity then a rubber band transports the electrons up to the dome on the top.  This dome then stores the electrons until the charge becomes great enough that they have to jump to a grounded location.  The spark generated is roughly 50,000 volts for every inch.  If you look closely at the sparks, they look like little lightning bolts.  Lightning is actually a large static electric spark, but obviously a lot more powerful with a much higher amperage that is deadly.

The next experiment that we did requires turning off the lights.  Amy is standing on a box that keeps her from being grounded.  So by having her hand on the Van De Graff generator the electrons are flowing around her body on the surface.  By holding onto the fluorescent light bulb, the electrons are flowing around it and causing it to light up.  By grounding it by touching Adam, the electrons race to Adam and cause it to light brighter.

The final experiment is for fun to show Amy the powers that she has.  Again, having the electrons flow around her, she is highly charged with static electricity.  Adam took some toilet paper and soaked it in a flammable fluid attached to the end of a metal screw driver.  The roughly 1 inch spark generated is enough to start the toilet paper on fire.

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