# Measuring Charge on a Van De Graaff Generator: Methods and Obstacles

• Albertgauss
In summary, the conversation discusses ways to measure the actual charge of a Van De Graaff generator and whether there is a way to control the charge polarity. One suggestion is to use a capacitance meter to measure the capacitance between the upper conductor and ground when the generator is off. However, this method may take some time as it depends on finding a capacitance meter.
Albertgauss
Gold Member
Greetings,

Does anyone know of a way to measure the actual charge of a Van De Graaff generator, in Coloumbs?

One way I thought might be to measure the voltage potential around the generator, and calculate the charge from V = kQ/r, but would this work in just regular air? What obstacles would prevent me from finding V to get Q in regular air, if this method would not work?

Is there any way to control whether a Van De Graaff generator can be charged positive or negative?

Do you have a capacitance meter? If so, can you just measure the capacitance (with the generator off, of course) between the upper conductor and ground? If you know the output voltage, it seems like that should get you close on how much charge is stored when the generator is on... (but I don't know much about VDG generators...)

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I didn't know they had a capacitance meter. I suppose I should have realized that this technology is made. I can get one. Its going to be a few weeks before I can get one, so this method of determining the charge is going to take awhile, limited by the time it takes to find a capacitance meter.

## What is a Van De Graaff charge?

A Van De Graaff charge is a type of electrical charge that is created by a Van De Graaff generator. This generator uses a moving belt to collect and store static electricity on a large metal sphere, creating a high voltage charge.

## How does a Van De Graaff generator work?

A Van De Graaff generator works by using a motorized belt to collect and transfer static electricity from a lower voltage source to a large metal sphere. This creates a high voltage charge on the sphere, which can then be used for various experiments or demonstrations.

## What are the practical applications of Van De Graaff charges?

Van De Graaff charges have various practical applications in science and research. They can be used to study electrical phenomena, create high-energy particle beams, and generate X-rays for medical imaging. They are also commonly used in electrostatic demonstrations and experiments.

## How is a Van De Graaff charge measured?

A Van De Graaff charge is typically measured in volts (V) using a voltmeter. The voltage of the charge can vary depending on the size and construction of the generator, but it is typically in the range of tens of thousands to millions of volts.

## Are Van De Graaff charges dangerous?

Van De Graaff charges can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. The high voltage can cause electric shocks or sparks, which can be harmful to humans and electronic equipment. It is important to handle and use Van De Graaff generators carefully and follow safety guidelines to avoid any potential hazards.

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