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How to create a 600VAC/cm electic field at home?

  1. Nov 29, 2009 #1
    hi all, i'm reasonably competent at physics and electronics but by no means an expert so i hope someone can help me.

    i'm into wine making and found this very interesting article about how to artificially age wine by passing it through an AC electric field.
    http://www.math.aau.dk/~cornean/index.html/ACwine.pdf [Broken]

    it describes placing wine in a 600V/cm, 3kHz AC electric field for 3 minutes which supposedly simulates the effect of about one year of ageing! i'd like to cook up a system to test if this really works.

    in this article they describe a system where the electrodes are 20cm apart, requiring a 12kv potential between the electrodes. is there a reason for that? it seems far more practical to make a system that's only 1cm wide and 600V potential, or am i missing something? are electric fields linearly scalable?

    what would be the quickest, easiest, cheapest way for someone to create a 600V/cm AC field setup like this? i don't have easy access to lab equipment; if i could somehow cannibalise a TV or old laptop or something, that would be great.

    thanks in advance for any ideas out there. steve

    P.S. please note that the current is not in direct contact with the wine; this isn't electrolysis. the wine will be in a glass or plastic tube surrounded by the electric field. thx again, steve
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 29, 2009 #2
    Nice question. And thanks for sharing that pdf.
    Well you are talking about volts about 600 AV volts, bro is very easy just use and small step up transformer or stabilizer which will step up 110v or 220v to 600v.
    but i dont know how to change the frequency to 3hz. some one else might help you in this matter.
    Hope this will work!
  4. Nov 29, 2009 #3
    Yes, an isolated step-up transformer will work well. Get an old plate transformer from a vacuum tube power supply at a junk store. Be sure to fuse the hot side of the primary.
    Safety comes first.

    There is a 740 volt xformer for $25 here:
    Bob S
  5. Nov 29, 2009 #4


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    It sounds like hocus pocus.

    A 12000 volt 3000 Hz power supply would be possible (I suppose) but it would be a serious project to develop. I can't think of any cheap way to do it. It would need a pretty amazing transformer.

    I guess they want to pass an unopened wine bottle between the electrodes so that is why the electrodes are so far apart. Most wine bottles are 8 to 10 cm in diameter, though, so 20 cm seems a bit excessive. Maybe they want to do flagons as well.

    But the wine is mostly water and this would mean most of the electric potential was outside the bottle with the wine itself being basically a short circuit.

    This is just nonsense. It couldn't possibly do anything to the wine.
  6. Nov 29, 2009 #5
    actually, i'm not passing a wine bottle between the electrodes. the wine will be in a glass tube about 1cm dia or less so 600V should be fine.

    as far as having no effect, that's why i want to do the experiment, find out.

    i do have a question however, to create an electric field, does the space between the electrodes need to be in a vacuum? i ask because the inside of a CRT is a vacuum right? will the field still be generated if there is air, or in my case air, glass and wine between the electrodes?

    thx steve
  7. Nov 29, 2009 #6


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    i do have a question however, to create an electric field, does the space between the electrodes need to be in a vacuum? i ask because the inside of a CRT is a vacuum right? will the field still be generated if there is air, or in my case air, glass and wine between the electrodes?

    Yes, the field still exists in air.
    In a vacuum, a current can be made to flow easily as in a vacuum tube, but in air, no current flows until the voltage reaches 30000 volts per centimeter.

    If you put a piece of brass in the middle of the field, there can't be any voltage across the brass so the electric field distributes itself in the remaining air gaps.
    This is what happens if you put wine in an electric field. There is no voltage across the wine, so it makes no difference to the wine if it is there or not.

    I can understand that you would be curious about this, but wouldn't you need some evidence that it works before you start spending a lot of money on it?

    If they had said to use powerful magnets because red wine had iron in it, it might be remotely believable. This is not believable at all.
  8. Nov 29, 2009 #7
    oh, thanks for that answer. that's what i was trying to find out, i didn't know about the minimum of 30,000V/cm in air. that sounds like it could arc over and be quite dangerous.

    so just to be clear, if i get a 10mm diameter glass tube full of wine (say a test tube). i put some kind of electrodes (steel plate or whatever) on opposite sides and connect the electrodes to a 600V, 3kHz AC power supply, you are saying no field will be created at all right?

    that was my quick and easy plan to see if anything would happen to the wine but if you are saying no field is generated then clearly that's a total waste of time.

    thanks, steve
  9. Nov 29, 2009 #8


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    Yes, that is right. It is a waste of time.

    30000 volts per cm is the arc-over voltage for air so you need at least this to get a spark in air.
  10. Dec 2, 2009 #9
    This is interesting, I am wondering about the frequency, at the voltages and frequency used (3Khz) there must be some current passed through the wine, via capacitive coupling, so maybe it does do something
  11. Dec 2, 2009 #10
    it seems to me that if the goal of the 600V/cm electric field is to introduce a small current into the wine, then a far simpler method would be to put a couple of electrodes in the wine and pass a small current through it, maybe a couple of mA, who knows! anyhow, that's the easiest thing in the world to try so i think i'll give that a go.
  12. Dec 2, 2009 #11
    Just a quick note; the breakdown voltage of any medium is highly dependent on the frequency of the field (also the ambient pressure and humidity).
    It follows the so called "Paschens law", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paschen's_law

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