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About: Wires and Lifters

  1. Aug 14, 2012 #1
    Hi, I am currently working on a personal project, I am trying to build a lifter (ionocraft)
    According to the book my HV PSU. will give around 25 - 30 kV.
    I already got all the parts for the circuit, I just have a couple of questions about wires:

    how do I choose a wire?

    should I use regular lamp wire for the first part of the circuit? (the part that goes to the wall)

    whats the difference between stranded and solid wires? (in regards to my project, which is more convenient)

    also on another note, what happens if I connect magnetic wire to this HV PSU?

    just the regular magnetic wire that they sell at Radio shack, will the wire melt? or how do I know what wires can tolerate this voltage?

    Also, Im experimenting with lifter designs, not a regular "equilateral triangle" one, I am thinking something a little more complicated, a question:

    - Will more "sharp corners" (acute angles) create more lift?
    - is there a downside to lots of corners (say a star?) other than the building process?

    Thank you for your help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 14, 2012 #2


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    Bd, You've asked many questions. Yes, different wires are used in different parts of the system. Stranded wire is normally used in places where we need flexiblilty, like appliance power cords. HV of 25KV to 30KV will only be passing microamperes, so very thin solid wires are fine here. But care is needed to avoid them arcing over to anything nearby! In a TV set with a CRT, the HV wire from the HVPS to the Anode of the CRT is a fine, solid wire with big fat rubber-like insulation, for example.

    In order to give you really meaningful answers it would be useful to see your project's schematic diagram and parts list. Is there a website with this project you can post? Or can you post photos of your lifters?
  4. Aug 14, 2012 #3


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    Corona wire
    The corona wire is usually, but not necessarily, connected to the positive terminal of the high voltage power supply. In general, it is made from a small gauge bare conductive wire. While copper wire can be used, it does not work quite as well as stainless steel. Similarly, thinner wire such as 50 gauge tends to work well compared to more common, larger sizes such as 30 gauge, as the stronger electric field around the smaller diameter wire results in better ionisation and a larger corona current.
    The corona wire is so called because of its tendency to emit a purple corona-like glow while in use. This is simply a side effect of ionization. Excessive corona is to be avoided, as too much means the electrodes are dangerously close and may arc at any moment, not to mention the associated health hazards due to excess inhalation of ozone and NOx produced by the corona.
  5. Aug 14, 2012 #4
    My HV Circuit is a Relaxation Circuit with SCR. I am including a picture from the book on how its supposed to look, the lifter I still havent built it, I am designing it in SolidWorks and will have it printed at my workplace since its not a regular "equilateral triangle"

    with regards to the cables:

    - I believe I have found one that will work, although it doesnt have as thick insulator as the one in the Fly Back transformer (its a little thinner, but I went to 3 electronic stores and none of them had that type of cable)

    I am hoping that wont cause any issues.

    I wasnt able to find anything smaller than 30 gauge, Im hoping this will do enough ionization, although I have some magnetic wire (which again raises my question, will this wire melt if I pass 25-30 kV trough it?)


    with regards to what you are saying, that the cable will have some microamps, how does this work?
    I mean I was taught that V=iR, in this case V = 25kV and R should be the resistance of the wire (since there is no resistor there)
    so how do you get microamps, if solving for i is V/R and I assume R is very small (for such a thin wire) so wouldnt you get some crazy current?

    I am soldering the pieces right now, I will keep you informed and thank you for your quick reply Bobbywhy

    http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/8854/photo1dt.jpg [Broken]

    as to my question about the "corners" let me try to explain a little better:

    So from what I understand, the ionic wind that "lifts" the equilateral Ionocraft comes from the 3 corners, which are "sharp" (right?)

    so If I understand correctly, it is those "acute" angles that create the ionic winds, so having more sharp corners would increase the ionic wind concentrations, giving more lift? or am I just tripping something completely wrong?


    that last wire that says "to ground" how do I do that? do I just plug it into some screw on a wooden box?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Aug 14, 2012 #5


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    Bd, Sorry, but in accordance with the Rules here on Physics Forums I cannot participate in any project that is so dangerous. I advise you to seek out expert help and guidance BEFORE you energise your circuit. Are you ready to risk the following:

    “Ionocraft require many safety precautions due to the high voltage required for their operation, and also the risk of premature death from heart or lung disease due to the inhalation of their ionised air product, ozone. A large subculture has grown up around this simple EHD thrusting device and its physics are now known to a much better extent.”?
  7. Aug 15, 2012 #6
    I doubt its that dangerous given the fact that its part of a book called "Mechatronics for the Evil Genius" and its intended for children mostly (or at least the pictures are from middle schools)

    the project is called "Ionic motor" and thats the circuit
  8. Aug 15, 2012 #7


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    Bd, it may be that the authors of that book indicate the project "Ionic motor" is intended for "children mostly". Does that assumption support your conclusion that it's not dangerous? Did you read the quotation from Wiki above? Do you give any credence to those words?

    May I suggest you seek the advice of a different qualified engineer or scientist about the possible dangers involved with this project since you seem ready to disregard this one? Be sure to address necessary safety precautions regarding both the High Voltage shock possible results as well as the effects of noxious gas emissions.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
  9. Aug 15, 2012 #8


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    Staff: Mentor

    Sorry Bd. Given your level of expertise in electronics and the dangers involved in this project, we cannot support your efforts here on the PF. This thread is closed.
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