Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Why is my body so sensitive to a van de graaff generator

  1. Feb 25, 2012 #1
    my husband has a van de Graaff generator and one day he decided to bring it out and show me since i had never seen one. well after about 5 minutes of it running i could not even be in the same room as it while it was running because it caused me physical pain. now i want to know why did this happen. what caused my body to be so sensitive to it if someone could please help me answer that it would be great!! thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2012 #2
    You are sensitive to Ozone.
  4. Feb 27, 2012 #3
    if you could elaborate a bit that would be appreciated! thank you!
  5. Feb 27, 2012 #4
    What kind of pain?
    Were you hit by sparks?
  6. Feb 27, 2012 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think it could well be a psychological effect. This is no to dismiss it in any way. Psychological discomfort is a very valid phenomenon.
    To be sure it is nothing more than this, he would have to operate it (making the noise) behind a screen (hidden from you) and with ear defenders / loud music on earphones (so you couldn't hear anything) and in the conditions with the dome earthed (keeping his hand on top would do) and unearthed. If there is a physical effect then you should be able to tell the difference without looking or hearing.
    It would be interesting for us to know the result of this experiment. You could also do the experiment out of doors to see whether the smell is the reason.

    That'll give you a happy Saturday afternoon investigation.
  7. Feb 27, 2012 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Deamonisi, we're all speculating wildly, since we don't know exactly what pain you were experiencing.

    Describe the pain in detail. What part of your body? Ears? Nose? Skin?
    How did the pain manifest? Gradually? The moment you stepped in the room?
    Sharp? Dull?
  8. Feb 28, 2012 #7
    so the pain i was experiencing was like little electric shocks under my skin. there were no visible sparks hitting my skin i was about 5/6 feet from the generator. sorry i was not more specific before i hope this will clarify things for you if not please feel free to ask more questions!! i would love to figure out why this happened. thank you! :smile:
  9. Feb 28, 2012 #8
    oh the pain started almost immediately after i stepped in to the room.. it did not come on gradually. to sophiecentaur that would be interesting to try i will run it by the husband and we could try that experiment will let you know what the results are..
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook