5M20.20 - Geissler Tubes and Special Discharge Tubes

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Geissler Tubes and Special Discharge Tubes
Electron Beams and Fluorescence
Area of Study:
Electricity & Magnetism
Large Geissler Tube (Four different Liquids in separate chambers), Small Geissler Tube (Mixture of Uranine and Aniline Red), Induction Coil, Aurora Tube (1 ft. Crookes Tube), Geissler Tube Set (6 Tubes), Tesla Coil - Hand held or Table top Model, Induction Coil, Electron Beam Tube (Green Beam, with Screen), Small Tube with Fluorescent Rocks, Canal Ray Tube (Tube with Sieve), Electron Beam Tube (Purple Beam, no Screen).

These tubes are the only functional Geissler tubes.  The other Geissler tubes have lost their vacuum and were filled with colored water for show purposes.

Hook an induction coil to the two tubes at the electrodes.  Turn on the coil and adjust the power.  The liquids in the tubes are fluorescent and will give some interesting colors.

The new set of small Geissler tubes will work with either the induction coil or one of the Tesla coils. These are designed to show different patterns of electrical discharge.

NOTE: Be careful when using the tubes with the table top Tesla coil as it is powerful enough to burn them out if it is turned too high.

All of these tube work in the same general fashion, ie: Hook the induction coil to the electrodes of the tube, turn on and adjust the power and the direction of the current of the coil.

  • Nicholas R. Guilbert, "Shedding Some Light on Fluorescent Bulbs", TPT, Vol. 34, # 1, p. 20- 22,  Jan. 1996.
  • Carl Fields,  "Radiation From Video Display Terminals?",  TPT, Vol. 25, # 4, p.  213, April 1987.
  • Thomas B. Greenslade, Jr., "Geissler Tube with Fluorescent Flowers", AJP, Vol. 90, #6, June 2022, p. 415.
  • Thomas B. Greenslade, Jr., "Geissler Tube Mounted on a Rotator", AJP, Vol. 89, #3, March 2021, p. 299.
  • S-150:  "Gas Discharge & Evacuated Tube",  DICK and RAE Demo Notebook.
  • A-12, 13:  Richard Manliffe Sutton, Demonstration Experiments in Physics.
  • George M. Hopkins, "Frictional Electricity", Experimental Science, p. 380.
  • George M. Hopkins', "Geissler's Tubes", Experimental Science, Volume Two, p. 43.
  • R. W. Pohl, "Some Applications of Independent Conduction in Gases at Low Pressure", Physical Principles of Electricity and Magnetism, p 218.
  • Gary Kessler, "Recycle Outmoded Air-Track Components", Apparatus for Teaching Physics, p. 236, Edited by Karl Mamola.
  • Julien Clinton Sprott, "4.8, Gas Discharge Tube", Physics Demonstrations, p. 200, ISBN 0-299-21580-6.
  • Gerard L'E Turner, "Electric Discharges in Gases", Nineteenth-Century Scientific Instruments.
  • Ron Hipschman, "Glow Discharge", Exploratorium Cookbook III, p. 145.1 - 145.4.

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