5A50.52 - Electrostatic Motor

Connect one pole of the motor to the base of the Van de Graff and the other pole to the dome.  Turn on the Van de Graff and the motor should start to spin.  If the field grows to large and the Van de Graff sparks the motor will start to slow down.  To get around this use the grounding rod to limit the size of the Van de Graff field.
Instead of the Van de Graff the Whimshurst may be used for better control of the electric potential, thus giving less arcing
Code Number:
5A50.52
Demo Title:
Electrostatic Motor
Condition:
Good
Principle:
Electrostatics
Area of Study:
Electricity & Magnetism
Equipment:
Electrostatic motor, Van de Graff generator, Whimshurst generator
Procedure:

Connect one pole of the motor to the base of the Van de Graff and the other pole to the dome.  Turn on the Van de Graff and the motor should start to spin.  If the field grows to large and the Van de Graff sparks the motor will start to slow down.  To get around this use the grounding rod to limit the size of the Van de Graff field.

Instead of the Van de Graff the Whimshurst may be used for better control of the electric potential, thus giving less arcing.

References:
  • Paul Chagnon, "Animated Displays VI: Electrostatic Motors and Water Dropper", TPT, Vol. 34, # 8, Nov. 1996, p. 491. 
  • Oleg Jefimenko and David K. Walker, "Electrostatic Motors", TPT, Vol. 9, # 3, March 1971, p. 121.
  • Guido G. Pegna, "A Simple "Electrostatic" Motor", AJP, Vol. 45, # 2, Feb. 1977, p. 218.
  • Robert A. Morse, "Laboratory Activity 11, Building an Electrostatic Corona Discharge Motor", Teaching about Electrostatics, p. 3 - 37.
  • C. L. Stong,  "Electrostatic Motors Are Powered By Electric Field of the Earth",  The Amateur Scientist, October, 1974.
  • Rudolf F. Graf, "An Electrostatic Merry-Go-Round", Safe and Simple Electrical Experiments, p. 27.
  • "Electrical Wheel", Pike's Illustrated Catalogue of Scientific & Medical Instruments, 1984, p. 287.

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