# Confused about electrostatic voltage and DC voltage

• electricnoob
In summary, the person is confused about electrostatic and DC voltage and how they work. They understand how a van de Graaff generator creates voltage, but they are unsure about the concept of two metal domes accumulating charge when connected to a DC power supply. They also question the possibility of a 100 kV potential building up between the domes using a voltage multiplier. The response explains that any metal connected to the terminals of a power supply will come up to the voltage of the supply, and a voltage multiplier can indeed create a high voltage difference between the domes.
electricnoob
Hi everyone,

I am a little confused conceptually about electrostatic voltage and DC voltage. I did my bachelors in biochemistry (where I’m working today), I’m learning/relearning physics as a hobby. I did well in high school physics and first year physics but I’m afraid I’ve forgotten most of it. Just want to say sorry about the length of this post, I’m trying to get this all straight in my head.

So I’m pretty sure I understand how a van de Graaff generator makes a voltage, it accumulates electrons on a metal dome and that concentration of charge makes an electric field. A charged body within that electric field at a given position will experience a force (either attractive or repulsive, depending) and the charged body is moved by that force until it can’t move any more. The distance moved multiplied by the force is the energy required (aka. work done). So a stationary charged body at a given position (e.g. it’s held in place with glue) will have a potential energy, which is the voltage. Please correct me if anything I wrote above is wrong.

I am confused conceptually about the following. If I have a DC power supply, and I connect the positive terminal to one metal dome and the negative terminal to another metal dome (and it’s all isolated from ground), then I turn on the power supply, will the metal domes accumulate positive/negative charge much like a van de Graaff generator? I assume it will, but I find it hard to conceptualize.

For example, I saw these boost converters that claim to turn a 5V input to a 100 kV output. I find it hard to believe that if I connect a metal dome to the positive terminal and another metal dome to the negative terminal that a 100 kV potential will build up between the domes. But then again I’m not sure what would happen….

hi there
welcome to PF

electricnoob said:
I am confused conceptually about the following. If I have a DC power supply, and I connect the positive terminal to one metal dome and the negative terminal to another metal dome (and it’s all isolated from ground), then I turn on the power supply, will the metal domes accumulate positive/negative charge much like a van de Graaff generator? I assume it will, but I find it hard to conceptualize.

any metal plates domes, bits of wire connected to the terminals of a battery or other PSU will come up to the voltage of that PSU 12V 50V whatever the supply is

electricnoob said:
I find it hard to believe that if I connect a metal dome to the positive terminal and another metal dome to the negative terminal that a 100 kV potential will build up between the domes.

why hard to believe ? if using one of those voltage multipliers then yes that will be that 100kV voltage difference between the 2 domes
what would you otherwise expect to happen ?

Dave

## 1. What is the difference between electrostatic voltage and DC voltage?

Electrostatic voltage refers to the voltage created by stationary electric charges, while DC voltage is the steady flow of electric charge in one direction. Electrostatic voltage is typically much higher in magnitude than DC voltage.

## 2. How is electrostatic voltage measured?

Electrostatic voltage is measured using a device called an electrostatic voltmeter. This device uses the repulsion between two electrically charged plates to measure the electrostatic voltage.

## 3. Can electrostatic voltage be converted into DC voltage?

Yes, electrostatic voltage can be converted into DC voltage using a device called an electrostatic generator. This device uses mechanical energy to generate a steady flow of electric charge in one direction.

## 4. What are some practical applications of electrostatic voltage?

Electrostatic voltage has many practical applications, such as in electrostatic precipitators, which are used to remove pollutants from industrial exhaust gases. It is also used in photocopiers and laser printers to attract toner particles onto paper.

## 5. Is electrostatic voltage dangerous?

In general, electrostatic voltage is not dangerous to humans. However, high levels of electrostatic voltage can cause static shocks, which can be uncomfortable or even painful. In industrial settings, electrostatic voltage can also pose a fire hazard if not properly managed.

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