10A05.20 - Bird on a Wire

Code Number:
10A05.20
Demo Title:
Bird on a Wire
Condition:
Excellent
Principle:
AC Power
Area of Study:
Electricity and Magnetism
Equipment:
Hot Dog Cooker, LED's, Plastic Tongs.
Procedure:

Video Credit: Jonathan M. Sullivan-Wood.

Insert the LED's into the hot dog before you plug in the cooker.  The LED's that are inserted with the legs parallel to the direction of the current in the hot dog will light up, but the LED's that are inserted with the legs perpendicular will not.  A simple way to show that you need a voltage difference for current to flow. 

References:
  • Harvard Instructional Physics Labs, "Electric Currents: DC Circuits", https://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~scphys/  
  • Jearl Walker, "5.22, High-Voltage Lines", The Flying Circus of Physics Ed. 2, p. 228.
  • Julius Sumner Miller, Q229 & A229, Millergrams II – Some More Enchanting Questions for Enquiring Minds, p. 71 & 118.


Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.