5E60.12 - Piezoelectric Crystal Demo

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Piezoelectric Crystal Demo
Piezoelectric Crystal
Area of Study:
Electricity & Magnetism
Piezoelectric Crystal Circuit Board, Neon or Argon Bulb for Piezoelectric Circuit, Large Rochelle Salt Crystal (Sodium Potassium Tartrate), Flash Rocks, Grill Lighter, and Piezo Popper.

This demo works on the principle that the bending of the special crystal produces a voltage discharge.  The gas light bulbs act as visual indicators of this discharge.

The flash rocks have quartz crystals impregnated in them so that when you subject them to stress the quartz gives an electrical discharge.  Stress means hitting, rubbing, or squeezing the rocks together.

Add 2 drops of methanol to the film canister at the end of the Piezo popper.  Shake vigorously.  Point away from all individuals and pull the trigger.  This can be used to show how a gas engine works.

A variation of the first demo described here is to solder a small neon bulb to the contacts of a used grill lighter.  Pressing the trigger causes the bulb to flash briefly.

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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.