# Exploring the Possibilities of Spark Generation with a Van De Graaff Generator

• Samson4
In summary, the conversation discusses the possibility of creating a spark on the inside surface of a dome using a conducting connection from the outside surface. It is determined that this is not possible as both surfaces will be at the same potential. The concept of potential and grounding is also mentioned.
Samson4
If you run a wire from the outside surface of the dome to the inside of the same dome, would it be possible to make a spark to the inside surface of the same dome?

With a conducting connection between the two parts? No. They will be at the same potential.

How come? The dome is at a higher potential than the belt that's charging it.

Not at the point where the charges are extracted (neglecting the tiny resistances and current flow in the material).

Okay, will this capacitor charge? The cap and ground are shielded from the belt and rotor.

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How do you get a ground connection in the middle? If you take a cable out, it will charge.

I just didn't want to clutter the diagram; but yes, a cable is going outside the dome to ground.

I was always told that the inside of the dome is neutral or had no potential.

It has no electric field - unless you add a connection to ground. That's not the same as no potential (which does not exist anyway - a potential can be zero but it cannot be nonexistent).

Samson4

## 1. What is a Van De Graaff generator?

A Van De Graaff generator is a scientific instrument that uses static electricity to generate high voltages. It consists of a large metal sphere mounted on top of a column and a rubber belt that moves continuously between two rollers. The friction between the belt and rollers creates static electricity, which is then transferred to the metal sphere, resulting in a high voltage charge.

## 2. How does a Van De Graaff generator work?

A Van De Graaff generator works by using two important principles of physics: electrostatics and induction. The friction between the belt and rollers creates a separation of charges, with positive charges accumulating on the metal sphere and negative charges on the belt. This creates a strong electric field between the sphere and the ground, allowing the generator to produce high voltage sparks.

## 3. What are the potential dangers of using a Van De Graaff generator?

While Van De Graaff generators are generally safe to use, there are a few potential dangers to be aware of. The high voltage produced by the generator can cause electric shocks, which can be dangerous for individuals with pacemakers or other medical devices. Additionally, the sparks produced by the generator can ignite flammable materials, so it is important to use caution when conducting experiments.

## 4. What are some practical applications of Van De Graaff generators?

Van De Graaff generators have a variety of practical applications in both scientific research and everyday life. They are commonly used in particle accelerators to create high energy particles for experiments. They are also used in electrostatic demonstrations, such as lightning shows at science museums, and in industrial processes such as powder coating and electrostatic painting.

## 5. Can Van De Graaff generators be used to generate sustainable energy?

No, Van De Graaff generators are not a source of sustainable energy. While they can produce high voltages, they do not generate a continuous flow of electricity. The generator relies on an external power source to continuously move the belt and create sparks, so it cannot be used as a source of renewable energy.

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