Experi merits

The following experiments are graphically shown in Figure 22-10. It is well known that high-voltage gen­erators usually consist of large, smooth-surface col­lectors where leakage is minimized, allowing these collective terminals to accumulate high voltages with less current demand. Leakage of a high voltage point is the result of the repulsion of similar charges to the extent that these charges are forced out into the air as ions. The rate of ions produced is a result of the charge density at a certain point. The magnitude of this quantity is a function of voltage and the recipro­cal of the angle of projection of the surface.

Note that Experiment A in the figure shows why lightning rods are sharply pointed. This causes the charges to leak off into the air before a voltage can be developed to create the lightning bolt.

It is now evident that to create ions it is necessary to have a high voltage applied to an object such as a needle or another sharp device used as an emitter. Once the ions leave the emitter, they possess a cer­tain mobility that allows them to travel moderate dis­tances, contacting and charging up other objects by accumulation and collision.

Experiment В shows St. Elmo’s Fire. This glow dis­charge occurs during periods of high electrical activ­ity. It is a corona discharge that is brush-like, luminous, and often may be audible when leaking from charged objects in the atmosphere. It occurs on ship masts, aircraft propellers, wings, and other pro­jecting parts, as well as on objects projecting from high terrain when the atmosphere is charged and a sufficiently strong electrical potential is created between the object and the surrounding air. Aircraft most frequently experience St. Elmo’s fire when fly­ing in or near cumulonimbus clouds, in thunder­storms, in snow showers, and in dust storms.

Experiment С shows a flashing fluorescent or neon light. This experiment demonstrates the mobil­ity of the ions and their ability to charge up the capacitance in a fluorescent light tube and discharge in the form of a flash. For this experiment, perform the following steps:

1. Have a friend carefully hold a 10- to 40-wait fluorescent light or neon-filled tube and turn off the lights. Allow your eyes to become accustomed to the total darkness.

2. Hold the end about 3 feet from the output of the ion ray gun and note the lamp flickering. Increase the distance and note the flicker rate decreasing. Under ideal conditions and total darkness, the lamp will flicker to a consider­able distance from the source. Use caution in total darkness. Hold the lamp by a glass enve­lope and touch the end pins to a water pipe, metal objects, and so on for best results and the brightest flash. The flash time is the equiv­alent of the equation T = CV/I, where T is the time between flashes and V is the flash break­down voltage characteristic of the tube. С is the inherent capacity in the tube and 1 is the equivalent of the amount of ions reaching the lamp and obviously decreases by the 5fi power of the distance.

Experiment D concerns ion charging. This demon­strates the same phenomena as in the previous exper­iment but in a different way Perform the following


1. Set up the unit as shown with a ground con­tact about! A of an inch from the charge sphere.

2. Note the spark occurring at the grounded con­tact as a result of the ion accumulation on the sphere. Increase the distance and note where the spark becomes indistinguishable.

3. Obtain a subject brave enough to stand a moderate electric shock (use caution as a per­son with a heart condition should not be near this experiment).

4. Have the subject stand on an insulating sur­face and then touch a grounded or large metal object. Shoes with rubber soles often work to an extent.

Experiment E shows an ion motor. This dramati­cally demonstrates Newton’s law of action producing a reaction. Escaping ions at a high velocity produce a reactive force. This is a viable means of propulsion for a spacecraft where hyper-velocities may approach the speed of light in this frictionless environment. Here you will work with a rotor and pin attached to a sphere via a lump of clay or something similar. A piece of folded paper will sometimes work.

Form a piece of #18 wire as shown. For maximum results, carefully balance and provide minimum fric­tion at the pivot point. There are many different methods of performing this experiment with far bel­ter •results. We leave this to the experimenter, bearing in mind that a well-made, balanced rotor can achieve amazing rpms. Note that as the rotor spins, giving off ions, one’s body hair will bristle, nearby objects will spark, and a cold feeling will persist.

Experiment F shows accumulated ions on the insulated spherical object, charging it theoretically to its open circuit potential (this in practice doesn’t occur due to leakage). The object accumulates a volt­age equal to V = it/с. Note that the unit is also directly grounded to increase this effect by producing the necessary electrical mirror image. The quantity Q (coulombs) of the charge is equal to CV where С equals the capacitance of the object and V equals the voltage charged. The energy W (joules) stored is equal to Чг capacitance X voltage squared (CVE2). The capacitance can be calculated by approximating the area of the object’s shadow projected directly beneath it and calculating the mean separation dis­tance. The capacitance is now approximately equal to.25 times the projected area in square inches, divided by the separation in inches.

Also regarding Experiment F, note that the IOD1 ion detector described in the Information Unlimited catalog is an excellent device and provides extraordi­nary sensitivity. The ESCOPE electroscope also is an excellent detector.

Experiment G demonstrates the transmission of energy via mobile ions. The objects used here are round spheres placed on glass bottles used as insula­tors. One object is grounded using thin, insulated wire. Another object discharges to the grounded object. Note that the grounding wire physically jumps at the time of discharge; these phenomena are the result of current producing a mechanical force. As the unit is brought closer, the length of the spark dis­charge and the discharge rate will increase. A dis­charge length of a half-inch may be obtainable with the unit 4 to 5 feet away. This demonstrates the potential effectiveness of the device.

Other experiments and uses would be materials and insulation dielectric breakdown testing, ozone production for odor control. X-ray power supplies, and capacitance charging using a Leyden jar. Other uses include the ignition of gas tubes and spark gaps, particle acceleration and atom smashers, Kirlian pho­tography, electrostatics, and ion generation. Other related material may easily be obtained on these sub­jects.

For example, an experiment on charge attraction demonstrates the force between unlike charges. Place an 8- X 11-inch piece of paper on a wooden desk or tabletop. Scan the paper with the unit approximately 2 to 3 inches from its surface. Note the paper pressing to the surface and becoming strongly attracted as indicated when attempting to lift it up.

An experiment on change repulsion would demonstrate the force between like chargcs. For example, place a small paper cup on top of the out­put. Obtain some small pieces of Styrofoam and place them in the cup. Note that some of the pieces fly out of the cup. Bring a grounded lead near the cup and note the reaction.

The effects on many materials can supply hours of interesting experiments, producing sometimes weird and bizarre phenomena. If you discover or happen to come up with any new experiments or data, contact us at www. amazingl. com.

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