Wimshurst Machine - Improved
Manufacturer ID - PH0848D
This machine has two counter-rotating plastic discs (notice that the drive belt on the rear disc is crossed), each of which has a series of metal sectors, which are mounted radially near the edge, equally spaced from each other. Mounted in front of each disc is a “neutralizer” bar (sometimes called an “equalizer” bar), each end of which makes electrical contact with the disc via a brush. The two neutralizer bars are mounted perpendicular to each other, each along a NW-SE line as you face its respective disc. At either end of a horizontal line through the center of the discs is a pickup, each of which is connected to a ball electrode.
What enables this machine to start is that although objects are electrically neutral, their charge distributions can fluctuate, so that while there is no net charge on an object, at any given time, in a particular spot, it may have a slight excess of charge of one sign or the other (which is compensated by a similar excess of charge of the opposite sign elsewhere). Thus, when we start the plates of the Wimshurst machine rotating, a particular sector may have a slight positive or negative charge on it. For example, let us say that it is a positive charge, and it is the sector on the front plate at the top right. Let’s call it sector A, and say that it is just opposite the sector on the rear plate that touches the neutralizer bar on the back of the machine, which we’ll call sector B. This positive charge on sector A induces a negative charge on the back surface of sector B, by repelling the positive charges to the front surface, where they are carried away by the neutralizer bar. (Electrons flow from the opposite end of the neutralizer bar.) This leaves sector B with a net negative charge, and the sector on the rear plate 180 degrees from it with a net positive charge. The resulting polarization of the neutralizer bar charges the sectors immediately following B negative, and those immediately following the one 180 degrees from it, positive. 45 degrees later in the rotation, sector A passes the pickup at right, and transfers its charge to the Leyden jar.
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