The spark of accelerators

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See the sparks! Home made Van de Graaff generator

Van de Graaff generators produce high voltages by accumulating electric charge in a metallic sphere. Large Van de Graaff generators were used in the old days of particle accelerators to create the enormous potentials needed to accelerate the particles to high energies. Nowadays they are mostly used in science museums to demonstrate the phenomenon of static electricity. You can build your own Van de Graaff generator with household materials as shown in the latest Quasar video.

The video has been produced by the University of Liverpool’s Quasar group as part of a project funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council to promote accelerator science among schoolchildren.