How to safely create static electricity from AC current

  1. Is there a simple way to "make" static electricity from an AC outlet? Looking for a way to make my hair stand (what is left of it) on its end for an experiment. Thanks for your comments in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. I guess I need a portable Van de Graaff generator - is that the only way?
  4. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF.

    Rub your hair with a balloon?
  5. besides that
  6. Bobbywhy

    Bobbywhy 1,864
    Gold Member

    Electrostatic generators can be divided into two categories depending on how the charge is generated:

    1. Friction machines use the triboelectric effect (electricity generated by contact or friction)

    2. Influence machines use electrostatic induction

    The favorite electrostatic generator at our Museum of Arts and Sciences is the “Kelvin Water Dropper”. All of our visitors love it. It does not need AC power; only falling water powers it!
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  7. BobbyWhy - thanks I have never heard of the KWD! -- Seems like it would be cool to build on a down spout where it rains a lot.....
  8. Bobbywhy

    Bobbywhy 1,864
    Gold Member

    Windadct, If you intend to build a Kelvin Water Drop Electrostatic Generator, I highly recommend using Bill Beaty's website for you guide. See:
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