Van de Graaff Generators - The Indoor Lightning Machine!

VDG Home | VDG Safety | How VDGs Work | VDG Sales & Consulting | VDG Photo Gallery

After you've seen a Van De Graaff generator in action: the big loud sparks, the power to make hair stand straight up, and the constant sizzling and crackling of live static electricity - you would think it was a machine of extensive complexity and advanced technology. But when you remove the dome and the base cover to look inside the machine, the simplicity of the device is remarkable. Two pulleys, a belt, wire combs, a metal dome, an electric motor, and a plastic column. No computers, no high-powered transformers. It is amazing that a machine made of such common components, first designed and built back in the 1930s, can put on such a dramatic display of power.

ABOVE RIGHT: A Van De Graaff machine, a larger 3-foot tall tabletop model. By popular demand, I now have VDG models available for purchase: Visit the VDG store!

Sparks from Van De Graaff generator
ABOVE: Close-up view of lightning-like 6-inch long sparks from a tabletop Van De Graaff machine striking the hand of the operator. More VDG Photos

Safe and powerful, the Van De Graaff machine is quite possibly the ideal electrostatic generator. Even small tabletop models are capable of reaching hundreds of thousands of volts of potential. That's enough energy to make anyone's hair stand on end and create big, bright and loud sparks longer than any other type of electrostatic machine. Unlike Tesla coils and Marx impulse generators, small Van De Graaff machines and their sparks are safe to touch and handle. The buildup and sudden release of charge in a Van De Graaff's spark resembles a lightning strike more than the continuous arc of a Tesla coil, making it a good simulator of natural lightning.

VDG Home | VDG Safety | How VDGs Work | VDG Sales & Consulting | VDG Photo Gallery

20 Years on the Web
Important Message
Dan's RSS/XML feed
Dan's Twitter feed
Dan's Facebook page
Dan's Google Plus page
Dan's YouTube Video Channel

GO: Home | Storm Chasing | Photography | Extreme Weather Library | Stock Footage | Blog

Featured Weather Library Article:

Lightning types
Anvil crawlers, bolts from the blue, sheet, ribbon and bead lightning. Learn how to identify each!
More Library Articles

All content © Dan Robinson. All usage requires a paid license - please contact Dan for inquiries.

Web Site Design and Internet Marketing by CIS Internet