5B30.26 - Van de Graaff - Lightening Plate

Code Number:
5B30.26
Demo Title:
Van de Graaff - Lightening Plate
Condition:
Excellent
Principle:
Electrostatic Arcing Across a Gap
Area of Study:
Electricity & Magnetis
Equipment:
Lightening Plate, Van de Graaff Generator.
Procedure:

Stand the plate up against a box or hang the plate from a rod.  Connect one terminal of the lightening plate to the dome of the Van de Graaff, connect the other terminal to the base of the Van de Graaff.  When you turn on the Van de Graaff the electricity will flow along the path of least resistance and thus the gaps in the lightening plate are where the arcing takes place.

References:
  • Matthew Stephen Neel, "Modeling the Electric Potential and Surface Charge Density Near Charged Thunderclouds", TPT, Vol. 56, #3, Mar. 2018, p. 164.
  • Dennis C. Henry, "Will Lightning Erase Magnetic Tapes?", TPT, Vol. 23, #4, Apr. 1985, p. 233.
  • Lester Dwyer, Lee Ihlenfeldt, and Captain Bobby N. Turman, "Is a Swimmer Safe in a Lightning Storm?", TPT, Vol. 18, #5, May 1980, p. 388.
  • Martin Murphy, "Locating Lighting", Physics Today, Vol. 71, #3, Mar. 2018, p. 32.
  • Gary Meek - Georgia Tech, "Artificial Lighting", Physics Today, Vol. 62, #3, Mar. 2009, p. 76.
  • Alexander V. Gurevich and Kirill P. Zybin, "Runaway Breakdown and the Mysteries of Lightning", Physics Today, Vol. 58, #5, May 2005, p. 37.
  • Breanna Draxler and Jen Schwartz, Popular Science, Next, Aug. 2015, p. 25.
  • Flora Lichtman, "The Science of Lightning", Popular Science, August 2014, p. 38.
  • Bathroom Readers' Institute, "Lightning", Uncle John's Bathroom Reader for Kids - Did You Know?, p. 208.
  • George M. Hopkins, "Frictional Electricity", Experimental Science, p. 390.
  • George M. Hopkins, "Frictional Electricity", Experimental Science, p. 380.
  • Carson I. A. Ritchie, "Lightening Board", Making Scientific Toys, p. 155.
  • Pat Murphy, Ellen Macaulay, and the staff of the Exploratorium, "Electricity & Magnetism", Exploratopia, p. 319.
  • "How En-Lightning", Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, p. 291.
  • "Electrostatic Illumination", The Boy Scientist, p. 64.
  • Jearl Walker, "5.2,  Lightning: People, Cows and Sheep", The Flying Circus of Physics Ed. 2, p. 218.
  • Jearl Walker, "5.1, Lightning", The Flying Circus of Physics Ed. 2, p. 218.
  • Guiness Book of World Records, "Most rockets launched by lightning", 2003, p. 66.
  • W. Bolton, "The Production of Electric Charges in Clouds", Book 4 - Electricity, Physics Experiments and Projects, 1968, p. 107 - 108.
  • Hui-Chun Wu, "Mysterious Ball Lighting", APS News, Vol. 28, #1, Jan. 2019, p. 7.
  • Craig Tyler, "Bigger, Badder Bolts", Los Alamos 1663, Jan. 2020, p. 3.
  • Rob Verger, "It Shot Me Down", Popular Science, Winter 2019, p. 23.
  • Julius Sumner Miller, Q212 & A212, Millergrams II – Some More Enchanting Questions for Enquiring Minds, p. 64 & 113.
  • W. H. Brune, P. J. McFarland, E. Bruning, S. Waugh, D. MacGorman, D. O. Miller, J. M. Jenkins, X. Ren, J. Mao, J. Peischl, "Extreme Oxidant Amounts Produced by Lightning in Storm Clouds", Science, Vol. 372, #6543, May 14, 2021, p. 711.
  • Forrest M. Mims III, "Lightning Sensor", Vol. III - Electronic Sensor Circuits & Projects, p. 44.

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.