SparKIT High Voltage Electrostatic Generator
Compact high voltage electrostatic generator kits and parts for fun and education
SparKIT is an electrostatic company based in Christchurch, New Zealand. The main purpose of the electrostatic kits and parts is to teach and instruct people about electrostatics.
The Idea of SparKIT came together from a science fair project in 2016, The idea was to build a fully functional Wimshurst machine from mostly printed circuit board.
Unlike other kits, that have so many different parts, this kit is very simple but fun to make. Whether you are learning alone or in a group, the kits and parts will be right for you.
What is SparKIT ?SparKIT is a miniature Wimshurst electrostatic generator kit that generates high voltage static electricity by inducing and separating electric charge on two disks rotating in opposite directions.
The difference with the SparKIT machine to more traditional Wimshurst machines is it is almost entirely manufactured from four quality printed circuit boards, greatly simplifying construction and reducing mechanical complexity. There are no pulleys, belts or crank handles.
The Wimshurst machine was developed by James Wimshurst between 1880 and 1883. It was developed for electrostatic demonstrations. There were many other electrostatic machines that had been previously made such as:
The Holtz Electrostatic Influence Machine (1865~1867)
The Toepler Electrostatic Generator (1865)
The Voss Electrostatic Generator (1880)
The problem with these machines is that the polarities can suddenly change and are therefore not as reliable, But the Wimshurst machine's polarity does not change, making it a more reliable machine.
This machine is smaller than a regular Wimshurst machine and therefore will also output a smaller, and safer voltage which will mean that more people can explore this machine.
How does it work ?The Wimshurst machine (invented approx 1880 - 1883 by James Wimshurst) is one of several types of machines generally called ‘Induction’ or ‘Influence’ machines. They use the principle of electrostatic induction to repeatedly induce and separate electric charge. This principle is seen in a device called an electrophorus:
● An uncharged conductor on an insulated handle is brought close to a charged object
● Like charge is repelled to the far side of the conductor, and unlike charge is attracted to
the close side
● The unwanted charge is removed by briefly grounding the conductor
● The charged conductor can now be removed and it’s charge used. Note that no charge
has been removed from the first object
The Wimshurst machine carries out a similar operation automatically when the disks rotate and contact the brushes.
● The sectors on the disk carry charge, and induce charge on the sectors on the other disk
● Unwanted charge is neutralised by the brushes
● Most charge on the sectors is collected by the sharp points on the charge collectors, but
some is left to continue the induction process
● The collected charge is stored in capacitors
Traditionally Leyden jars are used for capacitors, but the SparKIT machine has four capacitors built into the circuit board frame. If the rotation is reversed - in this case the charge accumulates at the top and bottom of the disks, instead of the sides.The SparKIT machine has been successfully brought to the market in both easy to assemble kitset and pre-assembled versions.
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