Posted on

Van de Graaff lite – Instructions

Your Van de Graaff lite is a working, tiny static electricity generator.

First remove the white plastic backing (if there is any) and make sure your Van de Graaff lite is clean and dry.

Holding the ExtremeKits end rub the VDG lite a few times with a clean jumper, tea shirt or cloth.

If you have a few small pieces of paper you will now find the the circular end will pick them up, like a magnet.

You can try this with any small light item, hair, rice crispies etc. Some items it will work with, some it won’t. See if you can predict which will work before trying it.


With a bath or kitchen tap run water very slowly so it creates a smooth (no droplets) flow of water. Rub your VDG lite to recharge it, and carefully bring it to the flow of water, without touching the water

you will find that the water is attracted to the VDG lite. Be careful not to get your VDG lite wet as this will stop the effect. Don’t worry if you do, just dry it thoroughly with kitchen towel and try again when it is absolutely dry.


Tips & Warnings

Do not try to dry your VDG lite with anything hot, or you will damage it, or it may burn. Your VDG lite will continue to function as long as it is kept clean and dry. To clean, wash in slightly soapy water, Rince thoroughly in clean water and towel dry.


How it works…

Its not the rubbing….

When two items are brought together, they pick-up some electricity from whatever they touch, some items naturally attract positive electricity, some negative. When the items are pulled apart they keep some of this electricity. Rubbing brings the items together and pulls them apart many many times so the effect is that the plastic picks up positive electricity and the cloth negative electricity.

As the plastic is a really good insulator (It does not allow electricity to flow) it will keep this positive charge.

If you have two items that have different charges they will attract each other (like the north and south poles of a pair of magnets). Most small insulators (pieces of paper,hair, rice crispies  etc)  are negative or neutral in change and are therefore attracted to the positive plastic.

If the plastic gets dirty or damp, then the plastic will become slightly conductive and the electrical charge will leak away.