Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kelvin Water Dropper

I managed to build a fairly impressive Kelvin Water Dropper. It throws approximately 1cm sparks which I would guess means that it is producing 10-20kV.

The materials were dead simple: Two large pans, two fruit cans with the top and bottom removed, six baby food jars, scotch tape, two straws, two alligator clips and a milk jug.

I was hoping to upload a picture but my computer has died and my phone is refusing to upload. It follows the typical design though, the baby food jars insulate the two big pans. The fruit cans are held in place/insulated with scotch tape. When you pour water in the milk jug it pours out two straws. Then it falls through the fruit cans which are positioned right where the stream of water separates into drops. Finally it lands in one of the large pans. I position the pans so that they are close enough for a spark to go between them.

I found that it only works perfectly about half the time. The rest of the time it just won't spark. This can be solved by rubbing a pvc pipe with a sweater. Then I hold the pipe up to one of the cans right after starting it. Every time I have done this it has worked perfectly.

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