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Could Wimshurst electrostatic generator work in vacuum?


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I wonder if experiments have been conducted to test whether an electrophor machine (the Wimshurst electrostatic generator) will work in a vacuum. In theory, such experiments should have been carried out, because this question interests not only me, but I did not manage to Google or Youtube anything on this issue.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, SergUpstart said:

I wonder if experiments have been conducted to test whether an electrophor machine (the Wimshurst electrostatic generator) will work in a vacuum. In theory, such experiments should have been carried out, because this question interests not only me, but I did not manage to Google or Youtube anything on this issue.

Why do you think they should have been carried out in theory? In theory, surely, a Wimshurst machine will work perfectly well in a vacuum, won't it? I can't see that it relies on the atmosphere in order to function.

Or do you see it differently? 

Edited by exchemist
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19 minutes ago, exchemist said:

Why do you think they should have been carried out in theory? In theory, surely, a Wimshurst machine will work perfectly well in a vacuum, won't it? I can't see that it relies on the atmosphere in order to function.

Or do you see it differently? 

That's exactly what is theoretical, but have these theoretical assumptions been tested by experiment? In addition, many believe that the disks of this generator are electrified by friction with the air.

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4 minutes ago, SergUpstart said:

That's exactly what is theoretical, but have these theoretical assumptions been tested by experiment? In addition, many believe that the disks of this generator are electrified by friction with the air.

Can you provide a reference to somebody authoritative who says this? It is not my understanding of how this machine works.

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Posted (edited)

Firstly, yes the machine would operate satisfactorily in a vacuum.

However a source of drive for the contra rotating disks is required.

Sealing the drive might be possible with today's technology, but Wimhurst certainly did not have access to such means.

Would anyoneone like me to post a description of the operation of the machine ?

 

Edit.

The actual operation of machine is not simple and does require a 'seed' charge to get the whole process going, but this could come from anywhere and may well come from the atmosphere if there is one.
But the machine is still physically mounted and charge may arrive via its mountings.
There must be a limit to how fast this process can occur, but the basic 'charge multiplication process' does not depend upon the presence or absence of air.

Edited by studiot
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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, studiot said:

Would anyoneone like me to post a description of the operation of the machine ?

Yes, I would appreciate it

 

20 minutes ago, studiot said:

Sealing the drive might be possible with today's technology, but Wimhurst certainly did not have access to such means.

It is enough to put the whole device in a vacuum together with the electric motor and battery and in the days of Wimhurst, it was possible to use a spring motor, as in wind-up children's toys

Edited by SergUpstart
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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, SergUpstart said:

It is enough to put the whole device in a vacuum together with the electric motor and battery and in the days of Wimhurst, it was possible to use a spring motor, as in children's toys

The purpose of the WM is to convert mechanical energy to electrical energy to charge a battery.

A bit ironic to need a battery and motor to provide the mechanical drive ?

Obviously you would get back less than you put in.

 

9 minutes ago, SergUpstart said:

Yes, I would appreciate it

wimshurst1.thumb.jpg.e65d1a25b0b72e627af775b2bab2e6d6.jpg

wimshurst2.jpg.2a70df1a863c5b2b43e5ff61bb2e8863.jpg

 

Sorry, missed the reference again.

 

Electricity and Magnetism for Degree Students by Starling and Woodall.

First published 1912. eight edition 1953

Edited by studiot
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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, studiot said:

Sealing the drive might be possible with today's technology, but Wimhurst certainly did not have access to such means.

James Wimshurst would have laughed at you and installed a clockwork motor or a magnetic drive.
I don't know about Wimshurst generators, but it is common for Van de Graaff generators to be run in pressure chambers. High pressure sulphur hexafluoride is used as an insulator.
 

22 hours ago, studiot said:

The purpose of the WM is to convert mechanical energy to electrical energy to charge a battery.

Unless your battery has something like ten thousand cells in series, that's a horribly inefficient set-up.

Edited by John Cuthber
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3 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

James Wimshurst would have laughed at you and installed a clockwork motor or a magnetic drive.
I don't know about Wimshurst generators, but it is common for Van de Graaff generators to be run in pressure chambers. High pressure sulphur hexafluoride is used as an insulator.

I'm glad someone loves me.

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