• These machines belong to a class of electrostatic generators called influence machines, which separate electric charges through electrostatic induction, or influence, not depending on friction for their operation.
  • This hand powered Wimshurst machine has three major parts: rotating parallel plates, neutralizing rods, and collecting combs.
  • The two transparent plates are supported by two rigid uprights and driven by a belt via a hand crank in opposite direction. They are heavy, high resistance plastic, with sectors of aluminum sheet.
  • The size of these discs is 300mm in diameter.
  • There are two leyden jars (condensers) made from corning glass and aluminum foil.
  • Cemented onto each disc are a number of metal foil sectors, which both generate and carry small charges of electricity to be stored in the capacitor.
  • Each sector accumulates the charges derived by influence with the other sectors.
  • Diagonal neutralizing brushes on the front and back distribute the correct charges to the sectors they revolve.
  • Two additional pairs of brushes collect the accumulated charges and transmit them to the storage capacitor.
  • The brushes are also connected to spark gap electrodes. As the plastic discs revolve, a high voltage spark will jump between the electrodes as they are gradually brought together. Static electricity is stored in the Leyden jar condenser until discharged.
  • Two swinging arm dischargers with insulated handles are built-in.
  • The whole set up is mounted on a nicely polished wooden base.
  • Students will acquire a clear understanding about the working of the wimshurt machine and how it can produce such high voltages.


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